Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo introduce new lootbox policies

Realising, perhaps, that “surprise mechanics” actually kind of suck, the three game industry corps have committed to new lootbox requirements from next year, obligating publishers to disclose potential drop rates on purchasable items.

Lootboxes have been a subject of some controversy since the 2017 launch of Star Wars: Battlefront 2, prompting a series of inquiries by multiple commissions into whether or not randomised microtransactions constitute gambling. The legal implications of this are boring and complicated and irrelevant to most of us who don’t even waste cash on stupid FIFA Ultimate Team DLC, but the scrutiny and criticism has resulted in some design revision, so I guess that’s something.

In compliance with the new policy, according to the ESA, lootboxes must include “information on the relative rarity or probability” of its contents. Which probably isn’t going to stop Kyle from buying that FIFA Ultimate Team DLC with mom’s credit card anyway, but that’s his problem.

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