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U.S. Senator Says His Anti-Loot Box Bill Has The Video Game Industry Worried

Is Republican senator Josh Hawley an advocate for video game players or an ambitious politician with a savvy staff who know a win-win argument when they see one? The freshman senator from Missouri, who plans to soon introduce a bill that will ban loot boxes and pay-to-win microtransactions, spoke to Kotaku yesterday about his plans.

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Tross36d ago

Only crooks who put those in their games need to be worried, lol.

lnfiniteLoop36d ago (Edited 36d ago )

thats most of the gaming industry then... lol

Daeloki35d ago

It's not though, and the community will be better off without said crooks

35d ago
Dirtnapstor35d ago (Edited 35d ago )

Everyone whined and complained about season passes and all the “cut content” that was “owed to us”.
Now, look where we are at....
At least season passes guaranteed us content, unlike the drip feed offerings now.

Eulderink35d ago (Edited 35d ago )

well like trevor noah said on the daily show, it's choosing between a bully that takes ur lunchmoney and beats you and a bully that only takes ur money xD (not exact words). I do agree though, even though i hate season passes with a passion too.

DethWish35d ago

Season passes etc is what led the way to lootboxes. The more MTs and DLC people pay for, the more companies are going to go down that route and the more extreme the MTs will get

Dirtnapstor35d ago (Edited 35d ago )

@Dethwish
I disagree. Most are willing to pay for more content, provided it is worthy, to extend the life of a game.
The concept of micro transactions did not spawn from season passes. Publishers saw the power of MTs via the mobile market, and naturally so, injected the model into ‘regular’ gaming.

raWfodog35d ago

As a gamer, the only thing I'm worried about is how slippery this slope could get. Kudos on trying to eliminate a form of gambling from games that kids have access to but who's to say some uptight, holier-than-thou politician won't try to use a similar move in the future to try and further their 'cause' or rile up their evangelical base. Next on their list is 'questionable' content within the video games themselves.

ravinash35d ago

You've already had that for a long time.
Remember Hillary getting involved with the hot coffee incident in GTA?
Or how about the NRA trying to blame gun violence on games.

raWfodog35d ago

@ravinash

I'm specifically talking about legislation actually being passed that prohibits specific video game content.
Hillary's bill (FEPA) and other bills have always been proposed but they did not pass. Once this type of legislation actually gets passed, you will have set precedence for getting other similar bills passed.

rainslacker35d ago (Edited 35d ago )

My only problem with the bill itself right now is that loot boxes haven't actually been classified as gambling, so when it comes to making them illegal, I question if this bill has the right to even exist. Even if it was gambling, that doesn't mean it has the right to be outlawed, just regulated. Given the nature of gambling regulation and laws, it's classification alone would likely make them go away, and this bill wouldn't even be necessary. Gambling laws tend to make it hard to sell things that can be brought by minors, and requires special licensing by the retailers who would sell them, and they would likely just not bother....especially since they don't benefit any on the back end of the transaction.

This bill is putting the cart before the horse, and looking to regulate the free market, which I do take issue with, even though I don't care for loot boxes, and would like to see them go away.

Kumakai35d ago

That’s not true. When you work in the industry you realize how thin margins are and how tight things run. There’s a reason ppl keep coming out saying the current game model doesn’t work anymore. Have you worked in the game industry? Cuz a lot of my friends are looking for work due to all of this. More revenue is generated from MTs than game sales. So be prepared to pay more and see less studios. I know this first hand. Not every studio is EA.

rainslacker35d ago

They say the current game models don't work anymore, because they want to make more money from things like loot boxes. They were trying to garner sympathy from the consumer. The industry doesn't run on tight margins. A successful game is successful regardless of MT, and while some games can become successful because of them, the one's that make tons of cash off such things, tend to be successful without them as well. Look at the games they were saying needed them to make money. yearly games, which had minimal cost requirements, and subsidized marketing, that sold in 5-10+ million copies.

To put it in perspective, a AAA game only needs to sell about 1.5 million copies to break even...and many can even break even selling just 1 million.

kneon33d ago

Part of the problem is that there are just too many companies making games, and so far too many games. There just isn't a sufficiently large market for them all to be successful.

I won't be surprised if we see a lot more studio closures and consolidations happening at some point.Though if Google, Amazon and others with deep pockets dive in that will keep things going a while longer.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 33d ago
Inzo36d ago

"U.S. Senator Says His Anti-Loot Box Bill Has The Video Game Industry Worried"

And me happy.

jeki35d ago

How many loot boxes have you bought so far?

jeki35d ago

@Inzo

Have you ever purchased a loot box, and if so, how many have you purchased?

Samus70735d ago (Edited 35d ago )

Same. If this passes, companies will have to make actual good games again to make a profit instead of "Minimum Viable Product" through which they can inject loot boxes. PLEASE LORD let this happen.

