In-Game Purchases And Random Items
In a move best described as ‘eventual,’ the ESRB has added an official ratings descriptor for in-game purchases including random items. In other words, your game will warn you ahead of time if there be loot boxes on the horizon. Will this be enough to stem the tide? Who knows! A brief description from the ESRB follows below:
This new Interactive Element, In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items), will be assigned to any game that contains in-game offers to purchase digital goods or premiums with real world currency (or with virtual coins or other forms of in-game currency that can be purchased with real world currency) for which the player doesn’t know prior to purchase the specific digital goods or premiums they will be receiving (e.g., loot boxes, item packs, mystery awards).
In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items) will be assigned to all games that include purchases with any randomized elements, including loot boxes, gacha games, item or card packs, prize wheels, treasure chests, and more. Games that have the In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items) notice may also include other non-randomized paid elements.
The new classification covers all the requisite bases, leaving little wiggle room for companies that wish to avoid the rating. Of course, this assumes that said rating will work to deter purchases of their games. So long as parents and guardians are being vigilant, they now have one more way of keeping adorable gambling addictions out of their kids’ hands.