Pan European Game Information, or PEGI as they're more commonly known, have announced that they will soon be adding warnings on all boxed games that come with in-game purchases, so as to properly inform the customers who are buying them.
PEGI refers to the symbol you see above as "content descriptor icon", which will be found on rating licenses for all physical video game releases, i.e. boxed editions. Even though the descriptor was already visible on digital video game releases via the IARC process, physical copies were exempt from this rule.
“Making parents aware of the existence of optional in-game purchases upfront is an important first step", said PEGI's managing director Simon Little and added that making this information available at purchase ensures "that a parent can decide whether and how they want to monitor and/or limit a child’s spending”.
According to a consumer survey by Ipsos, only 2 out of 5 parents indicate that their children spend real money in-game. Majority of these parents have some sort of control over their children's spending, be it parental control tools or asking for permission, the latter being the most predominant method.
Seeing as how in-game purchases have become a "broad phenomenon", Little stressed the importance of equal level of consumer information on all releases, digital and physical. Adding the descriptor to physical releases may help parents otherwise unfamiliar with video games pay attention to their child's gaming habits, or more precisely in-game spending habits.
PEGI's new descriptor icons should start appearing on physical releases towards the end of 2018. Bearing in mind that a significant number of games coming out in 2018 will still not be caught by the rule, it's safe to assume that it won't be until 2019 that all games will bear proper markings.
It's quite interesting to see that in spite of all the dust kicked up overseas, i.e. in the US, it's once again the Old Lady leading the way in consumer protection. With and being the first countries taking a stand against predatory gambling practices that are loot boxes, long may it continue.