US lawmaker that criticized Star Wars 2 Battlefront announces plans for anti-loot box law
Chris Lee, the US lawmaker who last month highlighted the dangers of ‘predatory gaming’ in the way it targets vulnerable people and children in order to make them pay massive amounts of money on addictive microtransactions.
Microtransactions have been part of games for a very long time become really prominent from about 2007-2010 onwards and they are becoming more and more of a problem as video games are becoming ‘smarter’ and now able to target so-called ‘vulnerable’ players that are likely to spend a lot of money on microtransactions. Lee pointed out, “Once the algorithm identifies a player who’s likely to keep spending money to buy that one ‘unicorn thing’ that they’re after … then they lower the odds and then you keep spending more,” he says in the video. “It’s absolutely unethical and unfair.”
And again quoting Lee, “Game developers in the gaming industry are represented by their trade group, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). In 1994 the ESA created the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) to provide video game ratings for consumers,” the letter says. “Unsurprisingly, the ESA and ESRB have taken a position defending the lucrative revenue streams generated by these predatory mechanisms, claiming that predatory loot boxes do not fall under the current definition of gambling.”
Chris Lee is now looking to pass an ‘accountability’ measure similar to that with gambling company and cigarette companies that will have to warn users about the dangers in this case of microtransactions and also take accountability about severe cases involving people below legal age and individuals classed as vulnerable.
In my opinion, Chris Lee can be the man that saves or improves gaming for the better, with the quality of video games deteriorating more and more with developers opting instead to maximise their profits. However, the bill is still yet to be passed and its key to also point out that this is only in the USA meaning until similar laws are passed in other countries around the world many gamers will still be targeted indiscriminately by microtransactions.