Video Game Loot Boxes: A Fun Idea or a Ripoff?

Loot boxes are a contentious subject among gamers. They allow players the option to spend money for a shot at receiving mystery items they don’t typically include with the normal purchase within a game. This model can be frustratingly addictive for some people.

But loot boxes can also be an annoyance for gamers who can’t access all a game has to offer without forking over even more money. This means that a game that may cost $60 to purchase initially can end up costing considerably more. And that’s especially if a player is determined to get special equipment, including exclusive armor or weapons.

What Senator Hawley Wants to Do About Loot Boxes

One Senator has decided enough is enough. Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri has recently introduced legislation aimed at outlawing micro-transactions, including loot boxes. He’s gone as far as to label the practice a danger to children.

The bill is entitled “The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act.” Hawley hopes to make it illegal for games intended for minors to make use of pay-to-win transactions.

According to the bill, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would need to monitor game developers. And then they would enforce punishments for those targeting underage players if they contain loot boxes. The bill deems such micro-transactions as an “unfair trade practice.”

Venture Beat spoke with different analysts about the possibility of the bill becoming law. While some analysts support such legislation and think loot boxes are predatory, others suggest it’s ludicrous. In part, if the bill did pass it would make the United States the only country in the world to ban such micro-transactions.

That would make it more draconian than places such as China or South Korea, both famous for levying harsh restrictions on video games. But the issue of loot boxes is a difficult one. Many players have embraced the concept of micro-transactions by taking part in them. But others maintain that the transactions are unfair and simply a way to bilk gamers out of more money.

Still, it’s hard to ignore the legislation to deem them illegal, let alone for endangering children. However, for some, it seems a little like overkill.

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