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williamcll

Friendly to Children, not to your wallet - ESRB rating now mentions in-game purchases

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Loot boxes, expansions and other DLCs will incure this notice during rating.

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In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items)

In April 2018 the ESRB began assigning Interactive Elements to physical video games with the In-Game Purchases and Users Interact notices. The In-Game Purchases Interactive Element informs parents and other consumers of when a game offers the ability to purchase additional items without leaving the game. To provide even greater transparency about the nature of in-game items available for purchase the ESRB will now begin assigning a new Interactive Element: In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items). 

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. The original In-Game Purchases notice will still be assigned to games that offer any other type of purchase, including additional levels, cosmetic items, DLC, expansions, etc. However, going forward it will not be assigned to games with “loot boxes” or similar mechanics to ensure consumers clearly understand when the game offers purchases with randomized elements. According to research, parents are far more concerned about their child’s ability to spend real money in games than the fact that those in-game purchases may be randomized. This data helped to inform the introduction of the In-Game Purchases Interactive Element. That being said, since adding the In-Game Purchases notice to ratings assigned to physical games many game consumers and enthusiasts (not necessarily parents) have reached out to us asking the ESRB to include additional information to identify games that include randomized purchases. The In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items) Interactive Element was developed in response to those requests. By including more specificity about the randomized nature of the in-game purchases, consumers can make more informed decisions when purchasing or downloading a game, instead of finding out after the fact.

Why Not Say “Loot Boxes”?

“Loot box” is a term that doesn’t encompass all types of randomized in-game purchase mechanics. We want to ensure that the new label covers all transactions with randomized elements. In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items) accounts for loot boxes and all similar mechanics that offer random items in exchange for real-world currency or in-game currency that can be purchased with real money. Moreover, we want to avoid confusing consumers who may not be familiar with what a loot box is. Recent research shows that less than a third of parents have both heard of a loot box and know what it is. “Loot box” is a widely understood phrase in and around the video game industry and among dedicated gamers, but most people less familiar with games do not understand it. While this new label is primarily in response to feedback from game enthusiasts, it is still essential that all consumers, especially parents, have a clear understanding of the rating information we provide.

Of course, we will continue to educate parents on all forms of in-game purchases, parental controls, and ESRB-assigned age and content ratings.

Looking to the Future

As always, we will continue to monitor how video games evolve and innovate to ensure that we provide parents and other consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions about which games and apps are appropriate for their family. Additionally, ESRB will continue to update ParentalTools.org so parents have access to parental control guides for all major video game devices.

Source: https://www.esrb.org/blog/in-game-purchases-includes-random-items/

Thoughts: Better late than never, but would they reevaluate already released titles? This doesn't seem to be mentioned on the page.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, TempestCatto said:

So basically all games will now have this included in the rating? Got it.

A lot of indies are still free from additional purchases.


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Very good. Hopefully PEGI will add this too.

Maybe they can edit the rating of this game now, which is practically a casino (with an E for Everyone rating). Of course they say in game purchases on the very bottom, but that should be front-left-and-center with this behaviour.

https://www.esrb.org/ratings/36442/NBA+2K20/

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Maybe video games and its companies should be subject to local gambling laws like their casino counter parts.... Just because you cannot "Cash out" doesnt mean its not actively playing on the gambling addiction of people... 

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Generally speaking, unless the ESRB has a valid reason to (for example, if a game is being re-rated to be resold, i.e. Nintendo Virtual Console releases), the ESRB won’t re-rate a game. 

There’d be a few contenders that could stand to use a rating lowering or the In-Game Purchases tag on it.


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12 minutes ago, handymanshandle said:

Generally speaking, unless the ESRB has a valid reason to (for example, if a game is being re-rated to be resold, i.e. Nintendo Virtual Console releases), the ESRB won’t re-rate a game. 

There’d be a few contenders that could stand to use a rating lowering or the In-Game Purchases tag on it.

At least new EA games will have the rating.

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Oh so they changed their mind over time now huh.


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13 hours ago, Doobeedoo said:

Oh so they changed their mind over time now huh.

For what it's worth, many media rating agencies period do things not unlike this. I do personally feel that the ESRB should've got on this earlier rather than now, but better late than never, I guess.


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