Jump to content
Innocentmask

U.S legislator proposes bill to ban games with manipulative mechanics towards minors

Recommended Posts

I'd hate to have to say goodbye to Heroes and Pokemon GO, but this bill being passed could be for the best. Microtransactions and such are kind of greedy. The only thing is that I'd miss Heroes and GO, as I said. I couldn't hope for new games to replace them, because obviously this won't affect Japan or anything. They can still keep milking Heroes and GO.

Edited by Anacybele

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Anacybele said:

I'd hate to have to say goodbye to Heroes and Pokemon GO, but this bill being passed could be for the best. Microtransactions and such are kind of greedy. The only thing is that I'd miss Heroes and GO, as I said. I couldn't hope for new games to replace them, because obviously this won't affect Japan or anything. They can still keep milking Heroes and GO.

I doubt Heroes would be removed from the West if such a law would pass. The US is too large a market to outright ignore. More likely, we'd see a redesigned business model in which you directly purchase heroes with orbs based on their rarity and recency and choose their asset/flaw.

 

It would be a better Heroes, though I do have to wonder how much of the game's appeal is ironically directly rooted in that unhealthy gambling uncertainty ("ooh, what am I going to get") that makes the game so consumer unfriendly in the first place. I can certainly say from my personal experience that I experience excitement before each roll, and I'm not proud of that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Etheus said:

I doubt Heroes would be removed from the West if such a law would pass. The US is too large a market to outright ignore. More likely, we'd see a redesigned business model in which you directly purchase heroes with orbs based on their rarity and recency and choose their asset/flaw.

 

It would be a better Heroes, though I do have to wonder how much of the game's appeal is ironically directly rooted in that unhealthy gambling uncertainty ("ooh, what am I going to get") that makes the game so consumer unfriendly in the first place. I can certainly say from my personal experience that I experience excitement before each roll, and I'm not proud of that.

Maybe, but the market is still very large in Japan too and it's a Japanese game at the end of the day. They're not going to change their game because another country passed a law that would ban some of what it already has.

Pokemon GO though, you may have a point on because the devs behind that one (Niantic) are based in the US. They'd be much more inclined to change the game, especially since the game's playerbase is probably majorly US people.

Edited by Anacybele

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Anacybele said:

Maybe, but the market is still very large in Japan too and it's a Japanese game at the end of the day. They're not going to change their game because another country passed a law that would ban some of what it already has.

Region specific versions of games with different business models do happen. For example, Overwatch was made to redesign its business model to deal with loot box laws in China. In this case, it was Chinese transparency odds, but Blizzard was so opposed to revealing its shitty odds that it changed the model entirely.

 

A lot of f2p MMOs launch as buy to play in the west as well.

Edited by Etheus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Etheus said:

Region specific versions of games with different business models do happen. For example, Overwatch was made to redesign its business model to deal with loot box laws in China. 

 

A lot of f2p MMOs launch as buy to play in the west as well.

Oh really? I didn't know that. That could work then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Anacybele said:

Oh really? I didn't know that. That could work then.

My post does, however, assume that the "pay to win" part of the bill doesn't pass. I don't see an easy way to take the pay to win out of Heroes. But conversely, I don't see a legal precedent for pay to win bans either.

 

Loot boxes are gambling. Gambling is regulated. Ergo, lootboxes should be regulated. But I'm not seeing an existing legal precedent to ban regular pay to win transactions. Unless such a bill IS the precedent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I honestly would not mind if these microtransactions are banned for minors and that they need permission or something to be able to do it. Minors, in general, shouldn't get crazy in buying these types of things. I'm not a minor, so I can still buy it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Etheus said:

My post does, however, assume that the "pay to win" part of the bill doesn't pass. I don't see an easy way to take the pay to win out of Heroes. But conversely, I don't see a legal precedent for pay to win bans either.

 

Loot boxes are gambling. Gambling is regulated. Ergo, lootboxes should be regulated. But I'm not seeing an existing legal precedent to ban regular pay to win transactions. Unless such a bill IS the precedent.

I see then. I guess we'll have to see what happens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would this only ban lootboxes or all in-game transactions?  Or even just ban lootboxes as the only way to get X, whether it's a unit in FEH or some other thing in another game.

I could see an out being keeping the current gacha, but also selling the unit directly, for a price.  Like $20-$30 dollars for a new unit versus potentially spending $500 and still not getting the unit you want.  I think part of the scummy part of gacha is that being the only way to get things in the game.  They did have the New Years packs, but those were a bit ridiculous at $75 for a unit, if I remember correctly, and they haven't done it since, so I don't know how successful they were there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, Azure in a Roundabout said:

Wait, does this include f2p games like TF2 and stuff? Or are they good, as the money only buys cosmetics?

