ESRB Will Add an In-Game Purchases Label to Future Games; Launches Parental Website to Control Kids’ Time and Money Spent

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board, aka ESRB, always evaluates games fairly and offer them a rating to help parents decide whether to pick that game their child has been talking non-stop about or not. Recently, most video games include the option to buy lootboxes or crates or whatever they’re called in-game, whether they offer cosmetic items or items that will grant the player an advantage over non-paying players is completely up to the publisher. However, the fact remains that more often than not it costs real money to purchase them.

The ESRB is finally going to start adding an “In-Game Purchases” label to video games who have that option. Not only that, to coincide with the new label, they launched a parental control website titled Parental Tools. The website teaches parents how to better manage their kids’ game playing times as well as their allowed in-game spending amount.

You may have noticed that we’ve been a little quiet on the topic of in-game purchases and loot boxes, but we’ve been listening. In fact, we’ve absorbed every tweet, email, Facebook post and singing telegram sent our way, and we’ve been working to develop a sensible approach to let gamers and parents know when a game offers the option to purchase additional content. Starting soon ESRB will begin assigning a brand-new label to physical games: In-Game Purchases. This label, or as we call it interactive element, will appear on boxes (and where those games can be downloaded) for all games that offer the ability to purchase digital goods of premiums with real world currency. This includes features like 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, upgrades (e.g., to disable ads) and more. We’re also launching a new website to help raise awareness of the helpful tools that parents can use to manage the amount of time or money those crafty kids spend playing games. This is the first step of many! We’ll continue to discuss how to further enhance our rating system with publishers, developers, gamers and especially parents, and we’ll continue to make adjustments as the need arises.

Thank you for all your patience on this, and your love for the games we rate.

What do you think of ESRB’s recent decision?