Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and others agree to start sharing loot box odds

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Loot box odds disclosure may soon become standard behavior for the videogame industry: The Entertainment Software Association announced today that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo will lay out new policies requiring that all games with paid loot boxes on their platforms disclose the odds of items dropping from them.

Numerous other game publishers have also agreed to implement full disclosure of drop rates in their games, including Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Bethesda, Bungie, Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and Wizards of the Coast. 

"Many other ESA members are considering a disclosure. The disclosure will apply to all new games and updates to games that add such in-game purchases and will be presented in a manner that is understandable and easily accessed," the ESA said in a statement. "Taken together, these disclosures will help reach consumers playing across a variety of games, including PC games and other games delivered outside of the platforms."

The International Game Developers Association called on the games industry to take action on loot boxes late last year, but greater pressure to make moves is almost certainly coming from legislative threats. Belgium and the Netherlands have already cracked down on loot boxes, but the real heat is coming from the much larger and more influential marketplace of the US. Senator Josh Hawley introduced legislation calling for a complete ban on loot boxes in games "designed for kids" earlier this year, which quickly picked up bipartisan support.

As noted by GamesIndustry, a number of ESA members have not yet committed to loot box odds disclosure, including 505 Games, Capcom, CI Games, Deep Silver, Disney, Epic Games, Focus Home Interactive, Gearbox Publishing, GungHo, Intellivision Entertainment, Kalypso, Konami, Magic Leap, NCsoft, Natsume, Nexon, Rebellion, Riot Games, Sega, Square Enix, THQ Nordic, Tencent, and Marvelous. They would be compelled to do so in order to have their games on Sony, Microsoft, and or Nintendo's platforms, however, and some of them may be opting to address loot boxes on their own: Epic-owned Psyonix, for instance, recently announced that it will remove randomized loot boxes from Rocket League by the end of this year. 

A specific date for the implementation of loot box odds disclosure hasn't been locked down, but the ESA said it expects all parties to have it place by the end of 2020.

Thanks, GamesIndustry.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.