It's rated M, so in theory it should be fine regardless due to the age restriction; (Same with Warframe)

If we were in an alternate universe where it was rated T though; I am actually not sure... though considering how TF2 already has a way for people to buy exactly what they want,
(Be it through the in game store, or through the Steam's Community Market) they could probably find a way to make enough money to keep going.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

https://www.hawley.senate.gov/sites/default/files/2019-05/2019-05-08_Protecting-Children-Abusive-Games-Act_One-Pager.pdf

https://searchcompliance.techtarget.com/definition/COPPA-Childrens-Online-Privacy-Protection-Act

These links are to the official statements that the Missouri Senator said about the bill. The other link is some guide lines that would be considered to try and protect kids from Loot boxes. 

From the looks of the proposed bill even if the bill gets passed. It would be ignored because it's to hard to tell what constitutes minors are playing these games. At least from what I seen. I might try and get in contact with the senator to see if there is anymore information I can get besides from the bill itself. Wish me luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FEH would probably have to go to a subscription service or essentially die in America if the bill passed, since it wouldn't kill just the gacha system, but micortransactions in general.

I wouldn't mind lootboxes getting killed, since having a random chance as the only way to get something in a game is something that never sat well with me, but I feel as written, this bill is a little too overreaching, pretty much banning microtransactions altogether.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not having read the actual bill, I can't say for certain what its effects would be. However from what I've heard, if it does pass and actually function, I get the feeling that this'll just be one of those laws that takes out (relatively) innocent games and fails to catch the big troublemakers. There are always going to be loopholes around what games can do. And its not like you can put an age gate on a game to "prevent minors from being subverted by our evil gacha mechanic". Popping an age rating on a game or website has never stopped those younger than the cutoff from using it. Banning a particular game mechanic would only be treating a symptom anyway; kids aren't going to suddenly become responsible about using their (or their parent's) money just because you took away one avenue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep.  Aimed at children.

But if the target is children, how would that be enforced?  Lying about one's age is easy enough.

Anyway, this goes into Serious Discussion.  Yes, it's gaming-related, but it's also dealing with laws and government, and I think the latter is more important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, eclipse said:

Yep.  Aimed at children.

But if the target is children, how would that be enforced?  Lying about one's age is easy enough.

Governments are already beginning to introduce technologies that catch up with this old problem. Here in the UK, our lawmakers are currently implementing laws that will require you to verify your age when attempting to access certain 'adult sites'. Big whoop, you might think, except that this verification process requires you to provide a form of official ID (here at least, that means your drivers licence, credit card or passport).

Point is the tech to actually verify your age on the web (instead of just asking you to tick a box) is coming, and if it can be applied to those sites, there's no good reason why it can't be applied to games too.

Side note: I don't know about you, but I'm extremely uncomfortable about providing that sort of personal information to a government database, whether it's for a game or for anything else. And as with the recent GDPR rulings, this is something that will likely need to be repeated for each new site/game you visit. As if we don't have enough of those pop-up notifications already.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Spikkle said:

Governments are already beginning to introduce technologies that catch up with this old problem. Here in the UK, our lawmakers are currently implementing laws that will require you to verify your age when attempting to access certain 'adult sites'. Big whoop, you might think, except that this verification process requires you to provide a form of official ID (here at least, that means your drivers licence, credit card or passport).

Point is the tech to actually verify your age on the web (instead of just asking you to tick a box) is coming, and if it can be applied to those sites, there's no good reason why it can't be applied to games too.

Side note: I don't know about you, but I'm extremely uncomfortable about providing that sort of personal information to a government database, whether it's for a game or for anything else. And as with the recent GDPR rulings, this is something that will likely need to be repeated for each new site/game you visit. As if we don't have enough of those pop-up notifications already.

Yeah, that's where it gets tricky.  Besides, a careless parent can provide the ID, then leave the game for the children.  All that means is that a private company now have a name to attach to a game.  While I think there should be some measures regarding loot box control (realistic mercy pulls being mandatory. . .early KHUX mercy pulls are an example of a bad implementation of it), giving up privacy is NOT the answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who is this for? The same parents who let their children throw at money at games unsupervised and develop addictions to this are the same parents who are just gonna log in to the game for the kids and let them play yet again unsupervised. Nothing is gonna get solved.

