Gamers are likely familiar with the concept of loot boxes (or crates). The in-game items typically unlock stylish new skins, helpful weapons, or even new characters. However, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding them lately. From proposed government legislation aimed at banning loot box sales to those under 18 to organizations calling them “gambling,” the conversation has been growing increasingly louder.
Now, the gaming industry is taking note. A major team-up between Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony will now force game developers publishing on their platforms to disclose the drop rates of their loot boxes. The plan will increase transparency and help gamers make more informed choices when spending money on in-game items.
The issue with loot crates largely began with EA’s “Star Wars Battlefront II” after the feature became a necessary pillar of the game. Without paying up, players were left with a subpar, incomplete experience. Understandably, fans were not happy.
From there, things began spiraling downward. Most video game loot crates are indeed a pricey investment with low odds of dropping the rare items that players are seeking. With the rise of “Fortnite” and its young player base, loot crates again fell into the negative spotlight.
With all the controversy, it is no surprise that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is now involved. A recent workshop hosted by the federal agency focused on discussing how loot boxes should be handled. Interestingly, the FTC has previously praised the video game industry’s self-regulation practices.
As if on cue, industry leaders announced their initiative to increase informed choice for players.
The new policy from Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony will now require all game developers that want to be published on the platforms to disclose information on loot crates. This includes drop rates for the items within the boxes.
While the move will affect games for PS4, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch, it does not affect PC games. Of course, this is because there isn’t a singular company responsible for that platform.
Even so, several game publishers have already agreed to disclose information on loot boxes for their games universally by the end of 2020. While it is a long list, some notable names include Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Bethesda, Bungie, EA, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, and many more. Naturally, games from Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony will also include the disclosures.
At the end of the day, revealing this information probably won’t have much of an effect on game developers. However, it will be nice for gamers. By seeing the odds of getting items they want, players can choose more wisely when making in-game purchases.