New Hampshire senator Maggie Hassan has picked up the lootbox and gaming addiction cause

    
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Up until now, the political grumblings about video game gambleboxes has been mostly limited to state governments, specifically Hawaii’s Chris Lee, who submitted four regulatory bills this week, and Washington state’s Kevin Ranker, whose January provisional bill would require an investigation of whether the mechanic constitutes gambling under state laws.

But they’re getting a higher-ranking ally today. As Rolling Stone reports, New Hampshire Senator – that’s the US senate, not the state senate – Maggie Hassan has apparently joined the fray. She sits on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and used a recent committee hearing to ask FTC nominees their opinion on gaming addiction and lockboxes. (All four apparently said the issue is something they will address.)

Hassan also penned a letter to the ESRB asking it to “review the completeness of the board’s ratings process and policies as they relate to loot boxes, and to take into account the potential harm these types of micro-transactions may have on children.”

“I also urge the board to examine whether the design and marketing approach to loot boxes in games geared toward children is being conducted in an ethical and transparent way that adequately protects the developing minds of young children from predatory practices.

“Further, I urge the ESRB to consider working with the relevant stakeholders – including parents – to collect and publish data on how developers are using loot boxes, how widespread their use is, and how much money players spend on them.

“Finally, I ask that you develop best practices for developers, such as ethical design, tools for parents to disable these mechanisms, or making them less essential to core gameplay.”

The best part is that Rolling Stone includes an explainer piece on just what DLC, lootboxes, and microtransactions are for the non-gamers reading the publication. This is real life.

Source: Rolling Stone via GIbiz
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k2apa
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k2apa

“Limited to state governments”

I guess the author of this didn’t count in Europe countries?

More than 25% of Europe is taking a stand against Lootboxes now. (not just a few states, but entire countries)

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Robert Mann

In before this becomes more about gaming addiction, the government does things we don’t want, and all that happens with the lockbox crud is it is regulated so they get their share… because that’s how our government tends to work. :(

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PurpleCopper

This reminds me of those damn ticket/prize arcade games.

Those games are legitimately rigged so only a small percentage of players can get the big ticket items.

And yet those things are still legal.

I’m looking at you Dave & Busters.

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Ket Viliano

None of this government rule making is going to lead to video games being more fun.

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Gadgets-4G

I really hope they clean this up. It’s a simple thing. If you want to sell a thing sell a thing. If you can not put a price on it then you are in the wrong business. IMHO, this is a shady business practice and I see people coming out of the woodwork to support it. Why? Unless you’re an actual developer it leaves your game incomplete without further purchase.

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rafael12104

Lol! Bingo, baby! Yes!!

What did I say yesterday as I praised Chris Lee? You are damn right others will pick up the cause. Opportunism or altruism? It doesn’t matter. It’s politics. So, here we go. “For the children!” Lol!

Oh, there is a long way to go here. A long, long way. Because now that a Senator is involved you bet your ass the gaming industry will use their influence to ensure there is an opposing view in the Senate. Hey, it’s not illegal. It is how Pacs work. How lobbyist earn their keep.

But, don’t discount what is going on now, and the momentum that this is gaining here. All we need now is for a few mid term hopefuls to bang the “lock boxes are shit” drum and suddenly the snowball will get large enough for AAAs to consider self regulation.

So wake up all you naysayers! Yeah we know, this Snowball will be slow but it has teeth. And it is getting bigger by the day. Sign me up as a Snowball Warrior!

http://www.tshirtvortex.net/wp-content/uploads/asnowballschance.jpg

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Paragon Lost

Hehe. I love that snowball meme! I am one of the naysayers I admit. I just don’t see them getting anything done with any real teeth to it. Our congress is pretty dysfunctional these days, unfortunately. Would I like to see it go through? You betcha, I just have very little faith that it will happen.

Damn that meme amuses me. :)

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Armsbend

This is great but I think right now a bigger cause is people in the United States constantly killing each other.

I think I might be over the lootbox debate until little kids stop getting slayed when they are supposed to be sleeping during Chemistry – safe and sound as it should be.

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Arktouros

“Think of the children!”
“Which children? The ones getting gunned down in schools? The ones part of the opiod epidemic? The ones who end up going to bed hungry each night? Oh…you mean the ones who spend too much money on a video game…riiiight…”

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rafael12104

But wait, what about world peace? Shouldn’t we start there? Lol!

“The children” are impacted by a great many things and you want to solve those issues in serial? Riiight…..

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Armsbend

The children getting shot up. That is an issue with a solution. A dirty one but a solution none-the-less.

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A Dad Supreme

I just can’t get over the whole “Help! We can’t control ourselves and stop buying these things, so we want you to make laws to force the company to stop offering them to us!” mentality

I hate to quote Nancy but “Just Say No” here?

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McGuffn

Lets focus on the issues that are solvable like lockboxes, not the pie in the sky “no mass murders” stuff we don’t have the willpower or dedication to do.

