The ESRB’s stance on the question of loot box practices and their relationship with gambling has already been pretty well established, but it would appear that mounting pressure from US and world governments is making them change their minds a bit. The oversight organization has just announced a new ESRB loot box label to be added to video games soon, granting consumers more information on what’s in their entertainment.
“The video game industry is evolving and innovating continually, as is the ESRB rating system,” says ESRB president Patricia Vance. In step with that statement, physical and digital games will soon have an In-Game Purchases label whenever a game has purchasable features like levels, skins, loot boxes or other digital items or unlocks.
In addition to the new label, the organization has launched a new website with information about tools parents can utilize to control the games their children play and manage functions for game systems such as content or spending limits.
“We’ve absorbed every tweet, email, Facebook post and singing telegram sent our way, and we’ve been developing a sensible approach to let gamers and parents know when a game offers the option to purchase digital content” reads a statement from the ESRB posted to Twitter. “This is the first step of many! We’ll continue to discuss how to further enhance our rating system with publishers, developers, gamers and especially parents.”
This is a good first step, but ultimately the onus still falls on developers and publishers to not include aggressive and predatory loot box mechanics in their games, or to just do away with loot boxes entirely. Still, progress is progress…unless, of course, you’re of the mindset that this isn’t progress enough.
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