Games with paid loot boxes will now have a proper PEGI rating

The Pan European Game Information (PEGI) rating board has introduced a new rating note for games with paid loot boxes, highlighting the controversial monetisation method for people looking to buy a game.

The new designation of ‘Includes Paid Random Items’ isn’t particularly snappy, but will be put on any game that has an in-game offer to use real money for something where players don’t know specifically what they will receive. “Paid” obviously refers to any random items that can be purchased with real money, whether that’s a distinct microtransactions currency or a currency that can also be earned in-game.

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It’s broad enough to cover a number of subtly different uses across loot boxes, card packs, prize wheels and similar. It means that games can’t skirt past a narrower “loot box” definition by presenting things in a different way. Additionally, loot boxes are a colloquialism that might not be understood by someone unfamiliar with the concept.

It’s a second step toward clarity for consumers, after the board introduced an icon and descriptor for in-game purchases in 2018. This will be an additional text box to explain that these purchases are randomised.

With loot boxes still prevalent in games like FIFA and the NBA 2K series, and with varying responses from governments around the world, this feels like a good step forward from PEGI to show, though it’s certainly not the end of the debate.

If you got a bit of deja vu whiplash while reading this, well it’s probably because the US ESRB announced almost the exact same thing. The two biggest rating boards have taken the same steps at the same time to give prospective buyers more information. That can only be a good thing.

Also, I did pretty much copy and paste what I wrote earlier today.

Source: PEGI

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3 Comments

  1. Games with gambling should all be instantly rated 18. Same with FIFA.

  2. This seems quite a pathetic move.. what happens to games who purposely leave the boxes out on launch but then patch it in afterwards? It’s a too little, too late situation here. I also agree that any game using these types of mechanics should be classified as 18 straight away.

    • I was also thinking to myself yesterday, while watching the Jim Sterling episode covering this, I reckon we are getting close to the industries next new money grabbing technique. The fact that randomised loot boxes are already quite bad worries me about what is next.

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