Both Epic Games and THQ Nordic have added to the current loot box regulations discussion, with Epic continuing its policy in making loot boxes more transparent and THQ Nordic saying, "We do not plan to implement casino-styled loot box mechanics in our games."
On Wednesday, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced that Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are all committed to new regulations — as of 2020 — that would require new games released on their platforms to disclose the odds of loot boxes. Several major publishers, who are also members of the ESA, pledged to the same rules including Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Bethesda, Bungie, EA, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and Wizards of the Coast.
However, Epic Games, another ESA member, has not committed to that pledge and instead has opted to continue its own policy in making loot box mechanics found in its games more transparent. This week, Epic and Psyonix announced that randomised Loot Crates are being removed from Rocket League later this year, in favour of Fortnite Save the World's X-ray Llamas. In Fortnite, when purchasing a Llama, players are told what exactly can be found inside, meaning the consumer knows what they are buying.
Epic told gamesindustry.biz this same policy would continue for all of its future titles:
"Earlier this year, the Fortnite Save the World team made a change that showed players every item that they would get in a paid llama before opening it," the statement reads. "Earlier this week, the team at Psyonix announced a similar change coming later this year to paid crates in Rocket League. Going forward, we're committed to the same transparency for player purchases in all Epic Games titles."Another ESA member has taken a much different approach. THQ Nordic has not committed to the pledge either and stated on Twitter that it was not asked by the ESA for a statement on the topic — most likely as it has not published a single game with loot boxes. THQ Nordic went further and said it did not plan to add any "casino-styled" mechanics to any of its games.
Loot boxes have been continuously hitting the headlines, with discussions surrounding gambling and the potential harm they pose to children. The US Federal Trade Commission held a workshop on these issues which heard academics discuss their concerns about the mechanic, and consumer advocates claiming that disclosing odds wasn't enough.
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