Senator to Introduce Bill to Ban Loot Boxes and Microtransactions Aimed at Children

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by cageymaru, May 8, 2019.

  1. N4CR

    N4CR 2[H]4U

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    Boomer holocaust couldn't come sooner.
     
  2. ThatITGuy

    ThatITGuy Limp Gawd

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    Torn on this...
    Not a fan of government getting involved in the free market...

    but I would also welcome anything that hurts this new trend to stick micro-transactions in everything. Single player games with micro-transactions was the last straw for me. I miss the days of user created map packs and mods.
     
  3. ThatITGuy

    ThatITGuy Limp Gawd

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    Or up to someone's imagination. I remember seeing some really cool, and some pretty disturbing, "community created" skins for games.
     
  4. singe_101

    singe_101 2[H]4U

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    Do any mobile games have monthly subscriptions?
     
  5. {NG}Fidel

    {NG}Fidel [H]ardness Supreme

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    Fighting games took the biggest hit which really sucks because I love that genre.
     
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  6. Jagger100

    Jagger100 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Boomers don't want to be heavies like their parents were to them. Every boomer thinks their parents picked on them. Boomers hate old people, it's hilarious when they start being decrepit old.
     
  7. Majinhoju

    Majinhoju [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'm kind of torn on this one. I don't want this to lead to further government censorship on gaming but it would nice to see the end of loot boxes.
     
  8. Comixbooks

    Comixbooks Ignore Me

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    This Gen X senator should quit his job and drive in the sunset with his hot wife playing candy crush.
     
  9. Jagger100

    Jagger100 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I don't see an uninstru
    I don't see an non-intrusive solution to this. Few ideas maybe removing any 1-click behavior and force a payment interaction every time. This could blunt children or impulse buying. Require avatars that have paided to win to post how much they've paid. Thereby defeating the desire to pay for false bragging rights.
     
  10. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot 2[H]4U

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    Instead of an outright ban, instead mandate disclosure of the odds. If I buy the Green Loot Box, what are the odds of getting the Golden Fleece Robes vs odds of getting Moldy Beggars Rags? Also mandate an in game accessible "How much have I spent on this stupid game?" button. Require a email/text be sent to the CC owner for each in game purchase.
     
  11. Furious_Styles

    Furious_Styles [H]ard|Gawd

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    Ban all those shitty cell phone/tablet games if you want to target children.
     
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  12. twonunpackmule

    twonunpackmule [H]ard|Gawd

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    If a game features Loot Boxes, it should be rated AO.
     
  13. sharknice

    sharknice [H]ard|Gawd

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    You can talk to the ESRB if you want that changed. The government has nothing to do with ESRB ratings and there are no laws stopping any stores from selling AO games to minors. It's a completely voluntary system. Same thing for movies (excluding pornography).

    Gambling warnings might be a good thing for the ERSB to add.
     
  14. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I remember when loot boxes didn't cost real money. They were just called chests. You sneak into a room, pick the lock, and inside the chest I found random items ... loot.....loot box.

    Paying cash, or some form of token/gold/credits .... which cost cash. That is what needs to stop. Micro-transactions in any form is what should stop.

    The day was, a person "bought" a game to play. That was changed and instead, we payed for a license to be allowed to play the game. Then came the rest of it and that's what needs to happen. Go back in time a little, draw a line, and no crossing that line. Roll the clock back and let the market manage the rest.
     
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  15. cvinh

    cvinh [H]ard|Gawd

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    Seriously, how the hell are kids buying loot boxes? If you're giving your kids a credit card, how is that EA's fault for the children buying the lootboxes? The parents need to be held accountable for their children's activities. When I was a kid, I had a limited allowance to buy Pokemon cards. What's the difference between opening a booster pack vs a lootbox? Someone explain this shit to me.

    And no I couldn't care less about EA or their lootboxes. I think microtransactions are hurting game development but as long as shills are paying for them, they can do whatever the hell they want. Consumers are the dumb ones for putting money into the lootbox system and enabling EA.
     
