Games News

Hawaii legislators propose loot box regulations

Blizzard
The standard loot box in Overwatch
Overwatch - Loot Box

It seems like the anti-loot box bandwagon is seriously gaining traction and now Hawaii has climbed aboard as well. I know that the stereotype of a Hawaiian you immediately thought of most certainly ain't no gamer, but their state representative says he's been playing games his whole life.

There were no loving alohas for loot boxes, with as much as four Senate and House bills proposed, regulating the sales and marketing of games that contain electronic gambling systems. Mind the terminology here, because once you get down to brass tacks, loot boxes are indeed just sugar coated gambling.

Two of those bills pertain to prohibition of sale of any game containing a system "of purchasing a randomized reward to consumers under 21 years of age". This means that if you're 21 and from Hawaii, there will be no alcohol and no Destiny 2, but you could, for instance, go to war.

The other two require publishers to prominently label any games that may feature such systems. Additionally, publishers will have to disclose the exact probability rates for each of the items.

AltCharA lute, a box and a loot box against a blue background Loot + Box = Loot box.

Now this is hardly the first legislative initiative towards addressing what's essentially peddling gambling to kids. Several games have regretted their loot box controversies dearly and we've now got Hawaii joining the likes of Sweden, Germany and others in the ring.

The legislators pointed out that companies employ psychologists to design these predatory payment mechanisms. They also said that many children get hooked on such mechanisms from an early age, which is basically companies ripening kids up for that "long and happily ever after" harvest.

On the other side of the fence, the undeniable ironies of loot boxes having to be regulated worse than guns are there for all to see. After all, we all have a freedom of choice, right? Or, do we? *Twilight Zone music*?