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Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to require loot box odds disclosure

Published: 17:20, 07 August 2019
Blizzard
The standard loot box in Overwatch
Overwatch - Loot Box

According to The Entertainment Software Association, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will be implementing policies that will require developers and publishers to disclose loot box odds for games that are being released on their systems.

Loot boxes have been a major talking point within the gaming industry over the last year or so and it appears that major console manufacturers are ready to take some steps against this unpopular feature on their systems.

According to The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are working together on new policies that will require developers and publishers to fully disclose loot box odds on their systems - PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

"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," association's chief counsel of tech policy Michael Warnecke announced today at the Federal Trade Commission's Inside the Game workshop on the loot box issue.

Warnecke also explained that this new policy would only affect the upcoming releases and updates for existing games that add loot box mechanics. Furthermore, this would require the disclosure of the relative rarity or probabilities of obtaining randomised virtual items in games that are available on their platforms.

This could mean that even if the game features some randomised items that don't look like the standard loot boxes, developers and publishers will still have to disclose rarities, which leaves little room for any potential exploits of this upcoming policy.

Warnecke also confirmed that many other ESA members are looking to implement a similar approach at the publisher level "to provide consumers this information and give them enhanced information to make purchase decisions". At the moment, it is unknown when exactly these policies will go into full effect but platform holders are targeting to implement them sometime in 2020.

Ubisoft Picture of a loot box in The Division 2 The Division 2 - Loot box

Here is the list of all publishers that agreed to release loot box disclosure odds on all new games by the end of 2020:

  • Activision Blizzard 
  • Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Bethesda
  • Bungie 
  • Electronic Arts
  • Microsoft
  • Nintendo
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Take-Two Interactive 
  • Ubisoft
  • Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • Wizards of the Coast
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