MEMBERS STATEMENT – ONLINE GAMING REGULATION

 

Mr FREGON (Mount Waverley) (09:45): I rise to highlight a little-known aspect of gaming—computer gaming, that is. Loot boxes, as they are called, are a collection of virtual items which may or may not assist with gameplay for players. Some games like FIFA, for example, offer loot boxes which will directly have effects on your gaming ability in online play with your peers. Other games like, say, Overwatch have loot boxes which offer cosmetic advantages. Either way this increases your standing as a gamer among your peers. My concern with loot boxes is the random nature of rewards and the ability of children at any age now to basically spin the wheel by paying real-world dollars. In my opinion this is effectively gambling.

 

Loot boxes offer a gamer random rewards or rewards that are of differing values. In most games you can purchase them over and over again if you have the money. I believe that we should be raising awareness with parents about the potential activities of their kids. Over a dozen industrialised countries around the world are hastily investigating regulating loot boxes, but so far this country is not. The Netherlands and Belgium have banned them entirely because of their gambling-like design. Here in Australia the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee of the commonwealth Parliament as recently as 2018 conducted an inquiry into the extent to which gaming and microtransactions for chance-based items may be harmful, but at this stage they are relying on classifications. These games are still G-rated. In only the last few weeks FIFA have introduced self-regulation. It is not enough.