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ESRB to Begin Labeling Games with In-Game Monetization + Provide Parent Information - MMORPG.com Ne

SBFordSBFord Former Associate EditorMember LegendaryPosts: 33,127
edited February 2018 in News & Features Discussion

imageESRB to Begin Labeling Games with In-Game Monetization + Provide Parent Information - MMORPG.com News

The ESRB is going to start labeling physical editions of games to include information about any ability for the user to spend real world currency. This will apply to loot boxes, subscriptions, skins, season passes, DLC, soundtrack purchases or even the ability to disable in-game ads. In addition, the ESRB will be launching a new site to better inform parents about loot boxes and other monetization options their children might face.

Read the full story here



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Comments

  • DaranarDaranar Member UncommonPosts: 390
    LOL does anyone even pay attention to ESRB anymore? Isn't all online content not rated anyway?
    Thunder073infomatz

    If I want a world in which people can purchase success and power with cash, I'll play Real Life. Keep Virtual Worlds Virtual!


  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 29,952
    edited February 2018

    Daranar said:

    LOL does anyone even pay attention to ESRB anymore? Isn't all online content not rated anyway?



    So are you saying you are a parent but you don't look at ratings for movies, music, games but perhaps evaluate them for your kid(s) in some other way?
  • AeanderAeander Member LegendaryPosts: 6,703
    The lack of distinction between actual gambling mechanics (ie lootboxes) and season passes/dlc will make this a useless gesture. 

    The option to buy things isn't the issue. Most games have additional content for purchase. The issue is that lootboxes utilize the same mental manipulations as actual gambling without the regulations or age restriction that comes with such.

    This is nothing more than a meaningless, slimy attempt by the ESA/ESRB to do as little as possible to impact the profits made off the back of lootboxes while getting governments off their backs.
    GdemamiBestinnacatofmanyTacticalZombeh
  • SephirosoSephiroso Member RarePosts: 2,020
    Aeander said:
    The lack of distinction between actual gambling mechanics (ie lootboxes) and season passes/dlc will make this a useless gesture. 

    The option to buy things isn't the issue. Most games have additional content for purchase. The issue is that lootboxes utilize the same mental manipulations as actual gambling without the regulations or age restriction that comes with such.

    This is nothing more than a meaningless, slimy attempt by the ESA/ESRB to do as little as possible to impact the profits made off the back of lootboxes while getting governments off their backs.
    Think you're ignoring the fact that right now, there is no information period on the physical boxes of games if there's lootboxes and etc in the game. If the ESRB was simply to put a letter rating if it had any in-game purchase no matter what they were, you'd be correct that it would be a useless gesture.

    If they put that it had Lootboxes and cosmetics to buy, or Subscription+soundtrack on the back, then that helps a person make a slightly more informed decision on the game and is far from being a meaningless gesture.

    Parents might see lootboxes on the back and go, wait....im already spending 60 for this game, and knowing my kid, they're gonna hound me for more cash because of these lootboxes? nah, hello kitty 3: mr bones wild ride it is, at least that one doesn't have any extra purchases.
    SovrathTorval

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  • CoolitCoolit Member UncommonPosts: 660
    The ESRB had to do something after the terrible job their lobbyist did during the session in Hawaii.

    It's a step in the right direction but not nearly enough.
  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 15,896
    Token optics so whatever.

    A step up from this in meaning would be having different types of monetization influence the ratings like slapping an "A" on games with loot boxes and an "M" on anything with other MTs.
    GdemamiSandmanjw
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  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 19,281
    This does literally NOTHING.They highly regulate online gambling but are letting it slide in games and just sticking a label on the game..lol sad.
    Does anyone think a label is going to make a developer think twice,not a chance,carry on per usual.Good job ESRB i am sure tax payers dollars well spent,every 10 years maybe do a review and maybe add one more label lol.
    BananaSoup

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • AeanderAeander Member LegendaryPosts: 6,703
    Wizardry said:
    This does literally NOTHING.They highly regulate online gambling but are letting it slide in games and just sticking a label on the game..lol sad.
    Does anyone think a label is going to make a developer think twice,not a chance,carry on per usual.Good job ESRB i am sure tax payers dollars well spent,every 10 years maybe do a review and maybe add one more label lol.
    You're correct except for one thing. The ESRB is not taxpayer funded. It's not even a government agency. It's staffed and funded by games industry representatives and is meant to rate the industry so that the government will have no need to step in and apply harsher regulations.
    Torvalblueturtle13AlomarKyleraninfomatzaleos
  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 21,410
    More info is better. It's a step in a more informed direction. Next step provide information drop rates for any variable reward container including lootboxes or systems where RNG can affect what the player pays.
    AoriSandmanjw
    traveller, interloper, anomaly, iteration


