The Entertainment Software Association has announced that Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have all signed up to policy that will require paid loot boxes for all games developed for their platforms to disclose information on the rarity and probability of obtaining the virtual items contained within. The new system does not have a launch date but should be implemented some time during 2020.
Publishers including Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Bethesda, Bungie, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and Wizards of the Coast have also signed, so PC games from those publishers will also be included. The Entertainment Software Association say “many other” publishers are considering joining the the new policy.
Nice to see EA’s name on that list, I wonder how long they spent trying to convince the ESA to use the words “surprise mechanics” rather than loot boxes in their press release?
Once the system in place it will only apply to new games from that point, but any older games that are updated with new loot boxes will be required to show the odds. “Taken together, these disclosures will help reach consumers playing across a variety of games, including PC games and other games delivered outside of the platforms,” say the ESA.
The announcement coincides with a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) workshop day on loot boxes, obviously the ESA knew they were going to be in for a rough time and preemptively agreed the new measures.
“We commend our members for their continued efforts to listen to their customers and provide consumers with information to make more informed choices for their gameplay,” reads a statement from the ESA. “As the video game industry evolves and new features appear, we welcome an open dialogue among our community. Video games spark camaraderie and build communities that we all enjoy being a part of. We will continue to innovate and work together so that every member of our community can enjoy video games as a fun and enriching experience.”
The ESA is an American organisation but I would assume the changes that will be rolled out by Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo will be worldwide.
Yesterday Psyonix announced that later this year it will be removing randomised loot boxes from its massively popular car soccer sensation, Rocket League, and earlier this year Blizzard removed the ability to buy loot boxes using real money in Heroes of the Storm, and they were also removed from Forza Motorsport 7.