PlayStation, Nintendo, Xbox, And Major Publishers To Require Loot Boxes Disclosures

Always tell me the odds!

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Now Playing: Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Loot Box Changes Will Happen - GS News Update

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At a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) public panel on microtransactions in video games, the Entertainment Software Association announced that all three console platform-holders have agreed to a voluntary change in their policies toward loot boxes. Though the ESA's Michael Warnecke defended the practice in broad terms, he said, going forward, any new games or game updates that add loot boxes on Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony platforms will be required to disclose the rarity rates of items.

"Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony have indicated to the ESA a commitment to new platform policies with respect to the use of paid loot boxes in games that are developed for their platform," Warnecke said. "Specifically, this would apply to new games and game updates that add loot box features, and it would require the disclosure of the relative rarity or probabilities of obtaining randomized virtual items in games available on their platforms."

Warnecke noted that many leading publishers that are members of the ESA have committed to a similar approach at the publisher level, and that this voluntary disclosure puts all platforms on par with the mobile disclosure requirements. In a statement, the ESA noted that publishers who have agreed to the disclosures include Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Bethesda, Bungie, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Warner Bros., and Wizards of the Coast. The disclosures are said to be coming by the end of 2020, and other ESA member companies are considering joining the policy.

"This approach would also be compatible with the Apple and Google approach on the mobile platform. We believe that, taken together, this provides a comprehensive approach to ensuring that consumers get the information they need so they can make informed purchasing decisions when it comes to paid loot boxes."

GameSpot has contacted Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony, along with relevant ESA member companies, for comment on the new initiative and their participation. Their responses can be seen in the list below, which will be updated further as publishers respond.

The FTC's public workshop on loot boxes has concluded. This workshop is the FTC's first official response to increasing calls to regulate the use of loot boxes, including a bill that would ban the practice. Rocket League developer Psyonix has already announced plans to do away with loot boxes this year.

  • Capcom: "Capcom will continue to comply with industry standard practices such as disclosures for 'In-Game Purchases' labels on packaging. Furthermore, to clarify, Capcom does not currently have console games that support purchasable loot boxes offering in-game virtual items, but will continue to monitor standards for potential policies in the future."
  • Electronic Arts: "We applaud the new initiatives from console makers and publishers to provide more information to players. Beginning last year, we introduced probability disclosures where applicable in all our new games, across all platforms, and will continue to provide this information to help our players as we move forward."
  • Epic Games: "Earlier this year, the Fortnite Save the World team made a change that showed players every item that they would get in a paid llama before opening it. Earlier this week, the team at Psyonix announced a similar change coming later this year to paid crates in Rocket League. Going forward, we’re committed to the same transparency for player purchases in all Epic Games titles."
  • Konami: "Konami Digital Entertainment supports the position to provide full transparency regarding in-game purchases, and will continue to comply with industry efforts on this issue. We have been consistent in disclosing the rarity of loot box items because we want to make sure our customers clearly understand this in-game mechanism. We will continue working to provide this level of insight across all our console-based IP. Our goal is to ensure that consumers are equipped to make informed choices when it comes to Konami Digital Entertainment games."
  • Microsoft: "We believe in transparency with customers and providing them information for making their purchase decisions. This is a new policy that affects all new apps or games by 2020 offering 'loot boxes' or other mechanisms on Microsoft platforms that provide randomized virtual items for purchase must disclose to customers, prior to purchase, the odds of receiving each item. In addition, we’re proud to offer robust family settings that offer further control over in-game purchasing."
  • Nintendo: "At Nintendo, ensuring that our customers can make informed choices when they play our games is very important. As part of our ongoing efforts in this area, Nintendo will require disclosure of drop rates in Nintendo Switch games that offer randomized virtual items for purchase, such as loot boxes. This requirement will apply to all new games and includes updates to current games that add loot boxes through in-game purchases.