  • VyntVynt Member UncommonPosts: 756
    The info will have to be vague since the companies often change their monetization. If they go from a sub plan listed on the box to loot box cash shop, there could be issues so most likely we will see something like "There may or may not be additional charges in game." One statement to blanket everything.
  • kitaradkitarad Member LegendaryPosts: 6,602
    Better than nothing. Parents who actually read what they're buying for their kids can use this to make informed choices.
    Kyleran

  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 21,410
    Vynt said:
    The info will have to be vague since the companies often change their monetization. If they go from a sub plan listed on the box to loot box cash shop, there could be issues so most likely we will see something like "There may or may not be additional charges in game." One statement to blanket everything.
    In the US I'm pretty sure there are laws about marketing and labeling so if a company changes those aspects the box would need to reflect those changes. It could just be a sticker they add to the outside to cover the old claims or description though.
    traveller, interloper, anomaly, iteration


  • TamanousTamanous Member RarePosts: 3,021
    The label will read:

    WARNING! If you give your child your credit card number, YOU WILL GO BROKE!!

    You stay sassy!

  • frostymugfrostymug Member RarePosts: 644
    edited February 2018
    I agree with it being a step in the right direction, although I don't really believe loot boxes are the problem people make them out to be. At least not for all the pseudo altruistic reasons people claim.

    The "problem" will still remain though. This only covers physical copies. Of which roughly no DLC (by definition), expansions, loot boxes themselves, or now roughly only 20% of all game sales total are. On top of that, of the most egregious offenders, how many free-to-play MMOs, MOBAs, or other box heavy games even offer a physical copy to being with?

    Just stick a link on the sale page with odds on it. That puts it in the realm of baseball cards with inserts, which nobody ever had an issue with for generations now. If you don't look at the odds too bad, they were there. If you do look then you are making a conscious purchase knowing that you probably won't get what you want. Without odds you are purchasing on simple blind hope.

    Otherwise, just get rid of lootboxes. We can go back to, on average, more expensive DLC and expansions, with the only way to get any of those awesome costumes or cash shop items would be to pay the 30+ bucks to get it directly. Then people can complain about the high cost of cash shop items again. Then publishers can try to figure out some way to make those things available for a lower price at some kind of odds...
    Torval
  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 21,410
    frostymug said:
    I agree with it being a step in the right direction, although I don't really believe loot boxes are the problem people make them out to be. At least not for all the pseudo altruistic reasons people claim.

    The "problem" will still remain though. This only covers physical copies. Of which roughly no DLC (by definition), expansions, loot boxes themselves, or now roughly only 20% of all game sales total are. On top of that, of the most egregious offenders, how many free-to-play MMOs, MOBAs, or other box heavy games even offer a physical copy to being with?

    Just stick a link on the sale page with odds on it. That puts it in the realm of baseball cards with inserts, which nobody ever had an issue with for generations now. If you don't look at the odds too bad, they were there. If you do look then you are making a conscious purchase knowing that you probably won't get what you want. Without odds you are purchasing on simple blind hope.

    Otherwise, just get rid of lootboxes. We can go back to, on average, more expensive DLC and expansions, with the only way to get any of those awesome costumes or cash shop items would be to pay the 30+ bucks to get it directly. Then people can complain about the high cost of cash shop items again. Then publishers can try to figure out some way to make those things available for a lower price at some kind of odds...
    I agree with most all of your points. I would rather pay $80 for a game with a season pass of DLC than I would nickel and dime my way through unlocking crap through a cash shop or play RNG with loot crates. I would prefer to shoot my loot crates in game with virtual bullets and skills.

    That said, I think this won't address deeper issues because we're trying to solve the fruit of the issue rather than doing the hard thing and looking at how the industry has been able to dice up progression and leverage that as a revenue source. Not everyone even agrees that is an or "the" issue either so we're not yet on the same page about what the root of the issue(s) is if there is one overarching thread. I say "we" as in the collective of the larger gamer community.

