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Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony will soon require loot box rarity disclosures

What you need to know

  • Microtransactions and loot boxes have become increasingly obtuse in recent years.
  • The Entertainment Software Association and console manufacturers want to change that.
  • Today, the body announced that Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony will soon require odds disclosures.
  • This means that you'll know how rare an item is and how likely you are to get it if you buy a randomized loot crate.

A few years ago, Star Wars Battlefront II ignited a microtransactions controversy which many world governments cracked down on. The long-term effects continue because even the United States is taking action against the practice. Luckily, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are also on board to add more transparency to loot crates.

According to a report by GamesIndustry, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has said that Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are "working on new policies to require loot box odds disclosure on their systems." One of the ESA's chief counsels, Michael Warnecke, added the following.

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... many of the leading video game publishers... 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.

It's great to see that the gaming industry is pushing for more transparency. Microtransactions are part of modern titles whether we like it or not, so let's hope that they become cosmetic-only in the future and don't give any advantages as they do on some games.

Given the fact that consumers will soon know the odds of acquiring certain items, it'll be interesting to see if there are calls to change them. This should help gamers stop spending a lot of money on almost-unattainable gear because everyone will know how likely it is to get it from a loot box.

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Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

2 Comments
  • Finally, progress in the right direction.
  • But it's "not gambling"... Pretty soon they will have to put the gambling help hotline number on the back of the case. It's a damn shame that these have caught on so well that its to the point of needing a disclosure. It just shows that these will never go away. People seem to be now fully vested.