Epic Games And THQ Nordic Weigh In ESA Loot Box Odds Disclosure
Earlier this week, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) released an official statement that Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony will implement policies requiring new games released on their platforms, ‘Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft To Require Loot Box Odds Disclosure’ Loot box drop rates must be shown clearly and be easily accessible, and the requirement will apply to any post-launch updates that introduce the feature.
The policy will take effect in 2020, and publishers including Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Bethesda, Bungie, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Take-Two, Ubisoft, Warner Bros, and Wizards of the Coast have all agreed to the initiative as well. Evidently, Epic Games was not counted among these, but today it affirmed that the company will follow suit.
Both Epic Games and THQ Nordic have added to the current loot box regulations discussion, with Epic continuing its policy in making loot boxes more transparent and THQ Nordic saying:
“We do not plan to implement casino-styled loot box mechanics in our games.”
However, Epic Games, another ESA member, has not committed to that pledge and instead has opted to continue its own policy in making loot box mechanics found in its games more transparent. This week, Epic and Psyonix announced that randomised Loot Crates are being removed from Rocket League later this year, in favour of Fortnite Save the World’s X-ray Llamas. In Fortnite, when purchasing a Llama, players are told what exactly can be found inside, meaning the consumer knows what they are buying.
“Earlier this year, the Fortnite Save the World team made a change that showed players every item that they would get in a paid llama before opening it,”
“Earlier this week, the team at Psyonix announced a similar change coming later this year to paid crates in Rocket League. Going forward, we’re committed to the same transparency for player purchases in all Epic Games titles.”
Loot boxes have been continuously hitting the headlines, with discussions surrounding gambling and the potential harm they pose to children. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held a workshop on these issues which heard academics discuss their concerns about the mechanic, and consumer advocates claiming that disclosing odds wasn’t enough.