Star Wars Battlefront II has been a disaster in PR. The publicity that the game generated went as far as foreign governments and politicians. Belgium, for example, took to the stage and launched an investigation of the Loot Box system in both Star Wars Battlefront II as well as in Overwatch.
As Belgian Minister of Justice put it:
Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child.
Even in Hawaii, a state representative also claimed that a loot system is just a form of gambling, who are tempted to spend money. It is not the first, and will not be the last time that government officials legislated gaming. Politicians have been trying to get games banned since Jack Thompson argued that video games caused violence back in the early 90’s. In fact, just two years ago, Turkey wanted Minecraft forbidden for its abuse. Minecraft, the blocky textured survival game, banned for violence.
So knowing all this, it begs the question: Should politicians be involved in gaming at all?
Well, I guess it depends on your point of view as well as the instances involved.
Games are finding more and more ways to siphon every last penny from you. Microtransactions have become the bane of the gaming world, and many people will spend thousands upon thousands of dollars, just on a game that was otherwise considered “free.” A lot of this was marketed to children, who would have unrestricted access to their parents’ credit cards, and as a result, hiked up tons of money that were otherwise unauthorized.
So finding ways to get games to play fairly and treat their customers right is one thing. However, politicians regulating this part of the gaming market can open the door for politicians to govern gaming as a whole. The politicians as an instance would be bad for gamers, as well as the games industry as a whole.
Also, they can provide an unfair advantage for some game developers over others. For instance, a more significant game developer would be able to have funds to bribe and lobby politicians to look the other way when it comes to unfair and illegal gaming practices. Smaller companies would not be able to afford this fare. In fact, it could become a thing for larger companies to pay politicians to “snuff out” the competition, which would make the gaming market too narrow.
The best thing to do would be to show some self-restraint, and not commend to microtransactions. Microtransaction is a monster of our making, and it is about time that we did something to stop it. Relying on the government to end otherwise harmful practices and blood-sucking microtransaction practices will not help anyone in the end, and can even give undue power to groups of people who probably have never played a single game in their entire lives.
The most significant voice in the movement should be the gamers and what they want. It should be on us to vote with our wallet and to protest unethical practices by not engaging in them. Boycott companies like EA until they change their policy. However, based on how gamers flock to a new title and spend hundreds of dollars without thinking, it will not happen anytime soon.