U.S. State legislators call EA’s game a 'Star Wars-themed online casino' aimed at kids
They are looking to create legislation prohibiting the sale of monetized games to the youth.
Hawaiian state representatives Chris Lee and Sean Quinlan have vowed to take action against EA's monetization of Star Wars: Battlefront in order to protect children.
The public backlash around Star Wars: Battlefront 2's loot crate tied progression system reached such heights that EA decided to temporarily pull the in-game purchase options from the game. EA plans to re-introduce microtransactions into Battlefront 2 once a better method has been found.
According to Hawaiian state representatives, who claim to be working with legislators in other states, EA has created a trap for underage children who are not "psychologically and emotionally mature enough to gamble." Representatives Chris Lee and Sean Quinlan are looking to work in a law that would prohibit games with microtransactions from being sold to underage individuals.
The real issue the representatives took with EA was that the game is "AAA title that's being released by the world's largest gaming studio, and it has the most popular intellectual property in the world attached to it, and it's marketed squarely at children."
Here are some of Lee's statements:
"This game is a Star Wars-themed online casino designed to lure kids into spending money. It's a trap," said Representative Lee. "This is something we need to address to ensure that particularly kids who are underage, who are not psychologically and emotionally mature enough to gamble--which is why gambling is prohibited under [the age of] 21--are protected from being trapped into these cycles which have compelled many folks to spend thousands of dollars in gaming fees online."
"We're looking at legislation this coming year which could prohibit sale of these games to folks who are underage in order to protect these families, as well as prohibiting different kinds of mechanisms in those games," he explained. "We've been talking with several other states as well [and] legislators there are looking at the same thing. I think this is an appropriate time to make sure these issues are addressed before this becomes the norm for every new game."
Wedbush Securities' game analyst, Michael Pachter, came out against the announcement from the Hawaii reps.
"The legislators are morons. 'Gambling' requires a wager to win something of tangible value. If the thing won can't be sold or monetized, it isn't gambling. Period. Morons. Should resign immediately," said Pachter on Twitter.
Battlefront II is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.