Happy Thursday everyone! I know this bit of news has been all over the interwebs, but I figured I’d give my 2 Cents on it.
In case you haven’t heard, U.S. Senator, Josh Hawley (R-MO) announced a bill yesterday that would essentially put a ban on “loot boxes” and pay-to-win micro-transactions for “games played by minors”. This is kind of a broad spectrum seeing how minors play most video games that are released.
The bill is called “The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act”. Kind of rolls off the tongue doesn’t it? But, Hawley specifically mentioned games like Candy Crush with its $150 “Ludicrous Bundle” IAP (in-app purchase). In a press release, Hawley said, “When a game is designed for kids, game developers shouldn’t be allowed to monetize addiction. And when kids play games designed for adults, they should be walled off from compulsive microtransactions. Game developers who knowingly exploit children should face legal consequences.”
Now, it’s been a long-running debate whether loot crates are considered “gambling” or not. For me, I kind of agree with loot crates being a form of gambling. It’s no different than pumping cash into a real slot machine, hoping for a payout. You hear about kids practically ruining parent’s bank accounts trying to get skins or whatever. Now, I know a lot falls on the parents. I’m definitely not one of those “will somebody think of the children??” people. I have two young kids myself and unfortunately I’ve had to have “the talk” with them already. No, not the “sex talk”. The “micro-transactions talk”. It’s sad because I’ve been passionate about gaming all my life. I never would have expected to have a talk with my kids about in-app/game purchases.
Now, I’m usually pretty neutral with games. I play both paid and F2P games. But, I will say that the whole F2P phenomenon has drastically changed the video game industry for the worst in most parts. Now, I’m completely fine with games being ad supported with an IAP to get rid of ads. Hell, I’m even fine with cosmetic micro-transactions in paid games! I understand that in today’s market, developers are expected to keep producing content in order to stay relevant. So, they’ve gotta find different ways to make money for their work. It’s the greedy developers/publishers that will milk a game for everything they can. You see some of these smaller games at the top of the charts every year making literally BILLIONS of dollars off of random loot crates and currency micro-transactions.
We have been converted from players, to “customers”. Games have been converted to “live services”. It’s all about retention and learning the gamer’s spending patterns. Using our emotions against us. Games are being made to talk you into spending more money. “Aww. You lost that round? You’ll win next round if you buy this!” Now, do I think that this new bill will pass? I honestly don’t think so. But, I feel that we’re definitely heading in the right direction. There needs to be some sort of regulation before things get even more out of hand than it already is.
@hashtagNOEN (keeping it stiff)