Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft are working on a loot box odds disclosure policy. The news was revealed by the Entertainment Software Association, stating that the major console manufacturers are have pledged to address the loot box system, one of the most sensitive video game topics of the latest decade.
According to GamesIndustry.biz, it was Michael Warnecke, ESA’s chief counsel of tech policy that announced Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony’s commitment on this topic. The reveal came in the morning after Warnecke detailed the industry’s previous efforts to lighten the discussion surrounding loot boxes:
“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,” Warnecke said. “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.”
Warnecke added that other ESA leading video game publishers are also interested in the new loot box odds disclosure policy, confirming that they are working on implementing similar policies for added transparency. The goal is to give the consumers all the information that they need to make a fully conscious purchase. Apple already required full loot box odds disclosure in 2017, while Google did the same in May 2019.
This loot box policy is long overdue, with many nations showing concern that it blurs the line between gaming and gambling. U.S. Senator Josh Hawley even announced a bill supporting a loot box ban, sustaining that “game developers shouldn’t be allowed to monetize addiction.”
Electronic Arts’ recent comparison of loot boxes to Kinder Eggs, while also describing them as “surprise mechanics” led to a heated debate, with Dr. Daniel King from the University of Adelaide issuing the following statement:
“A Kinder Surprise Egg does not collect your data. The Kinder Egg does not learn more about the person buying and opening the Egg, such as his or her preferences for its contents. The Kinder Egg does not adjust its contents according to an algorithm based on population data. People do not link their credit cards to Kinder Egg vendors. Kinder Eggs are physical and can be given away or traded, unlike virtual items.”