ESRB to now include a warning label for Loot Boxes in games

Last updated on Nov 16, 2020

Posted on Apr 14, 2020

Back in April of 2018, ESRB started assigning games that offered in-game purchases with an "In-Game Purchases" label. This was to allow for transparency to the consumer so that they know the game they are purchasing will include microtransactions.

However, not all microtransactions are created equal. Some games offer items directly, while others offer what they call "Loot Boxes" or other Gacha style purchases.

What is the Loot Box/Gacha system?

If you do not know what the systems are, essentially, you purchase an item in-game, at a set price, that will give you a random chance to get specific items.

If you purchase these items, you will get a specific set chance to get items in the game. This can range from common items that have little to no value, or extremely rare items.

The upside to this system is that it brings more money in for the game publishers/developers. The downside of the system is that it is completely based on luck.

For example, you are playing an RPG game that offers a Gacha style system. You can buy one for $1, and available through their Gacha system is a sweet new weapon that you want.

But, you find out you have a 1% chance to get the item. So, if you are extremely lucky, you could end up getting it for $1, or it may cost you hundreds of dollars to get the item you wanted.

The ESRB's response to Gacha Systems


Because of the spike of games offering a Gacha style or loot box system, the ESRB, per the request of multiple game consumers, will now include an "In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items)" label to any game that offers a form of randomization from in-game purchases.

This could include loot boxes on your favorite FPS to Card Packs on your favorite strategy card game.

Final thoughts

I think this is awesome. So many games are turning to the Gacha system, as it can bring in a lot more money, however, they do not advertise it upfront. Being able to know ahead of time will help many consumers know what they are getting into!

Do you like that the ESRB labels will include the Random Items description?

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