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Hawaiian Legislators Call EA Loot Boxes a 'Predatory Practice'

Suzie Ford Updated: Posted:
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Two Hawaiian legislators are initiating an investigation designed to limit loot boxes as a 'predatory practice'. Democratic State Representatives Sean Quinlan and Chris Lee conducted a press conference earlier this week in which 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.

Lee further goes on to explain that loot boxes encourage those who are "not psychologically and emotionally mature enough to gamble". He and Quinlan 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.

You can check out the video below (thanks, Coolit!) or check out the attendant Reddit thread about the press event.

This news comes, of course, on the heels of Belgium's decision that loot boxes constitute gambling. It will be seeking legislative action from other EU nations.


Suzie Ford

Suzie is the former Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. Follow her on Twitter @MMORPGMom