ESRB To Add "In Game Purchases" Label To Games With Microtransactions & Loot Boxes
New labels to arrive in near future.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (aka the ESRB) announced today that it will be introducing a new label to physical games, namely "In Game Purchases".
The label will be available "wherever they can be downloaded" as well. The purpose of the label is to inform customers before they buy the game whether or not games offer the ability to "purchase digital goods or premiums with real world currency". This includes but isn't limited to "bonus levels, skins, and surprise items" like item packs, mystery awards, and loot boxes. "Virtual coins and other forms of in game currency", music, subscriptions, season passes etc are also included under the label.
The ESRB said in a press release that customers can expect to start seeing this new label in the near future.
"The video game industry is evolving and innovating continually, as is the ESRB rating system. ESRB's goal is to ensure that parents have the most up to date and comprehensive tools at their disposal to help them decide which games are appropriate for their children", said Patricia Vance, ESRB president.
"With the new In Game Purchases interactive element coming to physical games, parents will know when a game contains offers for players to purchase additional content. Moreover, we will be expanding our efforts to educate parents about the controls currently at their disposal to manage in game spending before their kids press 'Start'".
Vance noted that the new In Game Purchases label doesn't state the difference between loot boxes and other types of downloadable content. This is due to the "large majority of parents" not knowing what a loot box is, after the consumer research the ESRB conducted, according to Vance.
"It's very important for us to not harp on loot boxes per se, but make sure we're capturing loot boxes but also other typed of purchases" Vance said. "Parents need simple information" she said. "We can't overwhelm them with a lot of detail. We need to be clear, concise, and make it easy for them. We have not found that parents are differentiating between a lot of these mechanics".
To help parents understand these matters, the ESRB has launched a new site, ParentalTools.org, which provides information on how to use parental controls to help manage game use in the home, including money and time spent playing.
The ESRB will continue to monitor the issue as it's an "issue of concern to the gamer community" said Vance, and will take action if it thinks additional guidelines and measures are required.
Will you be looking out for the In Game Purchases label in the near future? Let us know below!
Written by Megan Parker Posted Has 4 Comments