The U.S. Senate is coming after ‘loot boxes’

TechCrunch | 5/23/2019 | Staff
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Gamers feel passionately about loot boxes, turns out some elected officials do too.

A new Senate bill was formally introduced today with bipartisan support and it could categorically shift how today’s top platforms and distribution platforms monetize the titles they sell. The bill’s introduction was first reported by The Verge.

Bill - Transactions - Users - Advantage - Fee

The bill asserts that “pay-to-win” transactions that give users a nominal advantage for a fee or loot boxes which allow users to essentially play a slot machine for gaining rare or important items, are bad for minors and need to be banned. If the bill passes, offending studios could be fined.

It’s hard to reiterate what a major impact this legislation could have, the games industry has reorganized itself around micro-transactions in the past decade. Much of the growth of the industry’s greatest success stories has been tied to the idea that free-to-download games can quickly nurture massive growth with network effects and then gradually monetize those users via small payments for items that can give them a unique look or edge.

Transactions - Means - Loot - Boxes - Models

This obviously wouldn’t fully sink in-game transactions by any means, but loot boxes have been one of the most lucrative models and by placing a ceiling on acceptable behavior for these transactions, game companies might have to find new ways to monetize their content.

The death of loot boxes probably isn’t going to be mourned by many outside of game publishers’ accounting departments. There was something kind of fun about them for adults that knew exactly what they were doing, but it was still mostly in an infuriating way.

Missouri - Republican - Senator - Josh - Hawley

Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley, who introduced the bill, told Kotaku earlier this week that loot boxes were “basically adding casinos to children’s...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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