The Australian Greens have called for the Senate to urgently investigate the use of ‘loot boxes’ in video games. Even stranger, the Senate has supported this.
These loot boxes are nothing new in video games and are certainly not limited to the games like Fortnite, although that’s likely to be the scape-goat. As you work your way through games, you unlock new items within the game. This can happen organically, or you can pull out your credit card and pay to access these items early.
This decision decision should be one for you, not the Government and game designers are well within their rights to structure a game that way. In the example of Fortnite, the freemium model offers the game for free, with paid content, which is largely responsible for the massive success of the title.
The Senate is considering a motion today, for the issue of ‘loot boxes’ to be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for investigation.
Australian Greens Video Games spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John said he had been calling for the government to take action on loot boxes since he first joined the Senate and was glad they had finally come on board.
Senator Steele-John said,
“I have significant concerns about the adequacy of current consumer protection and regulatory frameworks for monetised game mechanics, particularly when we know they are accessible to children.
An incredible number of popular big name titles incorporate these kinds of monetised game mechanics, not as a way of improving in-game experience, but as a way of simply prying more money off of their players.
We know game developers hate them, we know players hate them because they have a negative impact on the game experience, and we know that they urgently need regulation.
The impact of gambling on people’s lives is such that we cannot afford to stay silent on this issue, and it is fantastic both the government and the opposition are supporting the Greens on this issue.”
The ridiculous claim continues with the Greens promoting a pay-walled paper published last week entitled ‘Video game loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling’.
For me this departs so far from the political ambitions of the Greens, its crazy. Video games fall under a long standing rating system. If that game contains violence, language, gambling etc, the standards board rates a game accordingly.
If a game features in-app or in-game purchases, like that of loot boxes, then there’s two possible outcomes. Either the gamer has their own credit card in which they can make their own decision about how they spend their money, or if they’re a minor, without a credit card, a parent would have to approve the purchase(s).
So where’s the problem you ask, in short, there isn’t one and to waste our Senate’s time, is a complete waste. The Greens should be working on finding innovative ways to reduce the cost of batteries, which would enable the almost 2 million premises with solar, to store their own power, reduce the amount the draw from the grid, which lowers power bills and reduces the cost of living.