Australia Now Adding Advisory Labels For Games That Contain Microtransactions

Lootboxes The Conversation

Australia has issued a new policy that demands every video game sold in the country to receive a specific rating label. Since May 1, all video games that have been sold in Australia were rated for having in-game purchases, which includes microtransactions and loot boxes. The rating is performed by the Classification Board of The Department of Communications and will be displayed on the product and also on related advertisements.

The popular media rating authority The Entertainment Software Board (ESRB) also drew attention to in-game purchases in April. The rating helps the consumer and their families by alerting them of objectionable media and inappropriate content. The rating was added without any announcement or press release, which also tells us about the public opinion on in-game purchases in 2020.

The reason for rating games that contain in-game purchases is very straight-forward. Features like these can easily cause both adults and children to spend thousands of dollars a year on microtransactions without even realizing it. This is because in-game items are bought using the game's own currency, which often times is purchased with real money. This practice obscures how much money an individual spends on an item. This is especially dangerous for people who have addictive tendencies.

The gaming community also has mixed opinions on loot boxes, which are regarded as a form of gambling in video games. Loot boxes have become so notorious that the United States legislature is under immense pressure to either ban loot boxes entirely or restrict them to age 18+ video games. Some gamers would prefer loot boxes provided that they know some statistics about what they could be getting with a purchase. However, a large majority want loot boxes to disappear entirely.

Seeing the increase in awareness among gamers, many developers have also chosen to deliver games without any microtransactions, using it as a selling point for their games.

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