A sweeping change has emerged regarding the ongoing debate of in-game loot box mechanics and whether or not they can be defined as gambling.
Earlier today, The Entertainment Software Association announced plans for all major publishers to disclose loot box odds by the end of 2020, acting as a major shift in legislation for the mechanic.
More specifically, console manufacturers such as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have plans to force loot box disclosures on a platform level, therefore forcing any publisher with titles on the system to abide by such regulations.
This will include Electronic Arts, Bandai Namco, Sony, Take-Two, Ubisoft and countless others who have already agreed with plans that will come into place by the end of next year. To put it lightly, this is big news.
“Taken together, these disclosures will help reach consumers playing across a variety of games, including PC games and other games delivered outside of the platforms,” the ESA said in a press release.
Even if loot-boxes and in-game purchases are added after a game’s initial release, their presence will still need to be disclosed, which happens to be the case with Crash Team Racing and its forthcoming update.
Many developers and publishers will wait until initial reviews for a product have been released before sliding in loot-box mechanics in a future patch, presumably trying to avoid the debate or potential negative reactions in early reviews.
I’ll admit I’ve been a victim to the gambling tendency that comes with loot boxes, particularly when trying to obtain specific cosmetic items in Blizzard’s Overwatch, especially during limited-time events when I knew skins for my favourite character would be gone for months if I didn’t invest right now.
For some, loot boxes can be a serious problem, and for those just wanting to know where their pennies are going, loot box odds being disclosed going forward is a great sign, that will soon be commonplace across all platforms judging by this news.