Hawaii getting closer to regulate lootboxes? The U.S. Senate picking up the topic? More studios distancing themselves from the monetization method? It’s time for another microtransactions roundup!
Political Pressure Still On
The political pressure on gambling lootboxes remains strong. Hawaii, one of the first states to publicly speak out against lootboxes in the US, introduced bills that target exploitative monetization techniques in video games. These bills would prohibit the sale of any game featuring a lootbox system to anyone younger than 21 years and require publishers to prominently label games containing such randomized purchase systems.
And it’s not only states as the U.S. Senate has started looking into the topic as well. New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan asked the ESRB to review their rating process of games that feature toxic forms of microtransactions. In November the agency prominently refused to classify lootboxes as gambling. So it’s interesting to see whether this opinion holds up against a more formal political request.
More Studios Are Taking a Stand Against Lootboxes
The industry itself in the meantime continues to take a stand as well. The devs of pirate themed “Sea of Thieves” recently ruled out lootboxes for the title that is going to launch in March. CD Project Red, the studio behind Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, welcomes that “gamers are striking back’, and ‘really hopes this will change the industry for the better”. And while League of Legends still has them, Riot Games is at least releasing drop rates.
Oh and by the way, EA might be losing their exclusive Star Wars license because of the Battlefront II disaster.
TERA Doesn’t Get It
Unfortunately not all studios have gotten the memo that doing stupid things with lootboxes isn’t 2018. Free-2-Play title TERA recently introduced a lockbox full of “money”. The included Gold is the game’s main currency for any trades or purchases. It can be compared to Neverwinter selling a lockbox with a random amount of Astral Diamonds.
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