Now Australia's Government might be looking into loot boxes

Now Australia's Government might be looking into loot boxes

Australia could be the next country to have a detailed investigation into loot boxes in video games.

That's if politicians take the advice of a recently-published report from the Environment and Communications Reference Committee (ECRC), which says that "many" loot boxes" meet the five established criteria to be classified as gambling and that the Government should investigate this business model.

The ECRC is hasty to point out that 'loot box' is a broad term and nuance is required no matter what comes of the investigation.

This review is recommended to be led by the Department of Communications and the Arts, alongside other government bodies.

"The committee is of the view that the issue of loot boxes in video games is one which would benefit from a formal departmental review," the report said, "led by the Department of Communications and the Arts. Such a review should address concerns around regulator roles and responsibilities, legal definitions, classifications and consumer protection."

It continued: "This review should commission further research into the potential for gambling-related harms to be experienced as a result of interaction with loot boxes; identify any regulatory or policy gaps which may exist in Australia's regulatory frameworks; examine the adequacy of the Classification Scheme as it relates to video games containing loot boxes; consider if existing consumer protection frameworks adequately address issues unique to loot boxes; and ensure that Australia's approach to the issue is consistent with international counterparts."

This follows the FTC in America being urged to look into loot boxes.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.