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ESRB will include 'In-Game Purchases' label on videogames

ingame purchases ESRB.jpg

One small step for the ESRB, one giant leap for the gaming industry…or is that the other way around?

After the whole Star Wars Battlefront 2 debacle, the loot box/microtransaction controversy has gone nuclear. Last month, we reported that a US senator called on the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) to take action against loot boxes and that the government could even intervene if the request was denied.

Now, the ESRB has announced that they will soon start to assign a brand-new label to physical copies of videogames and wherever games can be downloaded digitally. It will be called “in-game purchases”. The ESRB noted that even though they have been quiet, they have been listening to everything sent their way and have come up with this solution. Not only that, but they have also launched a new website called Parental Tools, where parents can get informed and learn to manage the playtime, spending and more of their kids.

Read the full announcement from the ESRB below:

You may have noticed that we’ve been a little quiet on the topic of in-game purchases and loot boxes, but we’ve been listening. In fact, we’ve absorbed every tweet, email, Facebook post and singing telegram sent our way, and we’ve been working to develop a sensible approach to let gamers and parents know when a game offers the option to purchase additional content. Starting soon ESRB will begin assigning a brand-new label to physical games: In-Game Purchases. This label, or as we call it interaction element, will appear on boxes (and wherever those games can be downloaded) for all games that offer the ability to purchase digital goods or premiums with real world currency.

This includes features like bonus levels, skins, surprise items (such as item packs, loot boxes, mystery awards), music, virtual coins and other forms of in-game currency, subscriptions, season passes, upgrades (e.g., to disable ads) and more. We’re also launching a new website ParentalTools.org to help raise awareness of the helpful tools that parents can use to manage the amount of time or money those crafty kids spend playing games. This is the first step of many!

We’ll continue to discuss how to further enhance our rating system with publishers, developers, gamers and especially parents, and we’ll continue to make adjustments as the need arises.” - Source

It is a good step in the right direction and hopefully, the website will also help parents understand what the kids are playing and how much money can get spent on games via microtransactions. Sure, it doesn’t ban loot boxes or anything like that and most people will probably still purchase the games, but I, for one, might get put off some titles when I see an in-game purchases sticker even if I knew the game had something like loot boxes, because seeing it when taking it off the rack and then forking over close to R1000 for the base game could make a difference.

Watch the short ESRB video from the newly launched website below and then tell us what you think about this move by the ESRB in the comment section.

Source: Twitter

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