Tired of loot boxes in games? If you’re a parent, chances are, you are. Thankfully, the ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board) has issued a new loot box ratings label that lets players (and parents) see whether a game has it out of the box.
The ESRB calls it “interactive element” will be labeled to any game with an in-game transaction wherein the player doesn’t know exactly what they’re getting (ie. random items).
What Does This New Notice Mean?
This new Interactive Element, In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items), will be assigned to any game that contains in-game offers to purchase digital goods or premiums with real world currency (or with virtual coins or other forms of in-game currency that can be purchased with real world currency) for which the player doesn’t know prior to purchase the specific digital goods or premiums they will be receiving (e.g., loot boxes, item packs, mystery awards).
In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items) will be assigned to all games that include purchases with any randomized elements, including loot boxes, gacha games, item or card packs, prize wheels, treasure chests, and more. Games that have the In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items) notice may also include other non-randomized paid elements.
Obviously targeting loot boxes, or what EA calls “surprise mechanics,” the ESRB is making this broad enough that it will include card packs, “mystery” awards and more.
Will this make the loot box microtransaction a thing of the past? Probably not, but at least you’ll be able to see it in a game right away if you want to avoid it.