Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft will be required to disclose loot box odds on products that use them soon

The ESA says the big three have committed to new policies expected to be implemented next year

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • August 10, 2019 at 8:32 a.m. PDT

Loot boxes in video games have seen an increase in popularity in recent times as downloadable content, frequent updates, and free-to-play models have become staples in the industry. Being able to slap down your cash for a chance at scoring exclusive items, colors, costumes, and the like is an enticing concept, but with their implementation also quickly comes concern.

When it comes to using real money for loot boxes, things can get dicey very quickly, and gaming companies continue to try and put policies into place that benefit everyone involved. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) recently announced that three major companies — Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony — have all committed to new policies that require them to divulge loot box odds on any products that use them going forward.

The ESA's chief counsel of tech policy Michael Warnecke made the announcement earlier this week at the Federal Trade Commission's Inside the Game workshop. After recapping some of the previous steps made to help regulate in-game spending, Warnecke noted that the ESA had more up their sleeve.

"I'm pleased to announce this morning that Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony have indicated to ESA a commitment to new platform policies with respect to the use of paid loot boxes in games that are developed for their platform," Warnecke said. "Specifically, this would apply to new games and game updates that add loot box features. And it would require the disclosure of the relative rarity or probabilities of obtaining randomized virtual items in games that are available on their platforms."

These policies are expected to go into effect in 2020, the ESA says. The organization has released a list of its members that have committed to disclose loot box odds on all new games by the end of 2020.

Those who have pledged consist of Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Bethesda, Bungie, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and Wizards of the Coast.

A number of companies have not yet committed to these polices, but two in particular that are relevant to us here in the fighting game community include Capcom and Riot Games.

When it comes to traditional loot boxes in modern fighting games, there aren't many major examples that come to mind. Street Fighter 5 does have its Fighting Chance mode — a loot box-style system that lets you use tickets to obtain content — but these are only accessible through in-game currency, called Fight Money.

Bandai Namco and Arc System Works' Dragon Ball FighterZ has a similar feature in its capsule shop. This acts similarly to Fighting Chance, both in its content distribution and not requiring actual money for access.

As we move closer to the next generation of gaming, it will be interesting to see if fighting games adopt the full-on loot box systems we see in place in other genres.

Source: Photo credit: Warner Bros., via Movieclips.

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