    "We also offer tools like our Nintendo Switch Parental Controls mobile app, which empowers parents to choose what works for their family, including managing in-game purchases and setting playtime limits."

  • Sony: "Sony Interactive Entertainment aims to ensure PlayStation users have access to information and tools, such as parental wallet controls, that will help them make informed decisions about in-game purchasing. We support industry efforts to disclose the probability of obtaining randomized virtual items, known as loot boxes, and are committed to providing consumers with this information for all games we produce and publish."
  • THQ: "THQ Nordic GmbH and THQ Nordic Inc. have not made a commitment on loot box odds disclosure, because a.) we have not been asked by [the ESA government affairs office] for a statement ahead of their publication, b.) we currently do not have a single game with lootbox mechanics published, and c.) we do not plan to implement casino-styled mechanics in our games."
  • Wizards of the Coast: "Wizards of the Coast has championed the disclosure of odds when purchasing virtual items and will continue to ensure players and parents of players make informed choices about their purchases.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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tornado9632

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Companies are not the morons the consumers are! You idiots are complaining that are way to much micro-transaction in our games and yet you still buy them... STOP BUYING SO THEY WILL STOP!!!!!! They make billions of dollars out of them so of course they aren't going to stop they are going to keep going making more out of you

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Sinister432

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Just1MoHr

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How 'bout this? If they constantly have ingenious aces up their sleeves to undermine your dollars, you simply STOP BUYING their garbage. I have not bought a single loot box, DLC content. Furthermore I stopped buying AAA titles at $60 & I only buy them when they are $20 or less now. I buy all my games now when they are at their lowest price point & I don't mind not buying them at all. All these practices of recent has disgusted me & I will not stand for it!

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Tony56723

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@just1mohr: sadly there’s nothing you or I can do anymore as it’s the “super whales” these companies are targeting. All we can do now is try and buy the few, actual games that are still coming out and wait for the bubble to inevitably burst.

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dragonsama

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Personally I hope the FTC declares Loot crates and Gatcha as illegal and ban them. It's a scourge on gaming and I don't care how it's killed off!

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Barighm

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Edited By Barighm

Can't add polls to these topics, so just reply to this question: Would any of you rather-

a) Pay $100 for a new game, but that game is loaded with all the content and cosmetics you've come to expect from the great games of yore and the only DLC is vast, expansive expansions that are almost as big as the main game.

b) Pay $60 for a new game, but there is tons of DLC content and MTs. At least you only have to pay for the content you like, but buying everything might cost you $150 when it's all said and done, possibly more if you really push it.

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alaannn

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Edited By alaannn

@Barighm: 100 dollars but games companys should try and lower costs (marketing budgets can be 100s of millions for aaa games) and increase production to make more money (most devs dont release any games compared to previous gens did all devs get rich and stop making games)

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Tony56723

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@Barighm: You’re general AAA games already does cost over a $100, $60 typically just sells you the skeleton (say hi to EA Battlefront 1 especially). And let’s be honest do you really think if the base price was raised to $100 the monetization schemes would disappear? Of course not, the likes of Activision, EA, and 2K have shown time and time again all the money in the world is still not enough. Just look at Strauss Zelnick’s feelings about how he feels they are under-monetizing GTA Online, you know the most profitable game ever created and nickels and domes it’s players for everything they want to do, or how Black Ops 4 was a failure in Activision’s eyes after it ONLY made $500 million in its first three days.

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proceeder

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Take them the F out!

How much money is enough to make on a videogame sale?! When/where does it stop?!

Greed has clearly no limit.

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EdwardNygma

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They need to ban loot boxes period. This. Does. NOTHING.

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buzznugget

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I play a lot of Overwatch. I never spent a dime outside the original launch purchase. Got plenty of skins. Seems fine to me.

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proceeder

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Edited By proceeder

@buzznugget: Just because it's not a problem for you, doesn't mean it's not a problem.

Here are a few extreme examples of the type of flaw in your argument:

I do not suffer from cancer. Yet, it does not mean cancer would not require research/treatment.

