The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is making moves to regulate loot boxes in videogames which will require publishers to disclose the odds of drop rates for loot boxes in Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft consoles.
On the morning of Aug. 7, 2019, during the Federal Trade Commission’s “Inside the Game” workshop where they discussed loot boxes, Michael Warnecke, chief counsel of tech policy at the Entertainment Software Association, announced this move to disclose this information along with discussing passed attempts to address loot boxes such as: adding in-game purchase labels on retail titles, platform-level spending controls on consoles, and the EA Origin PC storefront.
“I’m pleased to announce this morning that Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony have indicated to ESA a commitment to new platform policies with respect to the use of paid loot boxes in games that are developed for their platform,” said Warnecke as reported by GamesIndustry.biz. “Specifically, this would apply to new games and game updates that add loot box features. And it would require the disclosure of the relative rarity or probabilities of obtaining randomized virtual items in games that are available on their platforms.”
Warnecke continued “As well, many of the leading video game publishers of the Entertainment Software Association have decided that they are going to implement a similar approach at the publisher level to provide consumers this information and give them enhanced information to make purchase decisions.”
As reported by Eurogamer, Sony and Nintendo have both openly discussed this new change stating that they want their customers to make informed choices and ensure that users have access to tools like parental wallet controls.
“Sony Interactive Entertainment aims to ensure PlayStation users have access to information and tools, such as parental wallet controls, that will help them make informed decisions about in-game purchasing,” a PlayStation spokesperson told Eurogamer. “We support industry efforts to disclose the probability of obtaining randomized virtual items, known as loot boxes, and are committed to providing consumers with this information for all games we produce and publish.”
“At Nintendo, ensuring that our customers can make informed choices when they play our games is very important,” reads a statement issued to Eurogamer. “As part of our ongoing efforts in this area, Nintendo will require disclosure of drop rates in Nintendo Switch games that offer randomized virtual items for purchase, such as loot boxes. This requirement will apply to all new games and includes updates to current games that add loot boxes through in-game purchases.”
ESA also announced that the targeted date for implementation of these policies is in 2020.
For coverage on the future of loot boxes and more, keep in here at The Nerd Stash.