Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Hawaii's Loot Box Bills One Step Closer to Reality

State lawmakers in Hawaii have unanimously voted on Tuesday to push forward 3 bills that would regulate video games that contain loot boxes or microtransactions. As we reported just shy of a month ago, that 4 bills were in the process of being introduced, with State Representative Chris Lee at the helm. The concern was that publishers were pushing "predatory" practices onto consumers, disguising loot boxes as a way to gamble. The 4th bill was killed a few weeks ago after one of the House resolutions, that was similar to Lee's original bill, succeeded.

Here are the details:

Senate Bill 3024 would prohibit the sales of video games that use monitization or loot boxes to anyone under the age of 21. Monitization in the sense that you use real world money to buy item or currency to then use on a loot box/random reward.

Senate Bill 3025 would require publishers to publish warning labels that their games have random monetized rewards, disclose probability rates, and these warnings need to be applied to physical as well as digital copies of each game.

House Bill 2727 is an extension of Senate Bill 3025. It has been passed in the House and will go before the Senate. Depending on the language used, it will either move forward and SB 3025 will be killed, or vice-versa.

If these bills are finalized and passed at the last stage, the rules would go in effect in 2050 (I know, that's a really long way away), but it would be a start in trying to get the industry to better regulate loot boxes. The start date can change before the laws go into effect. It's customary to put an extended end-date to ensure conversation takes place from all parties involved.

What do you think of these bills?

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