Also, I’m confused. Is this simply targeting mobile games and DLC or is this targeting any game that features gambling in any capacity?

I mean would stuff like Pokemon’s game corner, or Yo-Kai Watch’s crank-a-kai, or Tales of Symphonia’s casino, prevent the games from being sold in the US without alterations, or an M rating, or whatever it is they intend to do, despite not requiring irl money and being relatively harmless hit by this or would they be ok? Because this makes it sound like any instances of gambling or other luck based games would be affected too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Shrimperor said:

Also, a M rating will make Parents think twice before they get the stuff to their Kids.

My immediate response is this due to the fact that there are stereotypical squeakers playing M-rated shooters, both paid (ie. Call of Duty) and F2P (ie. TF2):

7 hours ago, Azure in a Roundabout said:

Wait, does this include f2p games like TF2 and stuff? Or are they good, as the money only buys cosmetics?

It'd likely affect TF2 crates, yes, as the rarity of the items can potentially manipulate children into paying to open them up, even if the items are overall cosmetic or are just literal reskins of weapons that could already be obtained via random drops. Heck, the Tour of Duty tickets could also be seen as lootboxes in the sense that in most cases, you'd likely be paying to get one to have a chance of rolling a Botkiller/Australium quality weapon. They'd also possibly have to rework the Jungle Inferno contract system as it's locked behind a paywall and its rewards include crates... which are locked behind yet another paywall.

@NegativeExponents- The bill appears to be targeting lootcrates and P2W business strategies, so gacha games and lootcrates that require real money that isn't used for purchasing the game itself.

Edited by Roflolxp54

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Armagon said:

Belgium banned lootboxes already, so it's not like this U.S bill is doing something that's unheard of.

That's probably because none of the companies that do this garbage are native to Belgium. If they were, things would look very different. I'm also not sure, but I think Belgium might be more of a socially oriented government (not socialistic! There is a BIG difference!), while Germany, the US, and many other western countries have gone all in on sucking some corporate juniors.
Also, EA raised a huge stink over this, saying stuff like "Belgium misinterpreted their own laws" (what kind of reasoning is that even supposed to be?). Though I am sure that the big corps other than EA don't actually mind much, since Belgium is a comparatively small market for them.

As usual, Germany remains silent on the whole topic. The most we got out of them was a "we're looking at it" (which is politic and corporate speak for "we know it's there, but we ain't gonna do shit about anything and we don't actually care, either, because it's not going to make us that sweet, sweet cash"). I wouldn't have expected anything less from this country, considering who is in charge right now...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Armchair General said:

So, does this mean that we have to show ID in order to actually use these things?

Because I'm kind of paranoid when it comes to ID theft.

The funniest thing is that even if these ID checks were implemented, for anyone with even a passing interest in computers and the internet (read: virtually anyone under the age of 35), it's extremely likely that such checks would be circumventable, and even if you're not doing that there will inevitably be services that slip under the radar and offer FORBIDDEN CONTENT like MTX while wilfully not complying with the legislation. That's just how the internet is; swat one down bad site and a dozen more spring up the next day.

There's actually serious and I would say valid concerns that, by driving under-18s to these less legitimate services, the law actually puts them more at risk of viewing extreme content, or getting malware and other nasties.

Edited by Spikkle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, DragonFlames said:

Also, EA raised a huge stink over this, saying stuff like "Belgium misinterpreted their own laws" (what kind of reasoning is that even supposed to be?). Though I am sure that the big corps other than EA don't actually mind much, since Belgium is a comparatively small market for them.

It is worth pointing out that Belgium actually launched a criminal investigation against EA when they refused to remove their lootboxes. EA did eventually remove lootboxes from their games (specifically, the removed the ones that you had to spend real money for) because they realized that Belgium wasn't fucking around when they said no lootboxes.

Basically, this sort of law can work. As you said, Belgium is a rather small market and has different policies but if the U.S does end up passing it's own version, then EA might actually change it's practices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Armagon said:

It is worth pointing out that Belgium actually launched a criminal investigation against EA when they refused to remove their lootboxes. EA did eventually remove lootboxes from their games (specifically, the removed the ones that you had to spend real money for) because they realized that Belgium wasn't fucking around when they said no lootboxes.

Basically, this sort of law can work. As you said, Belgium is a rather small market and has different policies but if the U.S does end up passing it's own version, then EA might actually change it's practices.

I have zero faith in EA - chances are, they'll find some loophole and go back to their awful practices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...