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GOP senator proposes banning "pay to win" in some video games

In this image, someone holds a phone that displays the Candy Crush home page in front of a TV screen that also displays Candy Crush.
Hawley cited Candy Crush as an example of "pay to win" games. Photo: Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) will propose banning "pay to win" features in some video games, as well as certain in-game "loot boxes," in upcoming legislation first announced on Wednesday.

The bottom line: These bans would be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general. It would target games for children under 18 and games with a wide user base but "whose developers knowingly allow minor players to engage in microtransactions," per Hawley's press release.

Details: The FTC would treat the distribution of games with "pay to win" features and "loot boxes" as an "unfair trade practice," Hawley's office said.

  • Hawley said game developers "shouldn't be able to monetize addiction" in children and highlighted the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act as a baseline guide for the bill.

Go deeper: How loot boxes hooked gamers and left regulators spinning