Australian gamers might have to provide proof of age before they open up any loot boxes in Video Games if the government decides to restrict them as recommended by the House of Representatives.

Recommendations from the House

The Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs issued a report full of recommendations. Game Spot reports they focus 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. This includes the use of "mandatory age verification." Besides gaming, the report also recommends the same for adult entertainment.

The objective is to safeguard underaged consumers from the dangers of online gambling and adult films. The latter is addressed in the majority of the report as it constitutes a threat to underaged consumers on a "massive scale."

Australia isn't alone

The Australian House of Representatives' push to regulate loot boxes in video games across the country is part of an ongoing trend sweeping across the globe. The Belgium Gaming Commission ruled that the sale of loot boxes is a criminal act given their unsuspecting "game of chance" design and has since banned their use in the country. So far, they are joined by the likes of the Netherlands in their ruling.

In the US, several lawmakers have attacked the game industry over the use of loot boxes, citing gambling mechanics as a major threat to unsuspecting youths throughout the country.

US Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) even issued a bill that would ban them in video games outright. The move has been since lambasted by several groups within the game industry.

The FTC has also launched a probe into loot boxes over possible gambling addiction especially in youths exposed to these video games.

Lighting a fuse

Undoubtedly, this response from Belgium, the US, the Netherlands and now Australia over loot boxes can be traced back to 2017 with one company and it's game: Electronic Arts and "Star Wars: Battlefront II." The mishandling of microtransactions in the EA title sparked controversy among the gaming community that eventually caught the attention of governments and lawmakers around the world.

"Star Wars: Battlefront II" became notorious for issuing loot boxes containing in-game items that deliberately augmented a player's capabilities in competitive multiplayer. This tipped the scales and made for an unbalanced gaming experience that favored those players with deep pockets. Eventually, EA and the developer DICE were forced to temporarily remove the micro-transactions from the game and rework them to restore the overall balance. Unfortunately, lawmakers were alerted by the dubious nature of these micro-transactions and sought to penalize EA and other companies for their reliance on them.