ESA Members Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo to Reveal Loot Boxes Droprates

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A loot box covered in padlocks.
  • Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo vow to make loot boxes transparent
  • The new measures will be enforced in 2020
  • More ESA members join the move

ESA members Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have vowed to make loot boxes more transparent amid an industry-wide move to address gambling concerns.

Loot Boxes Will Show Droprates, Gamemakers Say

In a bid to address spreading concerns about loot boxes, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have decided to display items odds, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) reported. For a while now, loot boxes have been the target of some objections.

Some have argued that because game developers have failed to disclose the droprates of certain items, the activity could be liken to gambling. Others, though, have argued back that loot boxes can be likened to trade cards.

Commenting on this latest development, ESA explained that developers will “disclose information on the relative rarity or probability of obtaining randomized virtual items.”

The measures won’t be implemented immediately, however. The most likely timeline for the arrival of such measures remains 2020 when other developers are also expected to introduce changes to their policies. Many prominent studios have already agreed to the measure:

  • Activision Blizzard
  • BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
  • Bethesda, Bungie
  • Electronic Arts
  • Microsoft, Nintendo
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment

Other notable developers include Ubisoft, Interactive Entertainment, and Wizards of the Coast, the developers of the one of the quickest growing esports titles, Magic The Gathering: Arena.

Meanwhile, more ESA members are currently pondering a similar move. To implement the measures successfully, all developers will have to come up with a presentation that makes it easy for users to understand the chances of certain items dropping from a loot box.

Addressing Loot Boxes Before They Are a Problem

ESA’s statement coincided with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) loot box workshop day which focused on policies to make this segment of the gaming experience more transparent.

Kotaku, a respected video gaming journal, spoke to Microsoft with a representative for the company saying the following:

We believe in transparency with customers and providing them information for making their purchase decisions.

Nintendo was another flagship brand to agree to the move and highlight the importance of the decision.

At Nintendo, ensuring that our customers can make informed choices when they play our games is very important. As part of our ongoing efforts in this area, Nintendo will require disclosure of drop rates in Nintendo Switch games that offer randomized virtual items for purchase, such as loot boxes.

Most recently and ahead of the FTC’s public workshop, Psyonix and parent company Epic Games vowed to remove loot boxes and move past the model. Some companies can’t be too keen on dismissing loot boxes, however.

Valve, the creators of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) – the game to popularize the concept, and Dota 2, are against removing loot boxes, but the company has been very quick to adapt with the company announcing plan to allow players to see what’s in a loot box, prior to a purchase.

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