Hawaii is rolling out some bills to their state legislature to combat the spreading plague of loot boxes in games, but would these bills, if passed into law, do anything meaningful, or do they have some ulterior purpose?
No lol. What a joke. Did the esrb stop kids from playing mature rated games? The only thing this would accomplish is cluttering the box art with a “surgeons general warning” like cigarette packs. Congrats... It’s the most useless “movement” I have ever seen. Even more useless than gamergate. That’s all this is, gamergate for economic illiterates. Good article though. “That some gamers cheer on such potential laws is worrying when it took most of the last decade, if not more, for games to receive the same legal protections that movies and books enjoy as extensions of free speech.” Precisely.
ESRB ratings aren't law though. They're a self-regulatory measure that relies on retailer compliance. Most retailers do comply, but obviously, parents don't always care, or....well you know there are a lot of ways to get your hands on games. Anyhow, since gambling laws are taken seriously, it could actually prevent the sale of games to kids, and any parent allowing their kid to play said game could be held culpable for breaking the law. I don't think it would really ever come to that though. More likely, if such law was passed, at least among many regions, then the companies would just find a different way to include MT. Loot Boxes aren't the only kind of MT, and in this case, Loot boxes are the only thing being looked at here. Since publishers aren't likely to implement multiple MT solutions across regions, then they probably won't have loot boxes anywhere.
Any law is only as effective as its enforcers. Digital sales will be harder to monitor, once a kid has the parental password to buy games, boom - they're 21 in the eyes of the digital market. Stores that are selling games will be strict to start, much like we were when we enforced seat bet laws, but it will tapper off. I am fine with the proposed laws (though I wish government would focus on more important issues), we cannot deny that publishers went after a section of the market that is not financial literate (talk'n about children). Loot boxes for games that start out free are fine by me, what EA did with BFII was an absolute cash grab, someone had to step in and try something since the market tends to be all talk with little walk. I am interested to see what publishers will try and pull next to make an additional dollar.
National gambling laws require strict compliance to age verification. It becomes a federal crime to sell such things to children, even with parental consent, and if the parent consents, they can even be charged with a federal crime. Most likely scenario is that storefronts will avoid the trouble by not allowing such implementations. This means any game that uses them now, may have to retool it's MT paradigm.
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