Australian Senate Inquiry Into Loot Boxes Will Report By September 17

Following notice of a motion submitted by the Australian Greens yesterday, the Australian Senate has supported a move to have the Environment and Communications References Committee investigate the use of loot boxes in video games.

The committee enquiry will be chaired by Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John, who gave notice of the motion yesterday. That motion noted that a paper in Nature Human Behaviour, which Kotaku reported on last week, warned that the use of loot boxes in some video games “meet the structural and psychological criteria for gambling”.

[referenced url=”” thumb=”×231.jpg” title=”Psychologists Argue Loot Boxes In Some Games Are ‘Akin To Gambling’” excerpt=”A comment paper published in Nature Human Behaviour argues that loot boxes in some video games, including Call of Duty. Infinite Warfare, FIFA 18, Halo Wars 2 and For Honor, can “meet the structural and psychological criteria for gambling”.”]

The motion, which was supplied to Kotaku, notes that the committee will report back by September 17 this year. It also outlines two particular points of concern:

The extent to which gaming micro-transactions for chance-based items, sometimes referred to as ‘loot boxes’, may be harmful, with particular reference to:

(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.

The Federal Government and the Labor opposition had already announced their support for the motion yesterday, with a government senator remarking that Communications Minister Mitch Fifield had already mentioned loot boxes “with a number of colleagues”.

This story is developing…

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