Republican Senator Josh Hawley, the man behind the latest anti loot box initiative in the U.S., said in a recent interview that game developers who peddle microtransactions to children shouldn't be exempt from the laws that govern casinos.
Speaking to Kotaku's Jason Schreier, Hawley conceded that he himself is not a gamer, nor are his children as they're too young, but insists that "adding casinos to children's games" should not be condoned by anyone, regardless of political orientation.
"We don’t allow actual casinos to exploit children in this way. Why should we allow the gaming industry to do so? These C-suite executives who are driving this trend", he enquired.
Hawley is well aware that there are adults who are exploited in the same manner, but reminded that children are not even equipped to make these decisions in a sensible manner, even if they wanted to.
"I realize that these microtransactions, these particular kinds, compromise the integrity of the game no matter who is subject to them, there's something I think that’s pretty unique to kids and the addiction angle I think is pretty unique to kids as well", he said.
Asked how he thinks this might affect the industry, especially some major companies whose revenues are reliant on loot-boxes, Hawley said he heard they're concerned over the legislation, but that it shows they're getting somewhere.
He stressed that corporate lobbyists are concerned because they know that current practices would never stand up to scrutiny, and that the public will eventually see that too.
"Once parents really understand what's going on here, and once the general public understands how these games are being manipulated, how their integrity is being compromised, how basically these companies have found a way to make whole gobs of money without really being upfront about it, and of course the addictive nature of it, I think they're pretty worried that it's going to result in public backlash, and it should", Hawley noted.
Hawley is confident this would not be a huge problem for the industry. "These are very resourceful people, and I'm sure they can design games that don't rely on gambling directed at children in the center of the game", he added.