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State Legislators in Hawaii Looking at Loot Boxes as Potential Illegal Gambling

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State Legislators in Hawaii Looking at Loot Boxes as Potential Illegal Gambling

It seems that video gaming is about to come under some regulatory pressure from at least a couple of governments with regards to how ‘loot boxes’ and in-game transactions are handled.

Polygon has the story:

Enter your content here.Lawmakers in Hawaii’s state legislature and the Belgian government have both indicated a desire to investigate and regulate loot crates and in-game transactions in video gaming, if not ban the practice outright as illegal gambling.

In Hawaii yesterday, Reps. Chris Lee and Sean Quinlan held a news conference that assailed loot crates as preying on children, naming Star Wars Battlefront 2 specifically. The game launched on Friday, and a day before publisher Electronic Arts suspended in-game transactions in light of the controversy surrounding loot crate systems.

This is certainly a pretty big deal and a first step towards what will likely be even greater regulatory pressure on game makers to keep their in-game transactions in check.

Its no secret that companies like EA have used modes like Ultimate Team as well as other in-game transactions to subsidize the ever-growing cost of game development while keeping the price for entry at $60. And recently, they’ve been getting closer to what you might traditionally refer to as ‘gambling’ depending upon who you ask.

The likely outcome of any such regulatory moves, especially those that may limit game makers’ ability to sell items within their games, would be higher costs of entry for games.

Its actually remarkable we’ve kept the price of entry at the $60 mark for so long. The cost of an NES game in 1989 in a modern day sense would more reasonably equate (due to inflation) to something in the order of $120 today. So we’ve certainly been getting a bit of a steal in terms of game cost.

What do you think? Would you trade the card modes/microtransactons for a higher priced game full of less such features? 

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Executive Editor. Based in Oklahoma.

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  1. Nice to see our government hard at work dealing with such important issues... LOL
    That said, please make microtransactions illegal. I'd pay $80 for a Madden with a polished franchise mode in a heartbeat!
    Yeah I agree. I don’t want the democratically elected government governing - crazy - what next police policing ;) - might be the silliest comment I’ve ever seen in a forum.  Absolute lunacy. Congrats sir congrats 
    brilliant stuff from Hawaii - gambling needs to be regulated especially when it’s so accessible to children. 
    The problem is the predatory nature of it. When parents purchase a game for their kids, they need to be aware of what's inside. If the gaming industry is preying on children (heck - even those adults that decide to buy in) via the addictive hooks of gambling, it should be noted on the game. 
    I think it should be incorporated into the ESRB rating system.
    I'm excited to see all of this loot box/card pack garbage getting bad press. It's bad for game design and I think it's bad for the various gaming communities.
    The problem is the predatory nature of it. When parents purchase a game for their kids, they need to be aware of what's inside. If the gaming industry is preying on children (heck - even those adults that decide to buy in) via the addictive hooks of gambling, it should be noted on the game. 
    I think it should be incorporated into the ESRB rating system.
    I'm excited to see all of this loot box/card pack garbage getting bad press. It's bad for game design and I think it's bad for the various gaming communities.
    Nothing wrong with government (albeit State government) questioning the way EA and the whole "crate" trend is going. Lots of times in threads on OS, there is constant criticism of the way the games force you to spend real cash just to be competitive. If you are 20, 30, 40 years old, sure you can decide drop money into your gaming, but what if it's a younger kid that has his game linked to a parent's credit card? Also, sure, the industry keeps the price down buy integrating micro-transactions.... well, EA seems to be racking in the cash with this strategy... but, if they are, why are we getting these crappy game iterations (NBA Live 18, Madden no-develoment of franchise mode, etc). Let's get real, "pay to be competitive" is not cool. Anyway, that's my 2 cents.
    No, I actually believe this is the right thing here and more governments need to get involved. We haven't been getting any deals. What we've been getting is ripped off by video game makers these days. After the basically $99.99 full version or as some like to call it ultimate edition, legacy edition, or whatever other BS name they give it, we're paying close to that $120 price you speak of Chris. Then we get a game that's barely been improved, just so we can pay these micro-transactions to unlock stuff that no one in this world has time to complete. After the Star Wars Battlefront 2 controversy I have stopped buying EA games. Its time someone brought this to light and I think what you will see is that more people will stop buying these trash games until something is actually improved. As a lifelong gamer I have never been more disgusted by the way companies like EA run a business, taking mass amounts of money just so we can truly enjoy the "full features" of games.  And they do that to children! I'd pay the $120 price for games that are worth it. These in-game transactions NEED regulating.
    EA will probably changing its tune as their stock is down 8.5 percent, losing shareholders approximately 3.1 billion dollars according to CNBC.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    jb12780
    EA will probably changing its tune as their stock is down 8.5 percent, losing shareholders approximately 3.1 billion dollars according to CNBC.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    They are not alone. 2k and others need to change their tune.
    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

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