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The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has introduced a new rating label for loot boxes. The label, better known as “interactive element” 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 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.

According to the board;

“The original In-Game Purchases notice will still be assigned to games that offer any other type of purchase, including additional levels, cosmetic items, DLC, expansions, etc. However, going forward it will not be assigned to games with “loot boxes” or similar mechanics to ensure consumers clearly understand when the game offers purchases with randomized elements.”

The board has also given a lengthy reason why they don’t want to call it loot boxes anymore. In the board’s words;

“Loot box is a term that doesn’t encompass all types of randomized in-game purchase mechanics. We want to ensure that the new label covers all transactions with randomized elements. In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items) accounts for loot boxes and all similar mechanics that offer random items in exchange for real-world currency or in-game currency that can be purchased with real money. Moreover, we want to avoid confusing consumers who may not be familiar with what a loot box is. Recent research shows that less than a third of parents have both heard of a loot box and know what it is.”

This new label comes after the board’s initial attempt to address concerns related to lootboxes two years ago.

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