Towards the end of last year, Hawaii state legislator Chris Lee called out videogame loot boxes. He described EA’s Battlefront 2 as “a Star Wars-themed online casino”, and announced plans to seek an “accountability piece” of legislation in a bid to govern how publishers implement the controversial system.
Four new bills have now been introduced to this end.
As reported by the Hawaii Tribune Herald (via Rolling Stone), House Bill 2727 and Senate Bill 3025 aim to force publishers to prominently label games that contain purchasable items—as well as their probability drop rates.
House Bill 2686 and Senate Bill 3024, on the other hand, would prohibit the sale of games containing electronic gambling systems that use real money to anyone under the age of 21.
“I grew up playing games my whole life,” says Lee, as reported by the Tribune Herald. “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 maximise profit.”
Published on December 5, 2017, here’s Lee’s ‘Next steps: What you can do to fix the gaming industry’ short:
Lee tells the Tribune Herald: “If enough of the market reacts, the industry would have to respond and change its practices.
“It’s a $30 billion industry. It’s bigger than Hollywood. It’s an industry that can reach into everyone’s pockets and phones and consoles and PCs, but there’s no authority to force them to disclose their practices.”
If passed, it’s unclear how the above will affect the US’ ESRB ratings—if at all. We’ve reached out to the ESRB, and will update as and when we hear back.
For further reading, here’s how the loot box controversy shaped gaming in 2017.