ESRB to Label Games Containing Microtransactions

Just days after Hawaii Congressman Chris Lee posted a video of his hearing with lobbyists from the video game industry, the Electronic Safety & Ratings Board (ESRB) announced a change in the way video games are labeled. Starting soon, games that contain microtransactions will have “In-Game Purchases” written on their label.

When Lee asked the representative for the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) how parents could know what games contain microtransactions, the lobbyist was forced to admit the ESRB does not provide this information. Since posting the video five days ago, it has been seen over 41,000 times.

The ESRB responded Tuesday in the form of an announcement on Twitter, stating they will add new labels to games with loot boxes and other forms of microtransactions, along with new tools that allow parents to monitor their childrens’ gaming habits.

Parents and gamers alike have been calling for the ESRB to take action regarding microtransactions for the past year. The conversation is driven by the accusation that these mechanisms constitute a form of gambling, which has drawn the attraction of governments and regulators around the world.

Will the ESRB’s move to label games and provide tools for parents be enough to quiet the opposition? Since microtransactions have proven to be an excellent way of raking in revenue, almost every new game released includes them in some form.

A growing number of politicians argue that until the ESRB sets clear regulations on in-game transactions, publishers will continue their rush to earn as much money from children’s gaming habits as possible.

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