ESRB Creates Special Label for Games with Loot Boxes

The label will warn buyers that a game possesses in-game purchases. 

In a move to counter the current loot box controversy rocking the gaming industry, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) announced plans to create a new label. According to the ESRB, this label will address:

“Games with in-game offers to purchase digital goods or premiums with real world currency including–but not limited to–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, and upgrades (e.g., to disable ads).”

The label will appear separate from the traditional ESRB rating label (T for Teen, M for Mature), and considering how many items it addresses, will likely become a common sight for gamers moving forward.

The ESRB’s latest response comes only a few short months after Star Wars Battlefront 2 created widespread backlash over the function of its loot crates and how they tied in to advancement within the game.

Various government gambling commissions also took up the task of analyzing loot crates and their legality. Supposedly, this served as one of the driving forces behind the ESRB’s new label.

“We feel this [label] is an effective response,” noted Patricia Vance, president of the ESRB. “If you care about parents, if you care about their concerns, this is an effective response.”

Vance went on to detail the possibility of future action by the ESRB outside the new label: “We are going to continue to look at this issue and determine if there are additional measures or guidelines to put in place. This is obviously an issue of concern to the gamer community.”

In an effort to help parents concerned that loot boxes are essentially a form of gambling, the ESRB also created a new website to serve as a tool for parents literally called “ParentalTools.org.”

According to Vance, the site was created after the ESRB conducted a variety of surveys and discovered that a majority of parents had little idea what loot boxes are and how they function. Now, parents can go to the ESRB’s new ParentalTools.org website for answers to their most pertinent loot box questions.

“It’s important for us not to harp on loot boxes per se. When we did describe what a loot box is to parents, we found theri primary concern by far is their child spending money. This initiative we’re launching [ParentalTools.org] is focusing on that, which we also think is an effective approach to managing loot boxes specifically.”

What do you think of the ESRB’s move to fix the loot box issue in gaming. Will the new label and ParentalTools.org site help, or should more action be taken regarding loot boxes? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below!

Morgan is a writer, indie game lover, and socially awkward coffee addict. When she's not gaming or caffeinating, you can reach her at morgan.shaver@allgamers.com or say hello using GIFs on Twitter.

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