The Environment and Communications References Committee has opened public submissions for their inquiry into loot boxes in video games.
The inquiry, which will deliver its report by September 17th, states on the Parliament of Australia website that they’ll be looking into whether or not loot boxes are harmful.
The extent to which gaming micro-transactions for chance-based items, sometimes referred to as ‘loot boxes’, may be harmful, with particular reference to:
1. 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
2. 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.
The motion that started the inquiry was submitted on June 28th by Green Senator Jordon Steele-John and was approved by the Senate with support from the government and opposition.
In a press release, the Senator stated he was concerned about the potential effects of loot boxes, especially on children.
“I have significant concerns about the adequacy of current consumer protection and regulatory frameworks for monetised game mechanics, particularly when we know they are accessible to children. An incredible number of popular big name titles incorporate these kinds of monetised game mechanics, not as a way of improving in-game experience, but as a way of simply prying more money off of their players.
We know game developers hate them, we know players hate them because they have a negative impact on the game experience, and we know that they urgently need regulation.The impact of gambling on people’s lives is such that we cannot afford to stay silent on this issue, and it is fantastic both the government and the opposition are supporting the Greens on this issue.”
For those who want to make a submission, there is a great guide on how to make a a proper submission on the Parliament of Australia website found here.
Once you’ve finished your submission you can submit it via their website, email it or post it to the following postal address.
Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications
PO Box 6100
Canberra ACT 2600
Submissions close on July 27th, which is just under three weeks from the publication of his article.