A new law being proposed in Australia could see loot boxes in video games restricted to adults only. Loot boxes are in-game items that can be purchased with real money or in-game currency, and which contain a randomised selection of virtual items. These items can range from cosmetic upgrades to more powerful in-game weapons or characters, and are often used as a way for game developers to generate additional revenue.
However, there are increasing concerns about the potential negative impacts of loot boxes on players, particularly children and young people, including financial harm and addiction. In response to these concerns, the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Loot Boxes) Bill 2022 has been proposed in Australia, which would establish a new classification system for games that contain loot boxes.
Under the proposed law, games that contain loot boxes would be required to carry a specific warning label and would be restricted to adults only. In addition, the Bill could require game developers to disclose the odds of receiving different items from loot boxes, and to set limits on how many loot boxes a player can purchase in a given period of time. It could also require developers to implement measures to prevent players from spending more than a certain amount of money on loot boxes or to offer alternative ways for players to earn in-game items without relying on loot boxes.
The Bill has not yet been passed into law, but it has generated significant debate and discussion within the gaming industry and among lawmakers. Some argue that it is necessary to protect children from the potential harm of loot boxes, whilst others argue that it could have unintended consequences, such as stifling innovation in the gaming industry or unfairly targeting certain types of games. If passed, Australia would follow the footsteps of European countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands in enforcing stricter regulation in terms of online gambling via mediums such as video games.
For a full reading of the Bill, see here.