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rafael12104

It is depressing to say the least. And yes, you lose a little faith each time such a tragedy occurs because, for fuck’s sake, they don’t stop.

BUT we have to capability to do more than one thing at once. We are wired that way. And so, we must and we will.

There are priorities, sure. Ensuring horrors like the in Florida do not’ happen again is on the top of the list. And… I don’t want to get into it here, but sheezus, we know, WE KNOW! what has to be done to prevent those tragedies.

And yet, at the same time, we must function, our government must continue to function, and address the lesser things.

Because the little wins are worth it, and they show us what we can do IF we just try and use a little common sense.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

The NRA gave $21 million to Trump’s campaign. $3.3 million to Rubio’s campaign. 42% of the world’s civilian owned guns belong to Americans, who are 4.4% of the world’s population. Australia, our nearest kissing cousin, banned guns and has 1.4 gun murders per million population. America has 29.7.

Just the facts.

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Robert Mann

Our nearest gun cousins, though, tend to have very low murder rates with guns. The primary difference being cultural around things like respect, mental health, and other issues. In fact, a couple of them are LOWER that Australia.

Just another set of facts.

*I agree with some measures for control, but I don’t expect gun removal to solve anything (violence just uses other tools, and bomb use is a primary concern after that.) I believe that without changing how we treat other people, what we view as cool, and so on… that it is pretty much a zero sum game.*

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MrNastyButler

Would like to see the development of an ethical lootbox come out of all this mess. Though, expecting ethical from corporations is like expecting lead to turn into gold. Very, very unlikely with out a magic somewhere.

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A Dad Supreme

Honestly the only thing that really changes business in the US are not laws, they will always find a way to skirt around that.

History proves that the only way to get a company’s attention to changing anything is the monetary bottom line, and that doesn’t mean fines.

When MLK and the Civil Rights movement wanted to stop the buses from discrimination, they told everyone to just stop riding the buses. After a long stand, the company changed the policy because they simply lost too much money.

More people are buying these boxes but won’t admit to it, not just whales. That’s the big lie.

Say it a hundred times, just stop buying ALL the boxes and cash shop items whatsoever, even the funny hats to bring real pressure. But someone always needs to fill out their cute corgie selection so that will never happen.

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traja

Yeah it will never happen. There is a reason why these things are bringing in ridiculous amounts of money. There is something fundamental about random reward mechanics and humans. It is even observed in other animals.

You say that it’s not just the whales, which is true, but it is mostly the whales. That is how all microtransaction models have worked since they were conceived. It makes it even more difficult for any boycott campaign to succeed. The whales have either a lot of money or little sense and neither of those translates well to taking part in such an effort.

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A Dad Supreme

There is something fundamental about random reward mechanics and humans. It is even observed in other animals.

I pretty much said that, lol. People can’t control themselves so they want a government agency to do it for them. Make it a law so I can’t do that, or buy that, or stop that. Gun and drug laws are a prime example.

I think lockboxes and this issue is like when people polled who voted for Trump.

Everyone said “I didn’t” or “Not me” and then the polls said he will lose. We know what happened; people said one thing and did another. It’s the same with these lockboxes.

Lots of posters here and probably staff say “I don’t buy those”, “I never have bought those” or “I won’t buy those” but fast forward to game time and after enough weeks/months pass by and they put a “2 for 1 deal” on keys, boom keys purchased.

TLDR: People can’t control themselves, so they want someone else to control them instead which in some cases, is justified.

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traja

I think you are greatly oversimplifying this. It is never just one thing and whenever you think it is you are almost guaranteed to be wrong.

Yes I am sure some really can’t help but buy them and would like the feature removed. But others just want their games to be better and loot boxes are the opposite of that. For example I have never in my life bought a single loot box with money. I still want them gone.

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McGuffn

Sometimes when you open a lootbox you get an in game item, other times a penny is put into a trust fund for you. Or maybe the company will send you a seedling to plant or give you an in game message about the sustainable killing of in game monsters.

Theryl
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Theryl

This is a pretty clear shot across the ESRB’s bow. The unspoken message is “get your act together or we’ll pass legislation you won’t like.”

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A Dad Supreme

Considering the “shot” carries the weight of a BB pellet, not really that impressive.

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Arktouros

I believe we already know the ESRB’s response.

But hey, at least they went to the FCC. I mean clearly the FCC has the public’s best interest at heart and certainly wouldn’t do something like remove or not care about consumer protections from corporations…LOOOOOOOOL

What country these people living in?

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A Dad Supreme

What country these people living in?

It’s the US, it’s just that they are from Suburbia.

Reality is quite different there where they pass out the “Everyone’s a winner!” trophies.

There “everything is possible” lol.

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Robert Mann

Ignorance is rampant. People believe the lies of both parties, over and over again, despite all evidence to the contrary… so this is minor at best.