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Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo To Begin Disclosing Loot Box Odds By 2020

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

The big three console manufacturers, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will now begin requiring new and updated console games that sell randomized loot boxes to explicitly reveal the odds of which items will appear. 

This means that random loot boxes, such as those within Overwatch or Rocket League (which Psyonix and Epic Games are actually removing), will need to disclose the odds of receiving certain items instead of being vague about their contents. This mandate was handed down during an FTC panel on loot boxes that took place in Washington, DC on Wednesday. 

According to the Entertainment Software Association's Michael Warnecke, the three companies have "indicated a commitment to new platform policies" when it comes to paid loot boxes. 

"Specifically, this would apply to new games and game updates that add loot box features," said Warnecke. "And it would require the disclosure of the relative rarity or probabilities of obtaining randomized virtual items on their platforms."

The ESA clarified in a statement that the three companies are targeting 2020 for "implementation of the policy."

In addition to Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, the ESA pointed out Activision Blizzard, Bungie, Electronic Arts, Bethesda and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to name a few of the major publishers to begin disclosing odds by 2020's end, with more to come. 

According to Warnecke, this new mandate provides a "comprehensive approach" to ensuring customers have all the information they need to make purchasing decisions when it comes to buying loot boxes – and as we know, allowing their kids to buy them as well. 

This is just the latest in a long line of measures to tackle a larger issue with loot boxes in gaming, as government entities and gambling commissions have cracked down on the mechanics. It likely won't be the last that companies take to either curb the usage of loot boxes as a whole or drastically change the way they operate.

  • Giroro
    Why are they delaying this for a year?

    How hard is it to copy a percentage point into a table and post it to their website?
    Reply
  • Mandark
    Giroro said:
    Why are they delaying this for a year?

    How hard is it to copy a percentage point into a table and post it to their website?
    probably so they can make a butt-tonne more money
    Reply
  • beaulieu80
    I think this is the best approach to make loot box not a gambling loot by showing up what are the odds of having certains items per type of box.

    this is diffinetly a good steps to fix this madness
    Reply
  • bigdragon
    I don't care what the odds are -- I don't want loot boxes, period. I stopped buying and specifically avoid games that have loot boxes now. I don't want a "chance to get the thing" -- I want the thing. I'm done paying for games that contain content I'll never be able to utilize. Progression trees and achievement-based unlocks can't come back soon enough!

    Giroro said:
    Why are they delaying this for a year?

    How hard is it to copy a percentage point into a table and post it to their website?
    The delay is likely to analyze gambling laws that govern the distribution of prizes. Video game loot boxes are likely not in compliance with laws that govern payouts and percentages. The mechanisms that determine what you receive may also not be implemented in the required way either. Slot machines and other electronic gambling games have a lot of things going on behind the scenes.
    Reply