While words and recommendations can certainly be considered equal to vapor, the fact that Australia’s parliament appears poised to make moves against lockbox monetization is certainly an important development in the ongoing story of lootbox regulation.
A recent report from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs is recommending that the Australian parliament introduce lootbox regulation and mandatory age checks for purchasing lootboxes, with new standards for online age verification developed by the country’s Digital Transformation Agency and the Australian Cyber Security Centre. The committee is also suggesting that video games containing microtransactions like lockboxes, skins, and other cosmetic items should carry warning labels.
It’s important to note that these are simply recommended steps on what Australia’s government should do, and Labor members of the Committee pointed out that any work on restricting access to lootboxes and other such monetization schemes should be done in partnership with the gaming industry.
Currently, lockboxes do not fall under the purview of Australia’s 2001 Interactive Gambling Act, but the report points to concerns raised by the community about lootboxes as a gateway to gambling and cites a number of recent studies and recommendations from other countries like the UK. This latest report also mirrors concerns raised in 2018, though the government did not support further review of lootboxes in March 2019.