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  16. vegeta535

    vegeta535 2[H]4U

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    Difference is those Pokemon cards still have value now. Some cards can go for thousands. You won't even have access to those skins and shit you bought in game in 15 years.
     
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  17. cvinh

    cvinh [H]ard|Gawd

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    That's not the argument being made to ban children from having access to them. If you want to call opening a lootbox gambling then opening a booster pack is pretty much the same thing. You're paying for a chance to get something rare.
     
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  18. Jim Kim

    Jim Kim 2[H]4U

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    Money
    Money
    Money Money Money
    lol
     
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  19. twonunpackmule

    twonunpackmule [H]ard|Gawd

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    Well, that is obviously not what this bill is.
     
  20. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Gambling isn't about getting something that is rare.

    Here is a common definition, followed by the US Law concerning gambling;

    There are many exceptions to what is gambling. You can read it and see for yourself why the law doesn't see these as gambling.

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/31/5362
     
  21. SirMaster

    SirMaster 2[H]4U

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    How are loot boxes any different than the card packs that kids have bought since forever for like pokemon or magic the gathering. Where the packs may contain rare cards of value, or they may not...
     
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  22. cvinh

    cvinh [H]ard|Gawd

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    So what's your argument? That it does/doesn't apply to lootboxes and trading card booster packs or it only applies to one and not the other?
     
  23. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    My argument is that neither are legally considered gambling. And that an object's rarity has nothing to do with what is considered gambling.

    I make no distinction or argument concerning similarities between the two (loot boxes and card packs), only that neither is legally considered gambling.

    Here's the long and short of it. The laws say what is gambling. The legal institutions decide what they are going to pursue as gambling. They may be challenged in court, successfully or otherwise. Over time, new forms of gambling arise to slip in unrecognized and unregulated until such time as the institutions become aware of, and determined to regulate. Both loot boxes and card packs may one day be determined to be gambling, but they are not today.

    As for rarity;
    I'll begin with card packs, it's easier. Typically card packs have x number of cards, sold retail for a given price. The individual cards may have different values in a collector's market, and rarity may influence those prices, but every card has some nominal value. Buying card packs is not a game of chance, it's a retail transaction.

    Now we can talk about loot boxes. Do you make a retail purchase for loot boxes? In some cases, this is a yes. Let's proceed, the items that you receive from your loot boxes, are they items of value? Digital Goods? If they qualify as items of value/goods? I would say that they are. But if any one item, you might say for example, a rare item, has value, then all of the items have some value.

    Now we look at the legal definition of gambling that I linked to above;
    In both cases(loot boxes and card packs), a person is normally putting up money in the exchange. I think we agree on this. But is this person betting or wagering on the outcome of a contest as in a sporting event? No, but a game of chance, that sounds close.We need to look at the definition of games of chance. Here is NY State's definition;
    https://definitions.uslegal.com/g/games-of-chance/
    The point being, this is very specifically defined, and as such, the general law on gambling above rests upon such narrow definitions. They are State dependent and therefor they very from State to State. If you read this proposed Bill you will find that the word gambling is absent. It's absent for these very reasons. You can't get anywhere legally by conflating either of these to gambling because of the very specific language and the legal history attached to the word.

    This is why I say rarity has nothing to do with gambling.
     
  24. HeadRusch

    HeadRusch [H]ard|Gawd

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    They aren't, and you just made the point perfectly. This is a material form of exploitation. EA has digitized this perfectly.....buy the loot box with real money and MAYBE you get the rare item itside, or maybe you just get a bunch more of those Digital Squirtles you already have four of. Hey, don't feel bad though, you can always buy another one and maybe get that whateverhtefuck you're after so desperately!.

