- Washington lawmakers change two bills about video game gambling, directly impacting the ‘loot box’ trend.
- Some free to play games may not be “illegal gambling games”.
- This decision could anger gamers looking to have loot boxes removed from all games.
Washington lawmakers have put forward changes to two gaming gambling bills. House Bill 2720 and Senate Bill 6568, which have bipartisan support, have been changed to protect game developers and publishers which do business in the state.
In the House Bill, the lawmakers wrote that class-action lawsuits brought against game developers accused of illegal gambling “pose a substantial financial risk for video game development in this state.”
This could prompt these developers to move out of the state which would:
[R]emove thousands of jobs from the state and a currently incalculable, but materially significant, amount of tax dollars.
The change to the bill dictates – only games that allow players to take out money or property from the game will be affected.
The loot boxes and microtransactions in most games are only for entertainment and don’t have any real value. Overwatch, developed by the controversial Blizzard Entertainment, sells loot boxes with skins and emotes in them. Rocket League’s loot boxes, which were removed from the game, also offered new ways to change the look of cars. These don’t have any value and so wouldn’t be affected by the bills.
This decision is likely to anger gamers who don’t want any loot boxes in their games and feel that the gameplay is akin to gambling. However, other countries have looked at loot box bans and don’t feel the same as Washington lawmakers.
The UK and other states are potentially looking at a loot box ban and countries such as Belgium have banned them. Washington may not be doing that, but if several regions ban them, developers will be forced to stop including them in games.