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


  • 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


  • 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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Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act
May 9, 2019, 04:30
Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 9, 2019, 04:30
May 9, 2019, 04:30
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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