Loot boxes could become illegal if a Missouri Senator gets his way
Senator Josh Hawley believes loot boxes are evil
There is a debate that has been waging for the past couple of years regarding loot boxes, the offering found in some video games that can reward the gamer with player-altering benefits or something as simple as a new avatar. The uncertainty of what the loot box contains is the premise of the debate, since they must be purchased, either with cash or with points earned within the game. Some have argued that the loot boxes constitute a form of gambling, but there has yet to be a general consensus developed. If a Missouri Senator has his way, though, loot boxes will be banned, regardless of whether or not the industry as collectively identified them as evil.
Senator Josh Hawley plans on introducing a bill that will prohibit loot boxes or any other form of monetization in video games that target children. He said in a press release, “Social media and video games prey on user addiction, siphoning our kids’ attention from the real world and extracting profits from fostering compulsive habits. No matter this business model’s advantages to the tech industry, one thing is clear: there is no excuse for exploiting children through such practices.”
Hawley continued, “When a game is designed for kids, game developers shouldn’t be allowed to monetize addiction. And when kids play games designed for adults, they should be walled off from compulsive microtransactions. Game developers who knowingly exploit children should face legal consequences.”
His bill would ban loot boxes or any type of in-game purchase in games that target children or could be played by children, which includes virtually everything. According to him, the decision to ban loot boxes in a particular game would be based on “subject matter, visual content, and other indicators similar to those used to determine applicability of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).”
Not only does his bill show a lack of understanding of video games and loot boxes, but it also is a slap in the face against gamers and parents. Parents need to determine what games their children should play and not allow them to make purchases. Parents need to educate their children and monitor their activities, just as has always been expected.