You Might Have To Prove Your Age To Buy A Loot Box In Australia Soon
An Australian governmental committee recommended standards that would require customers to verify their age before purchasing loot boxes.
If you're planning to buy video game loot boxes in Australia, you might have to provide an ID soon. In a report prepared by the Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs the body recommends that the government investigate options for age-gating loot boxes and other elements of gaming that could be considered virtual gambling.
"The committee recommends that the Office of the eSafety Commissioner or other relevant government department report to the Australian government on options for restricting access to loot boxes and other simulated gambling elements in computer and video games to adults aged 18 years or over, including through the use of mandatory age verification," a portion of the report reads.
The majority of the report explores the logic and effects of age-gating internet pornography on a massive scale, which recalls the UK's ill-fated attempt to pass a similar national barrier, which finally failed once and for all in October 2019. This isn't the first time that paid loot boxes have proven controversial to lawmakers. In the past, countries like Belgium and the Netherlands have passed regulations preventing the practice, which forced game developers to remove them from their games.
In the US, several legislators have expressed concerns about potential similarities to gambling, with Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) going so far as to introduce a bill that would ban the sale of loot boxes to minors, among other things. That bill has been widely criticized by some in the gaming industry, particularly the ESA.
"This legislation is flawed and riddled with inaccuracies," ESA CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis said in a statement (via USGamer). "It does not reflect how video games work nor how our industry strives to deliver innovative and compelling entertainment experiences to our audiences. The impact of this bill would be far-reaching and ultimately prove harmful to the player experience, not to mention the more than 220,000 Americans employed by the video game industry. We encourage the bill's co-sponsors to work with us to raise awareness about the tools and information in place that keep the control of video game play and in-game spending in parents' hands rather than in the government's."
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