Published: Thu, August 08, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Nintendo, Sony And Microsoft Will Disclose Loot Box Odds

Nintendo, Sony And Microsoft Will Disclose Loot Box Odds

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. Interactive Entertainment to name a few of the major publishers to begin disclosing odds by 2020's end, with more to come. By implementing policies like this, publishers and platform holders get ahead of any impending legislation around loot boxes, and this just makes everything cleaner for everybody involved without governments getting in the way. Interactive Entertainment, and Wizards of the Coast have also signed, so PC games from those publishers will also be included. The platform policies are now scheduled to be put into place some time next year, and will also require drop rate disclosures even if loot boxes are added to a game in a later update.

Microsoft issued a similar statement.

Michael Warnecke, the Entertainment Software Association's chief counsel of tech policy, said Wednesday that Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo committed to new policies requiring video games to disclose the probability of receiving a certain item in the loot box. [Update - 2:34pm]: "We believe in transparency with customers and providing them information for making their purchase decisions", a spokesperson for Microsoft said in an email. Companies such as Zynga (Farmville) have made microtransactions a hallmark of their business model, where you can play their games for free, but you'll be able to get through them further and faster by paying a few dollars for additional currency. 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.

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"This approach would also be compatible with the Apple and Google approach on the mobile platform".

An Electronic Arts "Star Wars" video game drew fire in late 2017 for its take on the loot box feature, which critics argued essentially allowed money instead of skill to determine who wins.

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