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, 09:44
Re: Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act May 9, 2019, 09:44
May 9, 2019, 09:44
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.
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