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State Lawmakers Considering Restrictions on Video Game "Loot Boxes"


Video games with pay-to-win prize options may soon have some restrictions in the state.

Lawmakers are considering several bills that would require labels for certain video games and restrict the sale of them to individuals under the age of 21.

House Bill 2686 would prohibit the sale of a video game containing a randomized prize for purchase option to anyone under the age of 21. House Bill 2727 proposes a label be placed on the video game carton warning consumers of the option, and giving the odds of winning certain prizes.

Credit BagoGames / Flickr
Star Wars Battlefront II poster

This comes shortly after video game giant Electronic Arts made a controversial move with the release of one of the most highly anticipated games of 2017 – Star Wars: Battlefront II.

It was more expensive than comparable games, and also had users pay for randomized prizes – called “loot boxes” – in order to play their favorite Star Wars character or unlock special features that give a player an advantage over others. Games with loot boxes can also unlock special avatar uniforms or levels for the gamer.

But paying for the loot box doesn’t guarantee that you get what you pay for.

This type of activity has caught the attention of federal and local lawmakers. Who are now looking at the impacts of these games on younger gamers.

Rep. Chris Lee introduced the measures—aimed at an industry he says produces 30 billion dollars a year in the U.S. alone.

Lee introduced another measure, House Bill 2471, to create a gaming commission within the Office of Consumer Protection to oversee predatory and exploitative practices in digital games.

Bills 2471 and 2727 are being heard today in committee.

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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