Loot boxes or what EA refers to as “surprise mechanics”, has been a highly debated topics for months. Now it looks like the big three, Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony, have had enough of the sneaky tactics. As such they are demanding that games that include loot boxes must disclose the rates.
During a recent loot box workshop hosted by the FTC, several gaming publishers along with Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony, have agreed that the rates must be disclosed. As such, video game publishers that aren’t already receiving this information must conform by the end of 2020. Those in attendance include Bandai Namco, Bethesda, Bungie, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, and EA. I would love to be a fly on the wall at EA when the top execs talk about how this affects their bottom line.
This will force all publishers to disclose the information as it pertains to titles on any PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo console. Oddly enough, this does not include the PC and that doesn’t make sense and could serve to allow these publishers to find a way to simply screw over PC gamers.
“That said, we are doing more,” Warnecke said. “I’m pleased to announce this morning that Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony have indicated to ESA a commitment to new platform policies with respect to the use of paid loot boxes in games that are developed for their platform. 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 that are available on their platforms.
“As well, many of the leading video game publishers of the Entertainment Software Association have decided that they are going to implement a similar approach at the publisher level to provide consumers this information and give them enhanced information to make purchase decisions.”
According to Gamesindustry.biz, multiple ESA members have yet to respond to this demand. These include 505 Games, Capcom, CI Games, Deep Silver, Disney Interactive Studios, Epic Games, Focus Home Interactive, Gearbox Publishing, GungHo, Intellivision Entertainment, Kalypso, Konami, Magic Leap, NCsoft, Natsume, Nexon, Rebellion, Riot Games, Sega, Square Enix, THQ Nordic, Tencent, and Marvelous.
Honestly, I’m glad to see more support for allowing this information to be readily available. For too long, companies have hid behind loot boxes. While forcing gamers to spend an insane amount of money trying to unlock in-game content. Sure, you don’t have to do this, however, as we all know this sort of behavior is addicting and far too many can’t help themselves. It’s here that publishers take advantage of those people and the reason why loot boxes have been so heavily debated.
Though, as I mentioned, this only covers consoles. I have a sneaky suspicion that companies will only double down on loot boxes on the PC even more after this.
Either way, I guess people really didn’t like surprise mechanics after all.