from the It's-always-been-about-the-money. dept.
I've shunned all games that include loot boxes, pay-to-win, etc. for quite some time. It used to be that just meant not playing mobile games or the few MMORPGS (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) that consumed your life. I have recently taken to playing Gwent and Hearthstone some, but I've about given up on Hearthstone. There is some interesting content to be sure, but Hearthstone more so than Gwent seems to be very much pay-to-win. I've spent a grand total of $5 on the starter pack for Gwent, because after 10-20 hours worth of play I found I was having quite a bit of fun. I can actually win games against other people in Gwent. As for Hearthstone — it seems that no matter how I play there was no way I was going to win, because I don't have good enough cards.
With the massive user base of mobile platforms, it's not hard to believe that there's a lot of money rolling around. I just wish that mobile gaming wasn't by and large like playing in a Casino. Except, with mobile gaming, there's no chance of a payout.
Federal Trade Commission chairman Joseph Simons on Tuesday said he would investigate video game loot boxes to ensure that children are being protected and parents are educated on the matter.
Simons testified Tuesday before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security about the commission's work. Following his testimony, a number of senators asked Simons questions on an array of topics.
Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), who brought up the issue of loot boxes in video games earlier this year, asked the FTC to launch the investigation and Simons confirmed he would.
The request comes about nine months after Hassan sent a letter to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board asking for the group to review the ratings process as it relates to loot boxes, examine the marketing of loot boxes to children, and put together best practices for developers around the toxic form of microtransactions. The senator also asked the board to conduct a study that further delves into the reach and impact of loot boxes in games. At the time, she said if they didn't take sufficient action she would ask the FTC to get involved.
"In video games, a loot box (sometimes loot crate or prize crate, among other names) is a consumable virtual item which can be redeemed to receive a randomized selection of further virtual items, ranging from simple customization options for a player's avatar or character, to game-changing equipment such as weapons and armor. A loot box is typically a form of monetization, with players either buying the boxes directly or receiving the boxes during play and later buying "keys" with which to redeem them."
Related: Belgium Moving to Ban "Loot Boxes" Throughout Europe, Hawaii Could Restrict Sale to Minors
Are Loot Boxes in Games a Violation of Gambling Laws?
Video Game Loot Boxes are now Considered Criminal Gambling in Belgium
Mobile Gaming is Dominant in the Marketplace / Blame Loot Boxes
We've already seen the likes of ASUS and Black Shark offering external cooling fans for their gaming smartphones, but the folks over at Nubia reckon it's about time to stuff a fan inside a phone (I mean, what else would you expect from a company that brought back the wearable phone?). Today, the Chinese brand unveiled the Red Magic 3 which not only packs a "liquid cooling" copper heat pipe, but also an internal cooling fan.
This small fan is said to run quietly but can spin up to 14,000 rpm, and it has an IP55 rating plus its own isolated chamber, so you won't have to worry about liquids and dust getting in. It's apparently good for over 30,000 hours of continuous use, though Nubia didn't specify the speed used for the test. Regardless, combining this fan with the heat pipe, the phone's heat transfer performance is apparently five times better than conventional passive cooling methods, thus ensuring a smooth gaming experience for a longer period.
Also at Android Authority.
Related: Mobile Gaming is Dominant in the Marketplace / Blame Loot Boxes
Nubia's Wearable Smartphone is a Preview of our Flexible OLED Future
Xiaomi Announces Smartphones with 10 GB of RAM
Nubia X Smartphone Ditches Front-Facing Camera, Adds Rear Display
a bill that would ban loot boxes and pay-to-win microtransactions in "games played by minors," a broad label that the senator says will include both games designed for kids under 18 and games "whose developers knowingly allow minor players to engage in microtransactions."
The game 'Candy Crush' was cited as an "egregious" example of pay-to-win with things like it's $150 "Luscious Bundle".
"When a game is designed for kids, game developers shouldn't be allowed to monetize addiction," Hawley said in a press release. "And when kids play games designed for adults, they should be walled off from compulsive microtransactions. Game developers who knowingly exploit children should face legal consequences."
Likely any such legislation would have knock-on effects throughout the gaming (and mobile gaming) markets affecting the gaming experience for non-minor players as well.
The Entertainment Software Association responded quickly stating that
"Numerous countries, including Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, determined that loot boxes do not constitute gambling. We look forward to sharing with the senator the tools and information the industry already provides that keeps the control of in-game spending in parents' hands. Parents already have the ability to limit or prohibit in-game purchases with easy to use parental controls."
With an acronym like PCAGA the bill may struggle to gain traction. Maybe we can come up with something better?
Previously: Belgium Moving to Ban "Loot Boxes" Throughout Europe, Hawaii Could Restrict Sale to Minors, Are Loot Boxes in Games a Violation of Gambling Laws?, Video Game Loot Boxes are now Considered Criminal Gambling in Belgium, Mobile Gaming is Dominant in the Marketplace / Blame Loot Boxes, U.S. Federal Trade Commission Will Investigate Video Game "Loot Boxes"