U.S. senator Josh Hawley has announced the outline for a bill that could apply new consumer protections to video games played by minors. Specifically, it targets games played by those younger than eighteen years of age and aims to prohibit several forms of abusive monetization practices, such as loot boxes and pay-to-win elements. The goal is to have the Federal Trade Commission enforce the bill's proposed rules by treating the distribution of any offending games as unfair trade practices.
Last month, we heard rumors that Google was planning to relax its ban on real-money gambling apps in the Play Store, but after reaching out to Google we didn't get a response either way. With an update to its developer policy page, Google has now confirmed that some of these apps are going to be allowed on the Play Store in the UK, Ireland, and France.
Google's recent foray into Maps-based monster catching has proven that even full-grown Android users love them some Pokemon. Maybe that's why storied publisher SEGA has decided to make its own entry in the monster-catching genre. But why, oh why, is the core mechanic in Dragon Coins based around those little quasi-gambling quarter-shooter arcade games?
Try to follow along here: in Dragon Coins, your party of anime-style monsters is represented by little drawers in a shelf. Tap on the shelf to drop coins at strategic spots, where a moving wall will push them all forward into the drawers. When one of your monsters gets enough coins it attacks the enemy, another monster hanging out at the top of the screen.
Everyone knows that adding a bit of money to a game makes it more interesting. Ubiquitous developer Glu Mobile is putting a lot of faith in that idea, and they plan to roll out a real-world gambling system to their games very soon, starting with Deer Hunter Reloaded. Glu will be using the Skillz platform, allowing players to bet small amounts of real money on the outcome of skill-based games, usually in some kind of tournament or winner-take-all round.
Note the term "skill-based" - that's very important to how this all works. Gambling is an incredibly complex legal issue in the United States, but 37 states allow at least some form of skill-based gambling; that is, the determination of the winner is not primarily based on chance, like roulette.
There are times when it pays to be an Android user, literally. Poker enthusiast website PokerTwitch received word that Full Tilt's Rush Poker will soon be coming to some lucky Froyo-running Android phones. This appears to be the first genuine real-money poker game for Android and trumps the offerings in Apple's strict App store whose policies do not permit gambling for real currency. There are online solutions available but none so convenient as a native application. Rush Poker is a new style of online play from Full Tilt and seems well-suited to the pick-up-and-play style of mobile gaming.
Select Black Card members of Full Tilt's poker site are receiving e-mails inviting them to participate in Rush Poker Mobile's beta launch if their device is one of the following:
Acer Liquid Stream S110
HTC Droid Incredible
HTC Evo 4G
HTC Google Nexus One
HTC Desire HD
Motorola Droid 2
Motorola Droid Pro / Droid 2 World Edition
Motorola Droid X
Poker has never been a hobby of mine, but the ability to have a quick go with my phone anywhere I am may just be the impetus I need to give this a shot.