    Seriously if you had to pick the greatest evil on planet earth, it's Advertising. Paid wholesale lying and emotional manipulation across the board, now running rampant in video games. Hell I told a friend of mine I couldn't believe Hollywood hadn't yet picked up on the "Collector Cover" mentality that Comic Books used to (possibly still do?) exploit. YOu know, you can't see AVENGERS: ENDGAME just once, because you have to go to different theatres to see a SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT CUT OF EACH MOVIE...and then of course get the cool Collector COIN that goes with the viewing! WAIT...wait....then you can pre-order tickets to get the EXTRA SPECIAL COIN.....and on..and fucking on....it goes.....
     
  25. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I do agree about advertisers ..... not much better than ambulance chasers.
     
  26. Delicieuxz

    Delicieuxz Gawd

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    For people in the US who want to see this bill pass, I recommend that you contact your representative, however that's done, asking them to support the bill. And if you're able to, also explain to them or their office how these practices are predatory and negatively impacting.
     
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  27. p3sty

    p3sty 2[H]4U

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    Make them kids earn it like theeee old days.......
     
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  28. Delicieuxz

    Delicieuxz Gawd

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  29. Grimlaking

    Grimlaking 2[H]4U

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    Because the. Kid doesnt have their own phone and is playing on mom's or grandma's phone who once used it with Google play so. The card is in there perhaps?
     
  30. Smashing Young Man

    Smashing Young Man [H]ard|Gawd

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    Loot Boxes are daft. The government legislating video game development is daft. The world is daft.
     
  31. GoldenTiger

    GoldenTiger [H]ard as it Gets

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    Still the parent's negligence. They could put a pin on it or a password.
     
  32. Flogger23m

    Flogger23m [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Both are indeed daft. But, one has the possibility to make a good impact and reverse a negative trend. Ideally if it ended up back firing you could repeal the law or pass amendments but I doubt the government will do either right. Something I'd absolutely like to see but do worry about implementation wise.
     
  33. Gorankar

    Gorankar [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I get that part of it, but, if you invite politicians into our hobby in, (more than they already have been), they just will poop on the carpet, pee on the drapes, and chew up every internet/power/hdmi cable they spot. They will not "just" fetch the lootboox ban stick for us.
     
  34. wizdum

    wizdum [H]ard|Gawd

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    Like many have said, I'm not a fan of government intervention...but.... Its getting pretty obvious that these "game" companies are targeting kids and using the same tactics as casinos. We don't let kids gamble in casinos, and we shouldn't let game companies make online casinos for them.
     
  35. Hagrid

    Hagrid [H]ardness Supreme

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    Why would the government need to step in and do the parents job? I guess the bad parents could use this?
     
  36. Auer

    Auer Limp Gawd

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    Bad parenting is and has always been common. That should not however make it ok for anyone to take advantage of it and exploit it.
     
  37. wizdum

    wizdum [H]ard|Gawd

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    The same reason we ban kids from casinos, and prevent them from buying cigarettes or alcohol.
     
  38. RanceJustice

    RanceJustice [H]ardness Supreme

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    I can't say I object to this in principle (note: Iv'e not read the actual bill itself, so there may be some bad implementation of which I'm not aware), but generally I believe that "lootboxes/microtransactions/ so called mobiles-style monetization" as a whole is harmful not only to individuals, child or adult, but the market and gaming as a whole.

    I've watched the evolution of this phenomena, where making a game isn't just about game or even entertainment design anymore, but money is spent on psychology and analysis designed to keep people playing; where every choice is to shepard them towards monetization elements. Worse, it is designed to disguise the costs, manipulate the mind of the player, and keep them playing, spending, and overall addicted to the game. I've spoken with those in the industry - both experienced in the earlier paradigm and the new one dominated by these sort of transactions and they agree it is a totally different, limiting ,hurtful mindset

