Loot boxes are the source of ire for many players who buy them, hoping to get good items that can help them progress in their favorite games. Loot boxes also make massive amounts of money for the game developers, but some lawmakers feel that the loot box is nothing but a form of gambling. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft have announced that they will disclose loot box odds and some leading software makers are onboard.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has announced that the three major console makers will implement new policies that require the disclosure of loot box odds on all three platforms. That includes the Sony PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Xbox One. The odds disclosure policies would apply to new game updates that add loot box features and to new games.
The disclosures required would tell gamers the relative rarity or probabilities of obtaining randomized virtual items in games that are offered on their respective platforms. According to the ESA, "many of the leading video game publishers" will implement a similar approach at the publisher level to give that sort of information to consumers. The goal is to give the consumer enhanced information to make a purchase decision.
The major game publishers that will be disclosing odds for loot boxes include Activision, EA, Blizzard, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Bethesda, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The new disclosure policies for the console makers are aiming to be implemented by 2020 while the software publishers will be disclosing loot box odds by the end of the year. It's interesting that EA is making this move as its legal VP said in June that "surprise mechanics," otherwise known as loot boxes, were "quite ethical."