In a move to create more transparency for curious gamers, the ESRB will now label games that support Loot Boxes with ‘In-Game Purchases’. The following statement has been released:
You may have noticed that we’ve been a little quiet on the topic of in-game purchases and loot boxes, but we’ve been listening. In fact, we’ve absorbed every tweet, email, Facebook post and singing telegram sent our way, and we’ve been working to develop a sensible approach to let gamers and parents know when a game offers the option to purchase additional content. Starting soon ESRB will begin assigning a brand-new label to physical games: In-Game Purchases. This label, or as we call it interactive element, will appear on boxes (and where those games can be downloaded) for all games that offer the ability to purchase digital goods of premiums with real world currency.
This includes features like bonus levels, skins, surprise items (such as item packs, loot boxes, mystery awards), music, virtual coins and other forms of in-game currency, subscriptions, season passes, upgrades (e.g., to disable ads) and more. We’re also launching a new website ParentalTools.org to help raise awareness of the helpful tools that parents can use to manage the amount of time or money those crafty kids spend playing games. 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, and we’ll continue to make adjustments as the need arises.
This is a wise move, and certainly a step in the right direction. It’s not too invasive for devs, even the greedy bastards that charge for save slots, and it’s informative for the customer. Be sure to stay tuned for more info, as and when we have it.