There were German citizens during WWII who did not practice Judaism. They were not sent to concentration camps. Doesn't mean the concentration camps were not a problem.

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Astrokidwell

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Edited By Astrokidwell

@buzznugget: Agreed, I'm confused as it seems a lot of people are really put out having to actually play the game. If playing matches is too much work to get stuff maybe you just don't like that game. Like I never sit down and night to play a game and think well this will be terrible but soon I'll have that Saved by the Bell theme song to play when I'm on a killstreak and then the game will finally be fun.

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elric3000

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What about MMO's and their new love for loot boxes?
Also, this should be retroactive for all titles?

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02050muh

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notice that only Blizzard doesnt response. Bastard!

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totallytc

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so their big fix is to add some"Fine Print". What a load of crap

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H20-XCV

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A bunch of poor peasants in this comment section. If you cannot afford the loot boxes, then don't buy them and let us rich folk purchase them. Us rich folk run the show, you poor peasants don't. Deal with it!

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Thanatos2k

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@h20-xcv: Statistically, rich people don't play the lottery - poor people do.

Rich people aren't dumb enough to spend money on random things. Rich people aren't buying loot boxes.

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Barighm

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Edited By Barighm

@Thanatos2k: I think he was being sarcastic.

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Richardthe3rd

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@h20-xcv: I've spent way more than I care to admit on loot boxes. I hate them.

I've watched the games i purchased them on get replaced, and none of the content get carried over.

Loot boxes are a way of swindling people into paying for non-contact like sprays and stickers that arent even cool cosmetics. They're trash and they need to go.

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Flyin3lvl

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@h20-xcv: oh really deal with it

i brought many years ago dissidia on psp and could play as tifa .............. on the ps4 i have to pay 4.99.... hows that work

free and playable on one version ....4.99 in another...hows that fair?

with a trading card it can be sold on or traded .. what can you do with a digital duplicate ....pay more more money to try again ...hows that fair.....

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Astrokidwell

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Edited By Astrokidwell

@Flyin3lvl: Well they own a product. Then they sell you the product for what you think you'll pay for it. They raise the price if they think you'll pay more and lower it if they think you won't. They set the price at a level that maximizes their profit. That's how selling something works. It has nothing to do with fair, they run a business with clear rules. You buy the digital duplicate at the cost or not, if you don't see a value you don't buy. Its a new product on a new system, even if its the exact same. You have the option to buy it now, or not, as you see fit.

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Flyin3lvl

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBRMv6q655o

my discussion on loot boxes

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BigDegs

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Honestly, I'd rather we just legislate lootboxes and pay-to-win mechanics right out of our games. They're a plague that ruin the gaming environment; we should never have let them progress as far as they have.

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Astrokidwell

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Edited By Astrokidwell

@bigdegs: You're saying something is out there that you don't like. It doesn't harm anyone, pose a public risk, or discriminate against anyone. It's a mechanic you don't enjoy. So we should pass a law. I can't with this generation. The entire trading card industry (been around since my grandfather was putting baseball cards in his spokes) is literally a physical version of this. Pokémon, MTG, all real life loot box, pay-to-win mechanics. Pay-to-win is a garbage mechanic. Capitalism to the rescue. People didn't want to pay for most of it so now you'll notice almost all games place only cosmetic items in "loot boxes". By choice they changed because they realized pay-to-win wasn't working well. You don't need a law, play the games you enjoy, don't play the ones you don't. There will always be a market for games without this stuff so long as there are players who don't want it. Someone will service that part of the industry.

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Tony56723

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@astrokidwell: They don’t harm anyone? I have a gambling problem and can tell you that they are designed to target people like me. It’s not fun.

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BigDegs

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Edited By BigDegs

@astrokidwell: You're making an awful lot of assumptions. There are plenty of things in gaming I don't enjoy, and I'm not suggesting legislating against any except this one. This one DOES harm people, and it harms the industry.

