Toward the end of last year, Hawaii state representative Chris Lee started laying the groundwork for taking legislative action against video games that offer loot boxes for sale. Now the fruit of his labor is starting to take the shape of four bills that could change the way games with predatory microtransactions are sold in stores.
Two pairs of bills have been introduced at both the house and senate levels, according to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. House Bill 2686 and Senate Bill 3024 aim to prevent people under the age of 21 from buying games that have loot boxes. The other pair, House Bill 2727 and Senate Bill 3025, asks that publishers label games that have loot boxes and disclose the probability rates of every possible drop.
“I grew up playing games my whole life,” said Lee. “I’ve watched firsthand the evolution of the industry from one that seeks to create new things to one that’s begun to exploit people, especially children, to maximize profit.”
These bills aren’t in effect as of yet, and the Hawaiian House and Senate must vote on whether they can be signed into law. If these bills become law, they still would only affect the state of Hawaii, but the precedent could cause change in other states and countries. Additionally, Lee has mentioned that he has worked with lawmakers abroad regarding the regulation of loot boxes. Seeing more legislative action around the country might be just around the corner, especially considering that he claims more than half of the states are working on some legislation.
Although predatory loot boxes has been a trend in 2017, this government regulation was likely sparked by the pay-to-win model of Star Wars Battlefront 2, which has since removed its microtransactions. The game is seeing improvements now, including a revamped progression system, but Lee was very public about his initial disapproval of EA’s sci-fi shooter and has been working on pushing legislation since.
How do you feel about the possible government regulation of loot boxes in video games? Let us know in the comments below.