US lawmakers have finally banded together to take control over the lootbox epidemic. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), and Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA) have stepped up to pressure key publishers from banning the sale of lootboxes to minors in the US.
In a strongly worded letter to key companies including Blizzard, Epic Games, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Riot the lawyers make their case clear about lootboxes. They wish to extend the UK’s Age Appropriate Design Code to the US. This is all in an attempt to keep the insidious, addictive and worryingly prolific mechanic away from susceptible minds.
The letter states,
“It is imperative that Congress acts with urgency to enact a strong privacy law for children and teens in the 21st century. As we work towards that goal, we urge you to extend to American children and teens any privacy enhancements that you implement to comply with the AADC.”
The Congress members further elaborate that loot boxes are “encouraging purchase before a child knows what the “bundle” contains–akin to gambling.”
The US look to UK for ready made solution to lootboxes
But what exactly are they looking to bring in from UK law? Simply, the UK’s AADC rule protects children from harmful practices on child-friendly games. It also keeps children away from predatory policies on social media platforms with stricter privacy settings. Currently, this rule doesn’t extend to the United States of course, each having its own, discrete legal system. But that’s not to say it’s not a good idea, and that it can’t be appended into US law.
The senators also cite that the ESRB rating board doesn’t do enough to keep this kind of content away from children. They go on to say that companies, such as EA and Riot should create stricter regulations aligning to UK’s code and push them in the US as well.
It’s a positive move from the US courts, and one we hope to see go all the way though and into law. But do you think this goes far enough? Current legislation in the US only protect children up to the age of 12. In the UK, is 18, a good 6 years older than in North America. Its no secret that loot boxes are evil personified, and that this hasn’t already been tackled in one of the world’s most developed countries is a sad fact to face into. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
“Video games are great. I should know, I’ve played some.”
Olly S, July 2020