Two Hawaiian legislators have initiated investigations designed to limit loot boxes as a ‘predatory practice’. Democratic State Representatives Sean Quinlan and Chris Lee conducted a press conference earlier this week. They specifically called out Star Wars: Battlefront II as “a Star Wars themed online casino designed to lure kids into spending money. It’s a trap.” Lee said echoing Star Wars’ Admiral Ackbar. They will be presenting legislation in Hawaii to stop access or sale of games containing loot box mechanics to underage children to protect families “as well as prohibiting different kinds of mechanisms in those games”.
These kinds of lootboxes and microtransactions are explicitly designed to prey upon and exploit human psychology in the same way casino games are so designed. This is especially true for young adults who child psychologists and other experts explain are particularly vulnerable. These exploitive mechanisms and the deceptive marketing promoting them have no place in games being marketed to minors, and perhaps no place in games at all.
As this is a state-only legislative move, it remains to be seen if other states will attempt to enact similar laws, or if it will be carried to the national level.
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