The long battle over in-game purchases might finally be over. Announced earlier today, the ESRB’s president, Patricia Vance, revealed her plans on upcoming changes for titles that include and in-game purchases.
An additional label will accompany any physical and digital copies of games, as well as mobile. This includes bonus levels, skins, loot boxes/crates/mystery items, music, virtual coins, season passes, subscriptions, and even things like ad disabling purchases.
Lawmakers are most concerned with how these purchases will affect young children, or kids in their early teens. The ESRB is hoping the changes to the labeling will be enough to warn parents about what is actually in the game. Vance stated that a “lot of research over the past several weeks and months, particularly among parents.” For most of the parents, they had no idea what a loot box was, and if they did, they were more concerned about the money being spent and not how it was spent.
“ESRB’s goal is to ensure that parents have the most up-to-date and comprehensive tools at their disposal to help them decide which games are appropriate for their children. With the new In-Game Purchases interactive element coming to physical games, parents will know when a game contains offers for players to purchase additional content. Moreover, we will be expanding our efforts to educate parents about the controls currently at their disposal to manage in-game spending before their kids press ‘Start’.” stated Vance.
The ESRB has set up a website directed towards teaching parents the “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to their kids playing games. At ParentalTools.org, parents are informed on how to use parental controls to manage video game use, including money, who they play with, and the amount of time a child can play. It also gives them greater details about what in-game purchases really are. This is just a tiny part of a nationwide campaign to help educate parents.
Source: Rolling Stone