The Entertainment Software Rating Board has finally weighed in on the ongoing loot box controversy. Their official twitter put out a statement today commenting on all of the recent drama surrounding in-game purchases.
They announced that they will be adding a label to their rating system, and that label will indicate a game contains in-game purchases. This label broadly includes everything from outfits and weapons to loot crates and other microtransactions.
Here is their official statement:
An update on in-game purchases from your friends at ESRB: pic.twitter.com/pqmfJe0Ywz
— ESRB (@ESRBRatings) February 27, 2018
This label has actually existed on digital games for a while now, but had yet to appear on physical copies. This marks a bigger shift towards treating in-game purchases as something that certain segments of the population need to be protected from. The Star Wars Battlefront II controversy sparked a number of conversations all over the world, from Belgium to Hawaii, about the nature of these transactions and their similarities to gambling.
Along with this announcement, the ESRB is advertising their website of parental tools, to help parents control the content their kids can access and purchase on their home consoles. This is directly in response to the push back that these types of transactions are encouraging children to gamble.
This move from the ESRB is proof that this ongoing controversy is far from over. Despite the fact that more and more games are including some form of microtransaction or in-game purchases, companies are also seeing more and more pushback and accusations that games are becoming pay-to-play.
We will continue to follow any more news surrounding this issue, so keep an eye on our page for more updates from the ESRB and other regulatory agencies.