Ted Cruz’s Stance On Regulating Video Game ‘Loot Boxes’ Is Unsurprisingly Exhausting And Hypocritical

In case you were wondering where Senator Ted Cruz stands on video game regulation, his approach is the same as his attitude toward mass shooting incidents at elementary schools in his state: It’s not his problem.

Now look, you’re probably thinking, “Why would anyone care what Ted Cruz has to say about gaming?” Yet really, “Why does anyone care what Ted Cruz has to say about anything?” The reality is that this guy, who fled the country for a Cancun vacation as Texas residents froze during a snowstorm and then blamed his poor choices on his pre-teen daughters, is a sitting United States senator and so, his opinion somehow holds weight.

On a recent episode of his podcast Verdict with Ted Cruz, the Republican congressman was quizzed on his stance regarding loot boxes in video games. Loot boxes are virtual treasure chests that can either hold cool in-game upgrades, like weapons, currency, and skins, or they can be duds. You can earn loot boxes through in-game play, or you can buy them with real money. The issue here, for some, is that the unpredictable nature of what’s inside a loot box makes buying them akin to gambling — they’re that proverbial box of chocolates Tom Hanks always warned us about — and parents don’t want kids gambling while playing video games. Is it an interesting issue? Sure. Is it one a Texas senator should be focusing on instead of addressing desperately needed gun regulation in his state after dozens of children were shot up at an elementary school? Nope.

Still, Ted Cruz has an opinion on all things — some other topics of conversation on his podcast include whether Elon Musk could beat Vladimir Putin in a fight, if “woke Disney wants kids to see lesbian toys smooch,” and “can America survive on windmills and unicorn tears?” (We say yes.) His attitude towards loot boxes is weirdly wishy-washy.

On the one hand, Ted gets annoyed with players who cheat by buying them instead of working hard in the game to earn upgrades. On the other, he doesn’t have six months to spend playing a game in order to earn rewards — he’s got beaches in Mexico to bronze on — so he admits to paying money to purchase them while playing.

“Now I’m something of a gamer,” Cruz confessed while clearing up his stance on video game regulation.”I’m not a gamer like hardcore Twitch streamers and I don’t do the massive multiplayer games. I’ll tell you, I don’t like it when you can buy in-game items and sort of make your character stronger or get advantages. Now I’ll confess when I play some games, I’ll sometimes buy it because it is more fun in some way. Your character has a lot more great stuff that would take you six months or a year to build up.”

So basically, loot boxes are bad unless Cruz wants to buy one, then it’s okay.

“I’m open to hearing arguments on this, but I approach the issue with a pretty strong libertarian bent,” Cruz continued. “I’d like to not see kids exploited and harmed, and so I’d be interested in his views, but at the same time, I’m not sure that the federal government really has a dog in the fight.”

Sounds like the same argument he’s used while fighting against gun control after a group of kids was massacred in his own state, but oddly enough, the loot boxes issue isn’t the weirdest pop culture take Cruz had during the show. He ended his video game musings by referencing one of his favorite genre films, Ready Player One. Apparently, Cruz gives the Steven Spielberg-directed disaster multiple rewatches a year — which should already call his judgment into question — and he thinks the virtual reality-addicted dystopia might be where all this loot box nonsense is heading.

“People amass money in virtual reality and it ends up for many people subsuming the world,” Cruz said while outlining the plot of one of his favorite movies. “There are hard challenges, and we’re not yet to the dystopian world of Ready Player One, but well, we might be on a path towards that.”

Again, this is a sitting United States senator.

(Via Vice)