ESRB is adding an 'In-Game Purchases' label to games soon

Earlier today, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), announced they would soon begin to add “In-Game Purchases” to their video game labeling system.

The label will apply to any game that, “offers to purchase digital goods or premiums with real-world currency, including but not limited to bonus levels, skins, surprise items (such as item packs, loot boxes, mystery awards), music, virtual coins and other forms of in-game currency, subscriptions, season pass, and upgrades (e.g., to disable ads).” You can read the full press release here.

The ESRB is not targeting loot boxes specifically, but any in-game purchase. That means the vast majority of modern games will have the label included, as most titles have some sort of DLC or content you can purchase through a menu.

This decision was made after numerous politicians, including U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, voiced concerns on the random nature of rewards dropped by loot boxes, and the similarities of that system to gambling.

In addition to the new labeling practices, the ESRB also launched a new site for parents, which aims to inform parents on in-game purchases, and how to manage them.


According to ESRB president Patricia Vance, “With the new In-Game Purchases interactive element coming to physical games, parents will know when a game contains offers for players to purchase additional content. Moreover, we will be expanding our efforts to educate parents about the controls currently at their disposal to manage in-game spending before their kids press ‘Start’.”

What do you guys think? Do you think loot boxes are gambling, or are they ok as long as they’re done right? Let us know your thoughts.