It seems that loot boxes in gaming will be implemented differently in the future. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has revealed that they are currently in the process of working with Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo to implement new policies which will ensure the odds of all loot boxes for games on their platforms are disclosed to players. This way, players will be fully aware of their chances of obtaining an item before purchasing a loot box.
ESA’s Chief Counsel of Tech Policy Michael Warnecke announced the news at the Federal Trade Commission’s Inside the Game Workshop. Warnecke stated,”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.”
He went on further to say that this will apply to new games and any game updates that will add loot box features in the future. Warnecke continued “It would require the disclosure of the relative rarity or probabilities of obtaining randomised virtual items in games that are available on their platforms.” According to the ESA, they are targeting a 2020 date for the finalisation of terms.
Currently, we don’t know exactly which publishers have agreed to comply with these terms but if Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have agreed, anyone making games for their platform will have to comply. Many popular publishers such as Activision Blizzard, Bethesda, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Bungie, EA, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and Wizards of the Coast are expected to comply.
This decision has been a long time coming for loot boxes. Since their implementation in video games, loot boxes have been under a lot of scrutiny, with some countries banning them, and some companies facing legal action due to them. This decision is set to have lasting repercussions on the video game industry much in the same way that loot boxes themselves changed it.