In April 2018, the ESRB rating organization began to label the physical versions of the games. Now, the commission has created another label to inform consumers better about what items are sold in the games — “In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items).”
This label will be set on those games where you can spend real money or premium currency bought for real money on random digital items: loot-boxes, sets, unknown awards, chests, gambling elements and so on. In addition to such microtransactions, the product can offer goods without the element of randomness.
ESRB writes that according to research, parents are more concerned about microtransactions than about whether these purchases are randomized or not. That is why the commission created was a “donation” note for all projects in the first place. However, many consumers and enthusiasts asked ESRB to add a mark for games with random items. The development of the new marker is the reaction of officials to the public’s suggestion.
In the announcement, ESRB also explained why the word “loot-boxes” is not used in the sign. Firstly, the term is not broad enough and does not cover all kinds of random purchases. Secondly, the word “loot-box” itself is well known to gamers, but ordinary consumers may not know it. It’s important for ESRB to make the label as clear as possible.