Loot boxes are addiction-based. Even pay-to-win is somewhat addiction based, though to a much lesser extent. But pay-to-win also hurts the fair nature of multiplayer gaming. So frankly, I think they both have to go.

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Astrokidwell

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@bigdegs: Video games are addition based by the same argument. Maybe they should be gone entirely. Cars, clothes, food, drink, phones, and social media are all addition based. Have the cool sneakers that guy has, or drive the cool car her does. That's exactly as addition based in the real world as it is in gaming. Having something isn't a right and not having something that is sold isn't denying an addition. This generation is addicted to only one thing, having everything they want right when they want it. Something new is invented, its my right to own it. Tracer can do a new pose and its not fair that little Timmy can and you can't, run crying to the government and have them make it illegal for Timmy to do the pose if you can't. Its not fair, its not fair, stomp stomp stomp.

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BigDegs

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@astrokidwell: The world is not black and white. Addiction is a scale. The psychology behind lootboxes is more despicable than pay-to-win microtransactions, and so on. Video game addiction is less frequent and less severe than gambling addiction. I agree that social media has become addiction-based, and is actually in a bad place right now.

But the rat race has less to do with addiction, and more with envy, but that's not what I'm talking about anyway. I don't care if Timmy is able to buy a new Tracer pose, and Charlie isn't. I'm fine with that. I'm not fine with lootboxes, or pay-to-win.

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Astrokidwell

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@bigdegs: Except loot boxes are great. I play a game for fun and every now and then I get a free little something, for doing nothing but having fun. If you want you can pay to get the free little something faster than I get it. I think Blizzard loot boxes are great. I've never paid a cent other than to buy the games which are stand alone worth it. I get random updates to look, voices, announcers, tags, etc. You think it has nothing to do with the rat race, it is the rat race. The only difference is some people care more about what their avatar wears than what they personally wear. They are selling a product, if you don't like it or your personality is too addictive to safely partake in the system then don't use it. When WOW came out people were dropping out of college due to bad grades. They cared more about getting their next raid drop than their Econ grade. You can't fix stupid.

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Caj1986

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Corporates deciding the fate of loot boxes in gaming? This is never gonna TURN OUT GOOD!!!!!!!!

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Caj1986

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Edited By Caj1986

Corporates deciding the fate of loot boxesThis is never gonna TURN OUT GOOD!!!!!!!!

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Uncle_Rell

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Ban loot boxes and microtrans in video games.

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NeverMore0

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I wish they would do this on slot machines.

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Sinister432

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@NeverMore0: Las Vagas was built on Slots, but it, not the slots,it the people have control of what you're doing or get help

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

@NeverMore0: Slot machines are limited on their odds AND must disclose their payout percentage rates by law. Read the machine fine print carefully, it's there.

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mpl911

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"So, turkeys, who reckons we should have Christmas again this year??"

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Tidus1012

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Talking about microtransactions where you know what you will buy like cosmetics, items, weapons and so on I'm not that closed, but when talking about loot boxes where the items you get are based on manipulated RGN it's when I say, stop this bullshit. This cancerous practice must end immediately, not to mention the borderline moronic comment: 'Its optional, nobody forces you".

I really hope a change, but it will be difficult with all the imbeciles supporting this practice.

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Scynt

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Yeah this is an absolutely DISGUSTING insult of a proposal that does absolutely NOTHING. They literally did the exact minimum they could try to squeeze by with doing and still keep their billions in illegal gambling and extortive practices money.
I have no real faith in the FTC but I hope they just straight ban any and all loot boxes and microtransactions from any and all games, the entire game industry can rot in hell for their greed.

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lostn

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PC and mobile will be the last bastions.

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Thanatos2k

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@lostn: ..........Mobile?

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proceeder

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Edited By proceeder

@Thanatos2k: I'd like to think what he meant was that it's so bad that he'd rather play a mobile game...wait, that wouldn't work either!

What did he mean?