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Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act

Ars Technica has details on the Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act, a bill being put forth by U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to regulate loot boxes, microtransactions, and other ways to monetize games targeted at children. They note that this still has a long way to go before being signed into law (here's a refresher on that aspect of this) and also have a reaction from the ESA, who unsurprisingly, are not enthusiastic. The Senator's office has distributed this one-pager to outline how this proposes to regulate games targeting minors or that knowingly allow minors to engage in microtransactions:

In such games, this bill would prohibit several forms of manipulative design:

Loot Boxes

  • Microtransactions offering randomized or partially randomized rewards to players

Pay-to-Win

  • Manipulation of a game’s progression system – typically by building artificial difficulty or other barriers into game progression – to induce players to spend money on microtransactions to advance through content supposedly available to them at no additional cost
  • Pay-to-win - Manipulation of the competitive balance between players of multiplayer games by allowing players who purchase microtransactions competitive advantages over other players

Enforcement

  • These rules would be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, which would treat the distribution of such games by publishers and online distributors as an unfair trade practice.
  • State attorneys general would also be empowered to file suit to defend the residents of their states.

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30 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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30. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 10, 2019, 07:25 MrBone
 
Always entertaining to read the comment echo-chamber in here. I wish I had just a penny for each “straw man” reference.  
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29. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 9, 2019, 14:13 jdreyer
 
Riahderymnmaddog wrote on May 9, 2019, 12:00:
Just fucking dumb! What’s next? Maybe we can ban trading cards, or card-based games like Magic the gathering. How about them LOLZ
Due to their low volume sales and niche appeal, they've flown under the radar. Might be time to look at them as well.
 
Avatar 22024
 
The land in Minecraft is flat, Minecraft simulates the Earth, ergo the Earth is flat.
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28. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 9, 2019, 14:11 jdreyer
 
Simon Says wrote on May 9, 2019, 08:59:
jdreyer wrote on May 8, 2019, 20:23:
Introduced by a Republican? Wha...?

* Googles rep *

Ah, young naive guy still full of optimism and logic. His elders will soon disabuse him of these notions, and explain how such laws restrict corporate "freedom" and profits. This bill will soon be withdrawn.

Indeed, they'll probably just need to point, say "SJW", laugh and bam, bill will disappear.

I was quite surprised no one mentioned this label in the comments yet btw. I was expecting the usual Rep/Right cultists to shout it at the 1st opportunity.

And yes, I agree with others here, this shouldn't be framed as somethihng about kids, but as a general psychological manipulation issue. But if we go down that road, we'll have to talk about "real" gambling too... Decisions, decisions...
Well, real gambling is heavily regulated and restricted to NV and AC in the US (excepting Indian reservations and lotteries). Still, we could do worse than banning gambling altogether.

Ninja'd by Prez. He Prez, fix your quote tag.
 
Avatar 22024
 
The land in Minecraft is flat, Minecraft simulates the Earth, ergo the Earth is flat.
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27. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 9, 2019, 14:06 jdreyer
 
Red886 wrote on May 9, 2019, 06:35:
Dev wrote on May 8, 2019, 21:28:
jdreyer wrote on May 8, 2019, 20:16:
I agree sports card have a similar mechanic. Difference is that they aren't a $134B industry, so have flown under the radar.
No, but start throwing in all the collectibles, like magic cards, pokeman cards, and other CCGs, and all those things at gamestop where you buy a figurine and you get a random one inside, etc etc, and it starts adding up.

physical card games can still be played with proxies while still maintaining the same game rules, strategies and the such . Same cannot be said of the video game analogous. I am all for regulation of the video game counterparts.

You know things are bad when even Red supports government regulation.
 
