It’s no secret that loot boxes have been under fire recently, and a Hawaiian lawmaker has laid out the next steps necessary to make microtransaction regulation a part of the law. Democratic House representative Chris Lee has been leading the charge in America against predatory loot boxes since Star Wars: Battlefront II started stoking the flames.
Lee published a video on Youtube on December 5 titled “Next steps: What you can do to fix the gaming industry.” In it, he explains that a bill needs to be crafted in order to regulate loot boxes. Hawaii representative Sean Quinlan is seen working with Lee, and the two are working with bill drafters to make sure anything that’s written uses the proper legal language.
In the video, Lee sits at a desk with Quinlan and an unnamed bill drafter, and Quinlan explains the kind of bill they want in layman’s terms.
“We’d like to prohibit the sale of video games that have gambling mechanisms in them to minors, anyone under the age of 21,” he said. “So if you were to buy a $200 sword in a video game, but you knew that you were getting that sword, that would not fall under the definition.” He further explained that a $200 percent chance to get a sword is what he’s looking to prohibit.
The bill looks to also tackle the “unethical and unfair” practice of lowering the probability of rolling a specific reward from a loot box when a player spends more money on them. Quinlan made a point to mention that the bill needs to be written in a way that affects both in-store purchases and digital storefronts.
The focus age cutoff is, according to Lee, that it might lead to a brighter future for the industry.
“The most obvious thing is prohibiting the sale of games with predatory game mechanics to those under 21. That’s something that I think everybody should be able to agree on,” he said. “And that might be enough because if you’re taking away that share of the market from the gaming industry they might actually change games across the board for the better.”
The video concludes with Lee asking viewers to send letters to their own elected officials, and he provides a sample letter to streamline the process.
Microtransactions have caught the ire of governments around the world, not just Hawaii’s. Belgian officials have looked into games like Overwatch and Battlefront II, investigating whether their loot box systems should be considered gambling. However, despite all the controversy surrounding them, microtransactions have shown to bring in more revenue with passing each year.