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Australian government joins the onslaught against loot boxes

Published: 10:35, 18 September 2018
Updated: 10:12, 27 September 2018
Overwatch - The Golden Loot Box

Australian Parliamentary Committee has published the results of an investigation that the country started in June 2018 regarding loot boxes in gaming and possible implications of gambling disorder abuse, along with regulation suggestions.

According to the investigation undertaken by the Environment and Communications References Committee, important links between loot box spending and a gambling problem have been found.

A large scale study was undertaken, with 7.422 people involved, which resulted in the conclusion that "the more severe gamers' gambling problem was, the more likely they were to spend large amounts of money on loot boxes".

Furthermore, the study showed that loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling, so the next time EA tries to shove non-arguments down your throat by because they don't offer cash outs, you can throw these results (dead link) right back at them.

The study also found that the aforementioned results "suggest that there is a serious risk for loot boxes to cause gambling-related harm". This was further elaborated, stating that loot boxes act as a gateway to gambling problem amongst gamers and provide game companies with an unregulated way of exploiting gambling disorders amongst their customers.

It is pretty clear and well backed by facts in the study that loot boxes should in fact be classified as gambling, which makes Blizzard and 2K Games' addresses to Belgian players even shadier as one company that found themselves surprised by Belgian government's decision while the other straight up to call their government and ask to revert the decision.

While Belgian prohibition put a full stop on loot box peddling, Australian government is suggesting milder measures, such as mandatory parental advisory for games with loot boxes as well as descriptors that indicate the presence of in-game gambling content. 

AltChar Loot box from Overwatch on the Belgian flag Belgium, Loot Box

Another suggestion was to restrict the games with loot boxes to players of legal gambling age so while it wouldn't be a full stop, it would still impede at least some of the predatory practices in games such as Overwatch, NBA 2K and FIFA series as well pretty much everything that EA plans to throw at gamers in the future.

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