According to reports, Nintendo, Sony, and Xbox have reached an agreement on new policies that will require game developers and publishers full disclosure on their loot-boxes mechanics, if the publisher of the game denies the demand, the game will be banned by the three giants of the industry.
Back in 2019, the Entertainment Software Association’s Chief Counsel of Tech Policy, Michael Warnecke announced at the Federal Trade Commission’s Inside the Game workshop on the polemic loot-box problem. Right now, the ESRB and PEGI have recently a new “interactive element called ‘In-Game-Purchases’. The intention is to warn parents and customers of games that offer additional items without leaving the game.
However, Warnecke admits that there is much to be done against more aggressive loot-box mechanics such as the ones implemented in FIFA Ultimate Team.
“I’m pleased to announce this morning that Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony have indicated to ESA a commitment to new platform policies with respect to the use of paid loot boxes in games that are developed for their platform. 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 that are available on their platforms.
“As well, many of the leading video game publishers of the Entertainment Software Association have decided that they are going to implement a similar approach at the publisher level to provide consumers this information and give them enhanced information to make purchase decisions.”
As reported by GamesIndustry.Biz, the ESA has affirmed that platform holders were to implement the full loot box disclosure in 2020, which means that all the contents of the loot-box and its drop rate should be completely disclosed before a purchase decision is made.
Games Industry reported back in 2019 that some large publishing and development companies were reluctant to follow the ESA’s strict policy, the mentioned companies were: 505 Games, Capcom, CI Games, Deep Silver, Disney Interactive Studios, Epic Games, Focus Home Interactive, Gearbox Publishing, GungHo, Intellivision Entertainment, Kalypso, Konami, Magic Leap, NCsoft, Natsume, Rebellion, Riot Games, Sega, Tencent, and Marvelous.
The list of compliant developers has been growing as they work along with the ESA and the needs of a better industry, this has been affirmed by the latest statement of the ESA in which they confirm the list of developers who have agreed to disclose th
In addition, several of ESA’s publisher members already disclose the relative rarity or probability of obtaining in-game virtual items from purchased loot boxes, and other major publishers have agreed to do so no later than the end of 2020. Together, these publishers include Activision Blizzard, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, Bethesda, Bungie, Electronic Arts, Epic, Konami, Microsoft, Nexon, Nintendo, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Square Enix, Take-Two Interactive, THQ Nordic, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and Wizards of the Coast. Many other ESA members are considering a disclosure. The disclosure will apply to all new games and updates to games that add such in-game purchases and will be presented in a manner that is understandable and easily accessed.