ESRB, PEGI add box warning for games with loot boxes (update)

What you need to know

  • Loot boxes have become a prominent issue since the Star Wars Battlefront II debacle.
  • The Pan European Game Information added warnings a while ago.
  • The American Entertainment Software Rating Board is adding similar ones soon.
  • Hopefully, this will allow everyone to make sound purchasing decisions.

Updated April 13, 2020: According to GamesIndustry, the ESRB has introduced new warning labels for loot boxes.

Every since Star Wars Battlefront II implemented — and later removed — egregious pay-to-win microtransactions, games rating bodies, and governments, are fighting back against the practice. While organizations like the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and Pan European Game Information (PEGI) can't ban loot boxes, they can inform gamers that a certain game features them.

According to a report by GamesIndustry, PEGI has decided to include warnings if a game has loot boxes and microtransactions even on the physical box. Beforehand, this information only showed up on a game's digital page. The outlet reported that this is expected to come into effect by the end of the year.

PEGI Managing Director Simon Little issued the following statement on the addition of the "In-Game Purchases" warning.

Purchase offers within games has become a broad phenomenon, and it is necessary to provide the same level of consumer information on both physical and digital releases. Considering that physical releases are an important part of the market, this was an important gap to fill. For a parent who may not be fully familiar with the video games landscape, seeing this simple descriptor on the packaging of a game they consider buying should trigger the reflex of keeping an eye on the gameplay, once the game has been purchased and given to the child. It's basic information, but that's what parents sometimes feel they are lacking.

It's great to see that organizations like PEGI are providing more information to those who buy certain games. Hopefully, the American ESRB will follow and implement a similar standard.

Asher Madan

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.