The Star Wars: Battlefront 2 debacle from late 2017 is still going strong to this day, insofar that Australia has weighed in on the situation today from its June 28th, 2018, report that looks at the extent to which gaming micro-transactions for chance-based items — known as loot-boxes — could be potentially harmful.
Looking back at the aph.gov.au portal it is said that the Senate referred the following matter to the Environment and Communications References Committee that the extent to which loot-boxes may be harmful in that:
“The purchase of chance-based items, combined with the ability to monetise these items on third-party platforms, constitutes a form of gambling.”
“The adequacy of the current consumer protection and regulatory framework for in-game micro transactions for chance-based items, including international comparisons, age requirements and disclosure of odds.”
Well, now that September 17th, 2018 is here website lexology.com posted up segments of the study regarding loot-boxes.
The website notes that the large-scale study (known as n=7,422) found important links between loot-box spending and gambling problems. The more severe gamers’ gambling problem happens to be, the more likely “they were to spend large amounts of money on loot boxes.”
In addition to the above, the Australian Parliamentary Committee sees these results “strongly support claims” that loot-boxes are “psychologically akin to gambling.”
According to the website, the following was mentioned in the report:
“These results also suggest that there is a serious risk for loot boxes to cause gambling-related harm. More specifically, they suggest that either:
– Loot boxes act as a gateway to problem gambling amongst gamers.
– Loot boxes provide games companies with an unregulated way of exploiting gambling disorders amongst their customers.”
Given the above-outlined relationship between loot-boxes and gambling problems, the committee concluded that:
“Games containing loot boxes carry parental advisories.
Games containing loot boxes carry descriptors that indicate the presence of in-game gambling content.
Serious consideration is given to restricting games that contain loot-boxes to players of legal gambling age.”
Breaking down the three points, we know that when the ESRB put labels on games like Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker it does nothing really. This also doubles over for the “games containing loot boxes carry descriptors that indicate the presence of in-game gambling content.” However, the “serious consideration” regarding restrictions on games that “contain loot boxes to players of legal gambling age” might cause a shake-up since folks who are not of legal age to gamble can’t purchase said game.
Anyway, you can read the full report over on lexology.com.