Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo Will Soon Require Loot Box Odds Disclosure
According to a report from Gamesindustry.biz, the Entertainment Software Association stated that Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft are working on new policies that require developers and publishers to disclose the odds for loot boxes in future games. The chief counsel of technology policy Michael Warnecke announced it at the Federal Trade Commission's Inside the Game workshop.
"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."
Loot boxes have become something of a hot button topic over the last year. Some countries have even ruled them to be effectively gambling and not legal in those markets. Loot boxes are also a considerable source of revenue for some of the worlds leading publishers. So one could argue that the industry has been a little bit slow to make any real changes while the profits rolled in.
Apple and Google already do this. Despite loot boxes and microtransactions being a massive part of the mobile gaming industry, these companies require the disclosure of loot box odds for all games sold on their platform.
It will be interesting to see if players learning the odds of getting specific items change their willingness to play. It may modify how much players spend to acquire higher quality items.