Sony, Microsoft, And Nintendo Agree On Upcoming Policy To Disclose Loot Box Odds

The three companies come together against the odds (or for them, rather).

Posted By | On 08th, Aug. 2019

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Earlier in the year, we saw the rare occurrence of the three platform owners uniting in an open letter to oppose tariffs proposed by the current United States administration. Now it seems the three are coming together once again to tackle another sticky situation that’s caused a lot of controversy in its own right: video game monetization. Primarily, loot boxes.

During a talk by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) the ESA’s Chief Counsel of Tech Policy, Michael Warnecke, revealed that the three companies are coming together to create a policy where the odds of randomized loot boxes will have to be openly displayed in some form, something that is not common as of now with games that feature them. He said that the move was part of a move towards transparency as to what people are actually spending for, what odds they face and for consumer’s to have a more informed choice to their spending habits.

“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,” said Warnecke. “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.”

Loot boxes have been a firestorm of controversy over the last few years as they’ve become common. While publishers have largely been dismissive of criticisms of them emulating gambling in predatory ways, it’s something that even governing bodies have stepped into here and there. While displaying odds won’t be enough to satisfy those who oppose the practice, I wager, it at least is a step to giving a better idea what players are really needing to spend to get what they want. 


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