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European ratings board introduces 'Paid Random Items' rating label for video games

Paul Lanois
16/04/2020
The European ratings board, known as Pan European Game Information (PEGI), has just launched a new rating to inform users when a video game includes 'lootboxes' – or “paid random items”.
 
Accordingly, game publishers now have to include a notice whenever in-game purchases include random items (such as loot boxes or card packs). The notice would state that the game "Includes Paid Random Items" and would appear on physical packaging and on digital storefronts. 

The new rating will be applied to games containing randomized elements, regardless of whether or not the items are purchasable with real world money or in-game currency.

This notice comes in addition to the notice logo indicating the presence of in-game purchases that PEGI has been assigning since September 2018.

Here are some examples showing how the notice will appear on game packaging:



Here is how PEGI defines "paid random items":

Paid random items are a particular form of optional in-game purchases: they comprise all in-game offers to purchase digital goods or premiums where players don’t know exactly what they are getting prior to the purchase (e.g. loot boxes, card packs, prize wheels). Depending on the game, these items may be purely cosmetic or they may have functional value: they can include additional characters, outfits and other appearance upgrades, but also tools or weapons, etc. They may unlock extra levels, add new skills or provide performance upgrades. For the purpose of this descriptor, “paid” random items are those that can be purchased directly with real money and/or those that can be exchanged for an in-game virtual currency that itself can be purchased directly with real money.

In the United States, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) also announced that it is introducing a new rating designed to inform players when games include randomized items in-game purchases. According to the ESRB, the new "In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items)" rating will be assigned to any game that contains in-game offers to purchase digital goods or premiums with real world money (or with virtual coins or other forms of in-game currency that can be purchased with money) and where the player does not know prior to purchase which specific digital goods or premiums will be granted.



The rating "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, mystery awards and more. Games that have the In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items) notice may also include other non-randomized paid elements.

Both the ESRB and PEGI have announced that they are currently working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic and are not expecting any notable delays in their schedules.
 
Please review our Covid-19 hub for updates and get in touch if you require further information.

 

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