Loot Boxes will only be available to adults, if Australia’s bill passes

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Following the example of the governments of other countries like Belgium and the NetherlandsAn Australian politician has introduced a bill that, if passed into law, would massively limit the use of loot boxes in video games aimed at children.

Federalist politician Andrew Wilkie, an independent, introduced the bill to parliament yesterday. He suggested those loot box mechanics—where players use real money to buy random in-game items—bait gambling-like urges, and they can serve as avenues for children to attractive. He suggests that any game with a loot box (or similar systems) should not only be restricted to people over 18 (the legal gambling age in Australia) but should also carry a warning label stating reason for rating.

While Australia has a reputation for being extremely heavy-handed with its video game classification — mostly because an old system that broke decades ago was overhauled (but there are still some drug-related bottlenecks in the pipeline) —I think this is a person without wisdom?

I have a nine-year-old son who plays a lot of games, and how pervasive these are inside platforms like Roblox To be scary. Then consider the popularity of sports games like FIFA and NBA2K, both feature an extensive focus on what gambling is all aboutand you can see this is a prescribed (and psychological!) time bomb that just keeps working.

This is Full outline of invoicein some cases will not only restrict the sale of these games, but in some cases you can outright ban them (“RC” means Classification Rejected and games with no rating cannot be legally sold here):

The loot box is an interactive game feature that contains undisclosed items that can be purchased for real money. They can take the form of virtual boxes, crates, prize wheels or similar mechanisms and contain prizes or items that may or may not benefit the player. For example, a loot box might contain a specific character, additional playtime, or access to game levels and maps. Since the rewards contained in these loot boxes can provide a competitive advantage in the game, they provide significant value to the player and can hold resale value.

By tempting potential players to win game-changing items, incentivizing risk taking for possible rewards, distributing random prizes on an intermittent basis, and incentivizing players Play continues to spend money, loot boxes create many of the same emotions and experiences associated with slot machines and traditional gambling activities. This is especially worrisome because many games with these features are popular with teenagers and young adults. Even so, loot boxes are not currently required to be considered in classification decisions nor are games required to advertise when they have this feature.

This measure corrects this by requiring the Classification Board to consider loot boxes when classifying games. In addition, the Board must set a minimum rating of R18+ or RC for games with this feature, which will restrict children from purchasing and playing these games.

The modifications also require displaying warnings when the game contains loot boxes or similar features so that parents and guardians can easily identify them.


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