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The industry of video game is a complex business enterprise as well as a medium of art. However, in 2019, with the complexity of the industry, it has crossed paths with politics in wide-ranging ranging and serious ways. Regardless of the best initiatives and efforts of some video game fans and enthusiast as well as publishers to dissociate the medium from the complicated and distressing political societal disagreements, 2019 has shown that you cannot separate or disconnect both. Video games and politics are entangled and would most likely remain that way.
The Dispute on Loot Boxes
Following the earlier eruption of controversy regarding loot boxes in 2018, the effect has carried on in 2019. US Sen. Josh Hawley introduced a bill entitled Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act to altogether ban micro-transactions via loot boxes as well as “pay-to-win”. The bill was criticized by the Entertainment Software Association and said it was “riddled with inaccuracies.” Moreover, they also mentioned that numerous provisions show how there is a lack of understanding of how the industry of video games actually works. The bill has continued to be static since it was introduced in May 2019.
In the meantime, the video game industry was being scrutinized by other sources in the government of the United States. In reply to Sen. Maggie Hassan’s letter of concern, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have announced a public workshop regarding loot boxes to delve into the issue. The event happened in August and presented panelists who discussed about the model on monetization, psychological impact, as well as steps and actions to further deal with the issue.
The industry of gaming itself made the major news since all three manufacturers of consoles as well as several primary publishers pledged to new notices in disclosure in any video games that involve loot boxes. Majority of the industry has then volunteered to give disclosure about the randomized virtual items’ rarity rates, as well as set a cutoff date by the end of 2020 for the policy rollout.
With lawmakers in numerous nations also considering to take action, publishers began to prevent legal solutions with their voluntary action wherein several have removed loot boxes from their models of monetization.