The conversation surrounding loot boxes in video games typically come off with a negative connotation as the idea usually stretches towards pay-to-win microtransactions that give the players more of an edge when playing online. Looking this past year, we already have witnessed government trying to push for legal action against the lucrative business practice by labeling it as gambling since you’re unsure what you pay for until after making the transaction.
Now conversation of officially banning loot boxes as a whole has surfaced just this week as the U.S. Senate could potentially exterminate loot boxes from games being sold to individuals under 18 years old. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) revealed to the Senate a bill that would restrict loot boxes from being in titles available to minors, ultimately banning the practice from being in the final product.
The Missouri-represented Senator labelling the proposed legislation as the Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act, in short PCAGA.
Hawley stating that the intentions of the PCAGA is to prevent children from being exposed to these type of “manipulative” payment features that video game titles typically possess in this current industry climate. Explaining that this not only will affect randomized loot boxes, but “pay-to-win” microtransactions will be affected if the proposed bill goes into effect.
Though how welcoming the idea of removing loot boxes from the market is, it is unsure to what extent Hawley is pushing for the removal of them. Particularly emphasizing on the ban towards games that can be sold to those defined by law as a minor, does this only mean up to M and AO rated titles? Only applying to E, E10, & T rated games? That has yet to be clarified by Senator Hawley.
Though the bill is in public eye, PCAGA has yet to properly be presented to the U.S. Senate, so the true purpose for the forthcoming bill will be revealed in the coming days this week.
Previously, ESRB announced that all titles that offer any type of microtransactions will be respectably labeled to hold the business practice. This meaning any downloadable content varying from pay-to-win items, loot boxes, cosmetics, and even expansions.