Inzo35d ago

Agreed. Nobody wants government interference in gaming but when companies like EA's and Activision's greed cloud their minds then perhaps there is no other option.

jeki35d ago

No they won't. Games will become worse.

UltraNova36d ago

I'm pretty sure Mobile game giants, EA etc have put their "greasing gloves" on and got to work "alongside" policy/law makers to "figure" this whole thing out, for the civilians benefit of course.

Gemmol36d ago

I think EA rather pay them 5 million to drop the bill

Codedan35d ago

Do you also hope they ban games with violence?

rainslacker35d ago (Edited 35d ago )

I doubt it will even get approved to be voted on. Even if it does, it will get struck down in the House or committee.

Guy hasn't even proposed the bill yet, and until he does, I wouldn't say it should pass or not, because we don't know the full wording of the bill. Unfortunately, I don't really trust the gaming press to relay the full text, and what it would mean, because I doubt they explore the story too far, or bother to learn how a bill becomes a law. There could be things in this bill which aren't good for the consumer, or the industry(even if we hate loot boxes, doesn't mean the bill will only ban those), and maybe it shouldn't pass.

When it comes to things like this, don't get swept up in the feelings you may have over the surface talk that we've seen so far. That's how many things make it through congress or the house, even though it isn't something we'd want.

TheColbertinator36d ago

To me this is a good start.

However, I'm suspicious to his intention. Perhaps Hawley is trying to get the attention of the publishers by threatening them if they don't fork over cash for his next campaign.

porkChop36d ago

What you're implying would be extortion and highly illegal. There's no way he'd be this public if he was trying to do something shady like that.

AnubisG35d ago

Trust in politicians is at an all time low. I can easily believe that he is looking for money and will get a lot. Day time robbery out in the open and no one will care at all. This is too small of thing for anyone to really care. We only know because we are gamers and read gaming news but the wast majority of the US has no idea.

At least that is what I think.

kneon35d ago

Buying politicians in the US is perfectly legal ever since the moronic decision that money is free speech and that companies are people too and so can express such "free speech" however they like.

This had made the US political system incredibly corrupt. The only thing that matters to many of them is pleasing their donors. Most other countries have much stricter rules on political donations so that corporations and billionaires have far less influence over politicians.

TheColbertinator35d ago

It's called lobbying. We have campaign fundraisers, donation dinner parties, super PACs and secret cash envelopes that politicians use to legally or illegally acquire more wealth and power.

Many of these politicians from Congress to the President also all believe they are above the law.

rainslacker35d ago

They wouldn't bother giving this guy money. He's a freshman senator, and there are plenty of other people who they can grease the palms of to simply have it shut down. The gaming industry does have its own lobbyist group....the ESA, which also runs the ESRB. The most common way to lobby, is support a politician in their campaigns. Technically, taking money is illegal, which is why its done through loopholes, but it still happens, and I wouldn't really trust any politician.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 35d ago
MegaKooter29d ago

There is zero game industry in Missouri.

It would be like a florida senator trying to get money from the corn lobby.

Sgt_Slaughter36d ago (Edited 36d ago )

Why do I get the feeling this is more "I'm mad we're not involved with/getting money from this" than them seeing this as a legit problem inside the gaming industry?

KwietStorm35d ago

Because it's the government, that's why. Everyone talking about being glad about this and hoping the bill passes is only thinking short term, and would probably take anything to counter loot boxes. I can't comprehend why anyone would want the government's hands in the gaming industry.

CaitSith35d ago

@KwietStorm

Finally, someone with sense!

Testfire35d ago

It's mostly the young socialist generation that wants the government to do everything for them. Are loot boxes bad... Imo yes but how about we stop blaming others and take self accountability? How about just not buying those games in the first place?

If you're worried about the kids, how about being a parent and actually watch your child?

This is not what the US government is supposed to be there for, we need to get them the hell out of our personal lives and not be inviting them in for stupid crap like loot boxes.

Imalwaysright35d ago (Edited 35d ago )

Testfire

Well said. Gamers are the ones that encourage devs/publishers to have these sort of practices in their games. I do blame devs/publishers because they design their games to nickel and dime us to the best of their ability but if there is a group of people that I blame the most it's us, gamers. As a group of people we are probably the most stupid consumers I have ever seen. It certainly is the only group of people that I've seen actively defending practices that are detrimental to them.

Spartacus1035d ago

Governments are already heavily involved in the gaming industry.
Put a lootbox machine in room called a casino and kids wont be allowed to play.
Put lootboxes in a video game called fifa and kids are allowed to spend thousands on it.

The problem is of inequality.
If an adult is rich/stupid enough to spend thousands on lootboxes, let them.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 35d ago