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Australian Senate passes motion to investigate Loot Boxes

Australian Senate passes motion to investigate Loot Boxes

Following a motion proposed by Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John, the federal government will refer an inquiry into “use of loot boxes in video games, whether they constitute gambling, and whether they are appropriate for younger audiences” to the Environment and Communications References Committee.

The motion was supported by the entirety of the senate, meaning there is no need for debate or a vote in the senate.

Following Senator Steele-John’s motion, Senator McGrath, on behalf of the federal government stated they, “agree that loot boxes in video games that are worthy of closer examination”. He added taht Communications Minister Mitch Fifield had “recently discussed this issue with a number of colleagues”.

In a media release from the Greens, which can be read in full below, Senator Steele-John said, “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.”

Adding, “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.”

 

Here is the Green’s full release.

The Senate has supported an Australian Greens motion calling for an urgent investigation into the use of ‘loot boxes’ in video games.

The Senate will tomorrow consider a motion for the issue of ‘loot boxes’ to be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for investigation.

Australian Greens Video Games spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John said he had been calling for the government to take action on loot boxes since he first joined the Senate and was glad they had finally come on board.

“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,” Senator Steele-John said.

“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.”

A paper published last week in ‘Nature: Human Behaviour’ journal entitled ‘Video game loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling’ found loot boxes in video games appear to meet both the psychological and legal definitions of gambling.

 

 

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