The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the video games rating and censorship board, has announced plans to put a warning on games that include in-app purchases (ie. microtransactions and loot boxes).
The topic has become a subject of much discussion recently, as more and more games turning towards microtransactions as a business model or a means of supplemental cash. However, things came to a head last year with “Star Wars: Battlefront II” which saw the use of loot boxes within its progression system as opposed to its inclusion in more standard cosmetic systems.
The new label will now go alongside some of the more traditional labels, such as those for violence and drug usage, in this case though for games offering additional purchases with real-world money including bonus levels, skins, surprise items (loot boxes, item packs, mystery awards), music and all forms of virtual and in-game currency).
At the moment, the labels will only be included in physical releases, but plans are on the way for digital releases too. The obvious issue, however, is that the label will go on many games, including with content such as season passes and DLC, as opposed to targeting those with aggressive and/or problematic uses of microtransactions and loot boxes.