Avatar 22024
 
The land in Minecraft is flat, Minecraft simulates the Earth, ergo the Earth is flat.
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26. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 9, 2019, 12:00 Riahderymnmaddog
 
Just fucking dumb! What’s next? Maybe we can ban trading cards, or card-based games like Magic the gathering. How about them LOLZ  
Avatar 15164
 
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25. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 9, 2019, 09:44 Prez
 
Simon Says wrote on May 9, 2019, 08:59:
jdreyer wrote on May 8, 2019, 20:23:
Introduced by a Republican? Wha...?

* Googles rep *


...And yes, I agree with others here, this shouldn't be framed as somethihng about kids, but as a general psychological manipulation issue. But if we go down that road, we'll have to talk about "real" gambling too... Decisions, decisions...

"Real" gambling is already regulated. The onus was and still is on the game industry to show some restraint and self-regulate the gambling mechanics they put in their games. Thus far they have utterly failed to do so. There's still time though; with the tables slanted so far in the favor of corporate entities in our government and justice system, it is likely this bill will fail. But it still serves notice to game publishers that their shenanigans have not gone unnoticed by governing bodies here in the US.
 
Avatar 17185
 
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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24. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 9, 2019, 09:34 mxmissile
 
the gaming industry dug its own hole with this one... "you reap what you sow"  
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23. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 9, 2019, 08:59 Simon Says
 
jdreyer wrote on May 8, 2019, 20:23:
Introduced by a Republican? Wha...?

* Googles rep *

Ah, young naive guy still full of optimism and logic. His elders will soon disabuse him of these notions, and explain how such laws restrict corporate "freedom" and profits. This bill will soon be withdrawn.

Indeed, they'll probably just need to point, say "SJW", laugh and bam, bill will disappear.

I was quite surprised no one mentioned this label in the comments yet btw. I was expecting the usual Rep/Right cultists to shout it at the 1st opportunity.

And yes, I agree with others here, this shouldn't be framed as somethihng about kids, but as a general psychological manipulation issue. But if we go down that road, we'll have to talk about "real" gambling too... Decisions, decisions...
 
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22. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 9, 2019, 06:49 Numinar
 
saluk wrote on May 9, 2019, 01:50:
The consequences of something like this being on the books would be worse than the sin of gacha games.

Not saying it would be good, but I'd take the incompetence and self serving corruption of career politicians over the inhuman nightmare that is regulatory capture by inhuman corporations, the analogue version of Terminator's Skynet. Institutions which have more power than most world governments, certainly larger reach, and absolutely no interest in human well being have no place in writing legislation, and yet here we are.

Yes, pollies often finds themselves at the service of corporations. Yet there are brief moments, as those under Roosevelts, where some individual through bravery, stupidity or opportunism actually does something useful and stands up and defies their moneied benefactors.
 
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21. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 9, 2019, 06:35 Red886
 
Dev wrote on May 8, 2019, 21:28:
jdreyer wrote on May 8, 2019, 20:16:
I agree sports card have a similar mechanic. Difference is that they aren't a $134B industry, so have flown under the radar.
No, but start throwing in all the collectibles, like magic cards, pokeman cards, and other CCGs, and all those things at gamestop where you buy a figurine and you get a random one inside, etc etc, and it starts adding up.

physical card games can still be played with proxies while still maintaining the same game rules, strategies and the such . Same cannot be said of the video game analogous. I am all for regulation of the video game counterparts.
 
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20. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 9, 2019, 04:30 Numinar
 
Dev wrote on May 8, 2019, 21:28:
jdreyer wrote on May 8, 2019, 20:16:
I agree sports card have a similar mechanic. Difference is that they aren't a $134B industry, so have flown under the radar.
No, but start throwing in all the collectibles, like magic cards, pokeman cards, and other CCGs, and all those things at gamestop where you buy a figurine and you get a random one inside, etc etc, and it starts adding up.

Yeah this is a very difficult thing to regulate, and regulation might make it worse, as where there are loopholes, the execs will have the cover of being 'legal' whilst using some of the nastiest manipulative technology imaginable to extract money out of people.

