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Loot box drop rates to be disclosed for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo consoles

Three major gaming console makers will require publishers to declare the drop rates for any loot boxes on their games from next year, amid concerns the feature promotes addiction.

Loot boxes are virtual items which gamers can purchase to obtain unknown items within the game itself and have been criticised as a form of gambling, especially for children playing these games.

Although the UK’s gambling watchdog told a parliamentary inquiry in July that it did not believe in-game content such as FIFA Ultimate Team player packs were covered by its remit, it said there were “significant concerns” about them.

Image: Games including FIFA’s Ultimate Team use loot boxes

Following a statement by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the trade body for the video games industry, console makers Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have pledged to force game makers to disclose the likelihood of particular items being discovered in loot boxes.

ESA stated the companies would “require paid loot boxes in games developed for their platforms to disclose information on the relative rarity or probability of obtaining randomised virtual items”.


Nintendo stated: “Ensuring that our customers can make informed choices when they play our games is very important.

“As part of our ongoing efforts in this area, Nintendo will require disclosure of drop rates in Nintendo Switch games that offer randomised virtual items for purchase, such as loot boxes.

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“This requirement will apply to all new games and includes updates to current games that add loot boxes through in-game purchases.”

Sony added: it would be supporting “industry efforts to disclose the probability of obtaining randomised virtual items, known as loot boxes”.


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