One of the most controversial inclusions in modern gaming has to be the economics of ‘loot boxes‘. Put simply, spending real-world money to purchase these virtual crates which give you no guarantee as to what you might receive. It has led many governments to start considering whether these are ‘ethical surprise mechanics’ (as EA recently (and hilariously) attempted to describe them) or whether they are actually a form of gambling.
In a report via Eurogamer, however, working in conjunction with the ESA, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft have all committed to an agreement that if a developer is not 100% open about item drop rates in loot box mechanics, they won’t allow them on their platform.
In confirming the news, both Nintendo and Sony have already made statements confirming their respective positions.
“At Nintendo, ensuring that our customers can make informed choices when they play our games is very important. As part of our ongoing efforts in this area. Nintendo will require disclosure of drop rates in Nintendo Switch games that offer randomised virtual items for purchase. Such as loot boxes. This requirement will apply to all new games and includes updates to current games that add loot boxes through in-game purchases.
We also offer tools like our Nintendo Switch Parental Controls mobile app. Which empowers parents to choose what works for their family, including managing in-game purchases and setting playtime limits.” – Nintendo
“Sony Interactive Entertainment aims to ensure PlayStation users have access to information and tools. Such as parental wallet controls. That will help them make informed decisions about in-game purchasing.
We support industry efforts to disclose the probability of obtaining randomised virtual items. Known as loot boxes. And are committed to providing consumers with this information for all games we produce and publish.” – Sony
Given that a number of governments have already declared these a form of gambling (which by proxy would require an immediate age-rating comparable to that) Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are perhaps just (rather wisely) seeing the direction in which the wind is currently blowing.
For us consumers, however, this is only good news. It means that any developer looking to simply gouge those chasing the rainbow will at least have to say how likely it is you’ll get that rare skin.
What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!
It's not exactly a secret that with the release of the PS5 earlier this month,…
You may recall, and I daresay that you do, that Cyberpunk 2077 was supposed to…
The Amazon Black Friday sale has officially arrived and, if you're anything like me, it's…