But anything has to be better than the anything goes approach we have now. Pubs had their chance and plenty of time to regulate themselves as with the ESRB and agree on a best practices framework, but the money in using gambling technology/psychology on kids and everyone else was too lucrative. Consumer behavior has helped in places (BF1 and BFV were negligibly aggressive on MT after the Battlefront games took all the heat for their bullshit for instance) but it's obviously not enough.

MT me all day. I've got you paradox! (for at least some of it) and Payday 2 (Now and then, when it's good and on special) But the second you fuck with good, fun, progression design to incentivise it than go to prison forever you dumb greedy fuckface and if we need authoritarian Republicon laws to do it than so be it.

Yes, this makes me a hypocrite and there are a million other issues more important but if this is what it takes, I'm all for it.

It's probably not worth another 4 years of Trump, which is definitely happening due to useless corporate Dem stooges, but it will be some comfort.
 
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19. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 9, 2019, 01:50 saluk
 
The consequences of something like this being on the books would be worse than the sin of gacha games.  
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18. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 9, 2019, 01:19 Slush54
 
NKD wrote on May 8, 2019, 20:21:
In theory I support this kind of regulation. Consumers and parents are at a distinct disadvantage against corporations with unlimited funds doing what is essentially an exploit of a bug in human psychology. All to make a profit.

The problem is your government hasn't ever worked for you.. most citizens are under too much state school and corporate propaganda to know what their political interests are.

If you vote for any of the demopublicans you have no idea how politics works as a member of the working population. Your interests are not aligned.
 
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17. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 8, 2019, 22:28 Acleacius
 
The biggest problem is there are SO many untrustworthy hacks working in Congress and Senate. They will try to add riders to restrict all games beyond gambling and/or make it so undesirable to never reach a majority for passage. Not to mention they actually found a bigger idiot to run the country, than dick and bush. Flamethrower  
Avatar 1858
 
Trust me, most of the names I have been called you can't translate in any language...they're not even real words as much as a succession of violent images.
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16. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 8, 2019, 21:47 Creston
 
Oh the gaming industry gon' be so MAD at EA...  
Avatar 15604
 
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15. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 8, 2019, 21:32 Mr. Tact
 
jdreyer wrote on May 8, 2019, 20:25:
LOL @ video. Laugh2
Don't laugh too hard, probably the best education on legislation that most US citizens of that generation ever got.

Schoolhouse Rock, ROCKS!
 
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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14. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 8, 2019, 21:28 Dev
 
jdreyer wrote on May 8, 2019, 20:16:
I agree sports card have a similar mechanic. Difference is that they aren't a $134B industry, so have flown under the radar.
No, but start throwing in all the collectibles, like magic cards, pokeman cards, and other CCGs, and all those things at gamestop where you buy a figurine and you get a random one inside, etc etc, and it starts adding up.
 
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13. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 8, 2019, 20:45 Burrito of Peace
 
Angrius Maximis wrote on May 8, 2019, 20:03:
I would've thought all the liberals that post here would relish the govt. stepping in once more and telling them how to protect their kids and what to do in lieu of common sense. That is your thing right?

I don't know what anyone else's "thing" is, but my "thing" is shoving my booted foot way up the ass of morons who paint in broad brushes while using straw man arguments and thinly veiled pejoratives. It is my hope, although sometimes in vain, that in doing so, I will cure those types of people of recto-cranial inversion syndrome.
 
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12. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 8, 2019, 20:36 RedEye9
 

I am relishing the thought that a conservative member of parliament has been forced into action to protect something other than an unborn fetus.
Normally once they're born a gop'er wants nothing to do with little people.

This sounds too good to be true, hope I'm wrong.

 
Avatar 58135
 
“If the government is covering up knowledge of aliens, they are doing a better job of it than they do at anything else.”
- Stephen Hawking
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11. Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 8, 2019, 20:35 UttiniDaKilrJawa
 
Thank god someone is finally making sure these damn loot boxes can’t kill any more innocent children.  
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30 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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