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ESRB introduces ‘In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items)’ rating

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) started issuing the “In-Game Purchases” rating in April 2018 and have now introduced another rating that expands on the aforementioned called “In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items), which aims at providing more transparency about in-game purchasable items.

The new ESRB rating, In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items), will be assigned to any game that offers in-game purchases — including direct purchases made with real-world currency or items bought using in-game virtual currency, which is purchased using real-world currency — that don’t clearly indicate what the gamer might receive in cases such as loot boxes or mystery items.

According to ESRB, the new rating will help gamers make a more informed decision before buying or downloading a game as they’ll know the nature of the purchases more specifically.

“The In-Game Purchases Interactive Element informs parents and other consumers of when a game offers the ability to purchase additional items without leaving the game. To provide even greater transparency about the nature of in-game items available for purchase, the ESRB will now begin assigning a new Interactive Element: In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items),” ESRB announced.

However, this rating doesn’t mean that all the in-game purchases for that particular title are going to be random, and the game developers can also offer non-randomised items for purchase.

The new rating also does not replace the standalone “In-Game Purchases” rating, which will still be assigned to games that only offer non-randomised items for purchase in-game, which includes things like additional levels, cosmetic items, DLC and expansions, among others.

“In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items) will be assigned to all games that include purchases with any randomized elements, including loot boxes, gacha games, item or card packs, prize wheels, treasure chests, and more. Games that have the In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items) notice may also include other non-randomized paid elements.”

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