New ESRB Warning Label Announced For Loot Boxes & Microtransactions

The regulatory organization has finally spoken on the much-criticized practices.

8

From Quake Champions to Overwatch, loot boxes have become a regular occurrence across the gaming industry. The ESRB is the regulatory entity tasked with determining what games are fit for what ages and it is finally addressing the much-discussed loot crates and microtransactions of recent games. The Entertainment Software Rating Board is introducing a new label to physical games: In-Game Purchases.

Some tread lightly with cosmetic content that doesn’t affect gameplay, existing to liven up the experience, but others go loud and drop loot crates right onto the beaches of Normandy or include game breaking enhancement cards that change the dynamic of the game you earn them in. The ESRB recognizes that the inclusion of these things is important to the player or parents of a player and this is the full statement from the official Twitter account:

In addition to the new label, the new parental tool to manage the amount of time or money kids spend on games will likely influence how developers approach the addition of loot boxes and microtransactions going forward. Will the new label be enough? Certainly not. There has to be a conversation around the differences between expansions and the more consistent microtransactions, at least to start.

Other regions like China have taken steps to regulate loot boxes and, for the ESRB, this step is considered the “first step of many” and it will be interesting to see how the conversation around these controversial topics evolves.

News Editor

Charles Singletary Jr keeps the updates flowing as the News Editor, breaking stories while investigating the biggest topics in gaming and technology. He's pretty active on Twitter, so feel free to reach out to him @The_CSJR. Got a hot tip? Email him at Charles.Singletary@Shacknews.com.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 27, 2018 8:35 AM

    Charles Singletary posted a new article, New ESRB Warning Label Announced For Loot Boxes & Microtransactions

    • reply
      February 27, 2018 8:37 AM

      getting ahead of the curve

      • reply
        February 27, 2018 8:40 AM

        I feel like lumping randomized purchases in with defined purchases is going only a half step though and may not be enough to hold off legislation.

    • reply
      February 27, 2018 9:19 AM

      Rated M for Manipulative.

    • Zek
      reply
      February 27, 2018 9:41 AM

      They're not differentiating between DLC and loot boxes, so it doesn't seem like a solution to the gambling problem at all to me. Nobody is going to stop including DLC entirely because of this. And when you have a single piece of DLC, you may as well go all the way.

      • reply
        February 27, 2018 10:37 AM

        The point is not to eradicate loot boxes. Those aren't going anywhere. It's to make their inclusion, cost, and odds of payout more transparent.

        • Zek
          reply
          February 27, 2018 10:42 AM

          That seems like a reasonable goal for the ESRB, whether or not it's enough, but this doesn't sound like it does any of that. It just says "hey this game has DLC" which today is like saying the sky is blue.

          • reply
            February 27, 2018 5:37 PM

            "This is the first step of many". It's at least getting the ball rolling.

        • reply
          February 27, 2018 1:13 PM

          Yeah, but standard, you know what you're buying DLC should be in a whole other category than the digital blind box trading cards that are loot boxes.

          • reply
            February 27, 2018 1:40 PM

            yep - DLC isn't RNG infused. you buy more content, you get the content. with the loot boxes, you might get absolutely nothing useful and you are out money. it's a total scam.

    • reply
      February 27, 2018 1:42 PM

      I play magic the gathering Puzzle quest and the most recent patch has the % chance to get each tier of cards

    • reply
      February 27, 2018 5:29 PM

      This sounds like obfuscation