Australia’s Senate has given the green light to a motion submitted by the Australian Greens to investigate loot boxes systems. The notice of the motion was submitted after a study which tested 22 games found that 10 of them could be psychologically classified as gambling. The committee is expected to report back on the study by September 17 this year. Read on.
What are Loot Boxes?
Loot boxes are essentially purchasable items in video games. They can be bought using in-game currencies (gold, keys and coins etc.) or by spending real money directly. At first, loot boxes were popularly known in free mobile games, however, they managed to jump into console titles not long ago. The evolution has since attracted much controversy and criticism on a global scale – with many critics arguing that loot boxes constitute gambling. Australia has joined in the mix with its own probe.
Australia’s Loot Box Study in Detail
On Thursday, Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John gave a notice of the motion of inquiry on loot boxes. The motion noted a warning in a Nature Human Behaviour study, which cautioned that the use of loot boxes “meet the structural and psychological criteria of gambling” in some video games. Two points of concerns were outlined in the motion and are as follows;
- A question as to whether buying chance-based items and monetising these items to third-parties can be considered gambling, and;
- The acceptability of the current protection for customers and the framework for in-game microtransactions for items based on chance. This inclusive of age requirements, disclosure of odds and international comparisons.
The investigation will be conducted by The Environment and Communications References Committee and chaired by Senator Jordon Steele-John with support from the Federal government together with the Labor opposition.
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