The legislative piece against loot boxes was introduced in the US by a Senator from Missouri as he believes it protects children from gambling.
US.- Once again, loot boxes are in the spotlight as its legality raises questions in multiple sectors. This time, a Missouri Senator introduced federal legislation that could potentially ban loot boxes from video games. Senator Josh Hawley said that the measure aims to protect children, the main consumers of these games.
The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act would prohibit video games from offering loot boxes or randomised assortments of digital weapons, clothing, etc, that can be purchased for a fee. According to a Juniper Research report, the industry could be worth more than US$50 billion, but several countries in Europe have already banned loot boxes or are studying them to come up with a decision.
The bill, presented on Wednesday, features games that are explicitly targeted to players under age 18. The federal act also discusses the ban of “pay to win” schemes, where players spend money to access additional content that would give them digital advantages over rival players.
“Social media and video games prey on user addiction, syphoning our kids’ attention from the real world and extracting profits from fostering compulsive habits,” Hawley said in a statement. “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.”
The Entertainment Software Association, a lobbying group for the video game industry, talked about Ireland and Germany, which have already determined that loot boxes do not constitute gambling.
“We look forward to sharing with the senator the tools and information the industry already provides that keeps the control of in-game spending in parents’ hands,” Stanley Pierre-Louis, the group’s acting president, said in a statement.