Changes are officially coming to loot boxes.
Today, at a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) public panel on microtransactions in video games, the Entertainment Software Association announced that PlayStation, Nintendo, and Xbox have agreed to a voluntary change in their policies toward loot boxes. Michael Warnecke of the ESA stated that new games or game updates that add loot boxes on Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony platforms will be required to disclose the rarity rates of items.
“Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony have indicated to the ESA a commitment to new platform policies with respect to the use of paid loot boxes in games that are developed for their platform,” Warnecke said. “Specifically, this would apply to new games and game updates that add loot box features, and it would require the disclosure of the relative rarity or probabilities of obtaining randomized virtual items in games available on their platforms.”
Warnecke also mentioned that many leading publishers that are members of the ESA have committed to a similar approach at the publisher level. The decision to disclose rarity levels echoes the move mobile platforms already made for their games.
While ESA did not specify who agreed to the disclosure, members of the agreement include Activision Blizzard, Bethesda, Disney, Epic Games, Square Enix, Take-Two, and Ubisoft.
“This approach would also be compatible with the Apple and Google approach on the mobile platform. We believe that, taken together, this provides a comprehensive approach to ensuring that consumers get the information they need so they can make informed purchasing decisions when it comes to paid loot boxes.”
The news comes during the FTC’s first official response to increasing calls to regulate the use of loot boxes, including a bill that would ban the practice.