Hawaii Introduces 4 Bills to Combat Loot Boxes

Hawaii Introduces 4 Bills to Combat Loot Boxes

And half of them are problematic

pocru by pocru on Feb 13, 2018 @ 07:52 AM (Staff Bios)
Some people have called 2017 the year of the loot box, but I think they lack imagination or foresight if they don't see Loot Boxes being a big issue in 2018 as well. Not only have more and more games come to rely on them, but legislation, which government agencies had been mulling over just a few months ago, are starting to develop into fully-fleshed out ideas. In Hawaii, where the whole legal controversy started in the US, four new bills are being introduced that would tackle the loot box epidemic head-on.

And I'm not going to say they all look good.

House Bill 2727 and Senate Bill 3025 look to be pretty harmless; if those bills were to pass, publishers selling games in Hawaii would have to label each game that has loot boxes in it, so people clearly know they'll be present and also make their probability drop rates public. I could get behind something like that, and China, as a matter of fact, has a similar system. More transparency is always good.

...House Bill 2686 and Senate Bill 3024, though, are a different ball of wax. Those would make it illegal to sell games that have electronic gambling systems (such as loot boxes) to people under the age of 21. Back in the past, that would have been a death blow to any prospective games. These days, digital distribution could get around it, but it would still make a lot of games basically un-sellable in Hawaii. Which might be a step too far in the wrong direction.

Hawaii state legislator Chris Lee said this:

"I grew up playing games my whole life. I've watched first-hand the evolution of the industry from one that seeks to create new things to one that's begun to exploit people, especially children, to maximize profit."

None of the bills have passed yet, and we have no idea how popular it is. Still, it'll be hitting the floor soon, which means well have to be paying close attention to see how it develops.


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