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ESA "strongly disagrees" with UK DCMS loot box report

Trade group points to promises of odds disclosure as evidence it is "a leader in partnering with parents and players"

When the UK Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee concluded its loot box investigation by recommending (among other things) that loot box sales to children should be banned, trade groups TIGA and PEGI were careful not to contradict the committee too directly. Over in the US, the Entertainment Software Association took a different approach.

"We take seriously the issues raised in the UK Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee report, but strongly disagree with its findings," a representative with the ESA told GamesIndustry.biz. "As demonstrated by the recent announcement of policies regarding the disclosure of the relative rarity or probability of obtaining virtual items in paid loot boxes as well as the robust parental controls that empower parents to control in-game purchases, the video game industry is a leader in partnering with parents and players to create enjoyable video game experiences. In addition, numerous regulatory bodies around the world, including those in Australia, France, Ireland, Germany, and the UK, have come to a conclusion starkly different than that of this committee."

The announcement of policies the ESA statement references was made last month during the Federal Trade Commission's day-long workshop on consumer issues surrounding loot boxes. Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony all committed to mandate loot box odds disclosures on their platforms by the end of 2020. (Apple and Google already mandate such disclosures on the App Store and Google Play store; there are no known requirements to disclose odds for loot boxes in PC games on Steam.)

Prior to the announcement at the FTC workshop, the ESA's most visible action on the matter had been to introduce an in-app purchases label for physical games and launch a website to teach people how to set up parental controls on non-Apple entertainment devices. It took those actions in February of 2018.

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