    I'd be happier if all this eventually leads to better disclosure from publishers about how much it can cost to play the game and how it's all paid for. Some games can be played cheaply but easily ramp up to very expensive quickly if you want to play hardcore. It would be nice to have that info going in rather than at the 80, 150, or 400 hour mark.

    The down side to that is I think there is a segment of gamers who will use that as justification for piracy, pirate servers, or social crusades in an attempt to damage whatever they're salty about. So more disclosure isn't going to resolve anything for unhappier or disgruntled players. The arguments and outrage won't stop.
    MadFrenchieSandmanjw
    traveller, interloper, anomaly, iteration


  • TillerTiller Member LegendaryPosts: 9,407
    edited February 2018
    DMKano said:
    Physical editions of games - lol 

    Vast majority are 100% digital sales only

    I cant remember the last time I bought a physical box for a game.... they still do that?
    I remember a time when digital sales started taking off as the new norm and people complained about not being able to buy a box for a game (certain expansions ect).

     Honestly I haven't even considered buying an actual boxed pc title from a store as of recently. I might if it includes a physical collectible i want. Last game I purchased a physical copy of was Simcity (2013)  and only because it was on sale cheaper at Target then through Origin.
    Torval
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  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 21,410
    The last physical media for a game purchase was Skyrim. Since that had me install Steam I haven't bought physical media since, except for some console titles. I don't do that anymore either. I just buy it on the account.
    traveller, interloper, anomaly, iteration


  • blueturtle13blueturtle13 Member LegendaryPosts: 12,861
    I buy a few steelbooks here and there. I ordered the steelbook for Far Cry 5. I have the other games in the series physical as well. 
    Torval

    거북이는 목을 내밀 때 안 움직입니다












  • VyntVynt Member UncommonPosts: 756
    For PC games I usually get digital unless for some reason the physical is cheaper. That tends to happen when it has been out a while.

    Console games I almost always get physical since I get 20% off and can always sell them back if I wanted to. I don't sell back often though. The games I get on day 1 releases tend to be the ones I really wanted and almost always love, and the rest I wait until they're so cheap that there is no resale value heh.
  • AeanderAeander Member LegendaryPosts: 6,703
    I typically order physical for console games, as my Best Buy gamersclub discount is a pretty solid price reduction. 
    blueturtle13
  • TheScavengerTheScavenger Member EpicPosts: 3,321
    edited February 2018
    I hate physical copies of games. 

    Not only do the boxes take up too much room and so much clutter...

    I usually ended up spending hours trying to find cdkeys if the game was really old and I misplaced it (usually in moving time and things thrown in boxes)

    And the disks would sometimes get scratched and be unusable, even if kept "safe" in those cd holder things that you put a bunch of cds in, made of leather or whatever it was.

    As soon as steam launched, I threw out all my game boxes and disks into the trash to never bother with them again. I'm only 100% digital in regards to gaming, so much easier. And I don't have to worry about a bunch of trash game boxes cluttering my room.

    And I never need to rage when I can't find a cd key...or...the cd key stops working for some reason cause some pirate stole it, that happened a few times. That pissed me off so much...digital is the only way to go
    [Deleted User]MaxBacon

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  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,505
    edited February 2018
    This is the ESRB's attempt to avoid government stepping in while doing as little as possible.

    Anyone who expected a different response from the ESRB at this point hasn't been paying attention.
    AeanderIselinCoolitTacticalZombeh

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  • UngoodUngood Member LegendaryPosts: 6,024
    ESRB does rate online games, for the content of the game itself, IE: it notes if the game contains alcohol, smoking, adult images, etc. It does not cover the actions of other players however.
    Torval
    Egotism is the anesthetic that dullens the pain of stupidity, this is why when I try to beat my head against the stupidity of other people, I only hurt myself.
  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 21,410
    edited February 2018
    Ungood said:
    ESRB does rate online games, for the content of the game itself, IE: it notes if the game contains alcohol, smoking, adult images, etc. It does not cover the actions of other players however.
    Standing Stone Games (formerly Turbine) ESRB statement for LotRO is pretty clear about this too. Just pointing out that at least some publishers have been open and clear about their ratings and what it covers.
    Ungood
    traveller, interloper, anomaly, iteration


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