In a press release earlier today, the Entertainment Software Rating Board announced that it will begin assigning an “In-Game Purchases” label to physical games where extra content can be purchased with real currency. This announcement comes as a response to the recent controversy surrounding loot boxes and microtransactions, which has drawn negative attention to major releases such as Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Metal Gear Survive. However, ESRB has decided to cast a very wide net on in-game purchases; the label will apply to any game offering any form of DLC. Here is a description from the press release detailing exactly what sort of games will be inflicted with this new label.
The new In-Game Purchases label will be applied to games with in-game 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 passes and upgrades (e.g., to disable ads).
Essentially, it appears that the label will be affecting almost any game that comes out nowadays, rather than differentiating between games that offer quality expansion packs and games that employ predatory money-making tactics. Lootbox protesters, who have insinuated that the practice is an unethical form of gambling, will probably see the label as a first step rather than a lasting solution.
Reviews Editor at Nintendo Enthusiast. I am a major fan of all consoles and eras. Follow me on Twitter @habitablestorm3 to watch me tweet about the many old games I love to spend time with.