    We have lots of data on the harms of this entire ethos, both in terms of game design and far beyond. Many of us can point to a game that is far worse for the inclusion of lootboxes, an "item mall" scheme with rental or purchase, or other facets of this strategy. We've seen many games, PC, console, and mobile alike made worse from using any designs within this sphere - I personally am grated the most by the change from "western, subscription based MMO monetzation" to "Eastern/Mobile item mall style monetization" - which has in my experience been the most egregious. Over the past nearly 20 years I can count on one hand the number of times where there was an option to either "Subscribe and get EVERYTHING" or "Go F2P and have to buy things a la carte". Instead, whenever a game went F2P you could easily spend TWICE what a subscription would cost and not get even close to having the full access to the game,cosmetics or otherwise, that are on the "item mall". Thus, the game is designed to cost hundreds or even thousands of times the subscription price to get all the content, usually because of targeting "whales" who make big purchases despite being a tiny portion of the playerbase; not sustainable in the long term. This is just one of many examples for how this monetization strategy is repugnant in all its forms.

    Thankfully, we also have some data on places elsewhere in the world that have seen the danger and banned it. - notably Belgium. Thus, we know that when entities that profit from this behavior are simply wrong when they claim banning them somehow the end of game design or whatnot - gaming is still thriving in Belgium, and games either make a "special version" without all the predatory nonsense just for that country and/or sell a game with a better, singular business plan more conducive to long term viability. We also have examples like most visibly the "Middle Earth: Shadows of War" and the recent "Mortal Kombat 11" where a game can be ruined by depending on this kind of monetization and, despite all the lies from the dev/publishers that "monetization isn't built in to how we develop the game", the changes necessary to Shadows of War for its Definitive Edition which REMOVED all lootboxes and other microtransactions (leading to a much better game, a year on) had significant differences to the in-game economy, drops, and more. Something similar is happening with MK11 and its grind-centric nature being there to "encourage" real money purchase. Given that both of these titles are published by WB they deserve to be chastised for MK11 not remembering what happend with Shadow of War so recently, but I have to at least give them credit for fixing the former (and hopefully, the latter) in this regard - most developers will never admit such a mistake and/or go back on the monetization scheme to make their game better!

    This bill targeting "the children" is really just the start, and I don't feel right about it since so many unseemly things are pushed through (ie surveillance, depriving others of civil rights, FOSTA/SESTA etc) by saying its "for the children". However, children certainly deserve to be protected from this predatory monetization and psychological tricks designed specifically to manipulate... but so do the rest of us! Children have parents but this is a bigger issue and one that harms the gaming industry overall. Lilke so many other unethical, exploitative things from slave labor, to lone sharking, to environmentally harmful processes in agriculture, to what much of Wall Street does on a daily basis, predatory monetization in games is profitable. Thus, it harms the entire industry and market because simply nothing else can come close - anyone not doing the unethical thing is fighting with one arm tied behind their back. Thus, so many people gravitate towards the easy, unethical thing because its available... which makes it much harder for those who want to do something different to explain - especially if they end up as a public company or have VCs breathing down their neck - in an environment where maximum quarterly return always growing is taken as a requirement! Sure, there may be a handful of people who for one reason or another can weather this storm (ie they have a lot of funding from elsewhere) but it shouldn't be necessary.

    It is no surprise that predatory monetization in games has spread like a pathogen through the industry. The market will not solve this, it will take SOME sort of act of the community (aka a government law) in order to say that, like slavery, no matter how profitable it can be, it isn't acceptable - foot down! Something to protect children is missing the point and/or off to a slow start, but we need a better solution lest it continue to harm the artistic and entertainment merit of gaming as an industry, and the experience of the player. Banning all forms of predatory monetization (and it is a wide assortment) from gaming is a good start. If you want to relegate them specifically to the "gambling" category, that's one thing, but right now they get the best of both worlds so to speak - lacking the oversight of either and getting the profit of both!
     
  39. Hagrid

    Hagrid [H]ardness Supreme

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    So why ban the items? Just make it 18+? 21+?

    Or did I read it wrong and they are going to make it 18+?
     
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  40. wizdum

    wizdum [H]ard|Gawd

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    My guess would be because its too close to gambling. You need licenses and certain regulations need to be met to run a gambling operation. Loot boxes would be banned outside of those licensed operations.