ESRB Comments On Rating Games That Feature Loot Box Systems.

With the popularity of connected experiences and loot based titles on the rise, it’s no wonder that loot box systems that employ chance have also become popular in many AAA games.

Most of the time, the in-game loot boxes allow the player to purchase a skin or some other cosmetic item with real-world money. Problems begin to arise when these loot boxes also employ a random factor, or worse, a pay-to-win system.

The ESRB recently commented on the matter, after popular Youtuber John Bain criticised the ESRB for not taking loot box systems into account when rating new titles. In a comment to Kotaku, the ESRB said:

“While there’s an element of chance in these mechanics, the player is always guaranteed to receive in-game content (even if the player, unfortunately, receives something they don’t want).”

They went on to compare it to the same principle of opening a pack of cards: duplicates and bad draws can happen.

Taking a look at the ESRB’s guidelines, they distinguish loot boxes from gambling with real money by considering loot boxes a form of additional in-game downloadable content. Only titles that have any real-money gambling will receive an automatic AO or Adults Only rating.

In a recent statement to WCCFTech, PEGI operations director Dirk Bosmans agreed with the ESRB’s stance with how they handle loot boxes while stating that he believes gambling is something that should be judged by the gambling industry.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out  Cody Orme’s piece about China and their views on Loot box probability, and our review of Destiny 2 a game that’s all about loot.

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