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Ted Cruz's Gaming Playstyle Is Raising Eyebrows

Whether people realize it or not, even politicians are partaking in the world of online gaming. Some politicians, such as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have even used gaming as a platform to reach out to voters and connect with the public. But not all politicians play games for the same reason, or in the same way. And not every gaming politician is somebody people would picture as a gamer.

For example, it's hard to find someone who would peg Texas Senator Ted Cruz as a gamer, as he has famously blamed video games for mass shootings (per The Hill). So when popular Twitch streamer Asmongold recently reached out to the Senator regarding the regulation of loot boxes in games, many were surprised to learn that Cruz himself is a gamer. Of course, video game loot boxes and microtransactions have become something of a hot topic in recent times thanks to games like "Diablo Immortal," with some countries even banning the practice altogether. But what may surprise gamers even more is Cruz's recent description of how he plays video games, and how he apparently feels about microtransactions.

He's not afraid to pull out his wallet

On June 17, a new episode of Senator Ted Cruz's video podcast "Verdict with Ted Cruz" was released. In addition to the usual political commentary, co-host Michael Knowles asked the Senator about Asmongold reaching out to him. Cruz stated he was more than willing to discuss the loot box issue with the Twitch streamer. The Senator also seemed to agree with Asmongold's stance on pay-to-win games, stating, "I don't like when you can buy in-game items and make your character stronger or gain advantages."

But immediately after showing contempt towards the practice of buying in-game items with real money, Cruz said, "Now, I'll confess when I play some games, I'll sometimes buy [upgrades], because it is more fun." He continued, "Suddenly, your character has a lot of great stuff that would take you six months to a year to build up," Cruz said. Many social media users were quick to criticize Cruz's playstyle, with some calling it "on brand" and others making jokes about Cruz's economic policies. However, Cruz also clarified that the conversation surrounding loot boxes is a different matter when children are involved and said he was open to hearing arguments against the practice.

Titles such as "Diablo Immortal" have recently showcased the exorbitant amount of money a AAA pay-to-win game can make (via Forbes), and it won't be the last. With many gamers already drawing comparisons loot boxes and gambling (via BBC), it will be interesting to see if other politicians discuss the controversial topic.