An Australian politician has proposed a bill that would stop loot boxes appearing in video games aimed at children.
As reported by The Daily Telegraph – and spotted by Kotaku – Australian member of parliament Andrew Wilkie is expected to introduce the Classification Amendment (Loot Boxes) Bill in mid-August. It will make it so that any games featuring loot boxes would automatically receive an R18+ age rating, in addition to a further advisory message warning about the business model being present in the game.
“We as a country accept that people over the age of 18 can gamble but let’s make that for adults and giving parents a warning,” he said.
He continued: “It’s not clear if that’s what game companies design but it’s self-evident that they have that effect. To allow very young children to pay cash for a randomised event that may or may not reward them that would meet any definition of gambling.”
The loot box debate has been raging for years in the games industry, but the launch of Star Wars Battlefront II at the end of 2017 was the fuel that caused the fire to roar. Since governments and gambling bodies around the world have been wrestling with the issue.
Of course, games companies have increasingly moved away from loot boxes as a way of monetising their products in favour of battle pass systems. Some big titles – including EA's FIFA franchise – still uses the model.