Chris Lee, the Democratic State Representative for Hawaii, held a press conference announcing that Hawaii will be looking into creating legislation that will ban games that encourage the addictive gambling behaviors found with loot boxes. The video above contains some highlights from the press conference, including comments from Lee, state legislator Sean Quinlan, a mother concerned for the safety and well being of her children, and a gamer who is upset by these kinds of practices.
While the aim is targeting all loot boxes and anything that could be construed as using real money to gamble for a prize in a game, this stems for EA’s Star Wars Battlefront 2, a game that has been surrounded by controversy recently as a full priced game filled with mechanics that reward players who want to gamble with real money on the loot box system. The comments made by Lee and the others compare these types of games to the character of Joe Camel, who used to be a cartoon mascot for cigarettes that was clearly aiming to capture the younger crowd before the campaign ended in 1997 due to legal pressures.
This comes on the heels of the Belgian government declaring that games with loot boxes will be categorized as gambling moving forward. While many of these concerns were initially voiced by the gaming community, it grabbed the attention of the wider media. Concerned parents are worried that a Star Wars game ostensibly marketed towards a lot of children–in addition to us Star Wars loving adults–is promoting addictive behaviors and creating a drive for children to use money they do not have to make in-game purchases. This practice has been common for quite a while among mobile games that rely on in-game purchases to be financially successful, and in some console titles as cosmetic-only items such as character costumes. Star Wars Battlefront II had a system where money can buy advantages, and crossing that line is what drove gamers to bring this issue to the wider attention of the public.
As more countries and states get involved in investigating these kinds of practices in games, it’s certain there will be some kind of changes across the gaming landscape soon. Just what those changes end up being remains to be seen, but we’ll keep you updated as the story progresses.
[Via: Game Informer]