The findings are to be ready to present by the 17th of September.
The Australian Senate has passed a motion from Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John, to have an inquiry into whether lootboxes “constitute a form of gambling, and whether they are appropriate for younger audiences.” The motion quoted a statement from an article in Nature Human Behaviour, by psychologists James Sauer and Aaron Drummond, from the University of Tasmania and Massey University respectively, that lootboxes “meet the structural and psychological criteria for gambling.”
The motion was supported by senate, with no vote or debate, and is having the inquiry carried out by the Environment and Communications References Committee. According to Kotaku, the motion notes that the finished report will be ready for the Senate by the 17th of September. The motion also states that the report will look into:
“(a) whether the purchase of chance-based items, combined with the ability to monetise these items on third-party platforms, constitutes a form of gambling, and;
(b) the adequacy of the current consumer protection and regulatory framework for in-game micro transactions for chance-based items, including international comparisons, age requirements and disclosure of odds.”
In a press release, the Senator said that he has been pushing the government to look into this after various reactions to loot boxes by gamers over the last year.
Lootboxes have been an increasingly prominent topic in the gaming industry, with many games including Overwatch, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Call Of Duty WWII having them purchasable. In particular, Star Wars Battlefront 2 exploded with controversy upon release over how it handled character progression through lootboxes purchasable with real currency.
Countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium have banned such lootboxes from appearing in their games, with Belgium placing pressure on the EU to ban loot boxes in all EU countries.
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