The ESRB steps up its euphemism game with a new way to call out loot boxes

The ESRB steps up its euphemism game with a new way to call out loot boxes “Includes Random Items” – that’s the new descriptor the ESRB is adding to its “In-Game Purchases” warning text on videogames. It’s meant to call out when a game features randomized loot boxes, card packs, or prize wheels. The group has been on the forefront of doing everything it can to prop up loot boxes as a legally and morally fun way to enhance games. It’s not gambling, the ESRB has pointedly reminded everyone. It’s opt-in random rewards. “According to research, parents are far more concerned about their child’s ability to spend real money in games than the fact that those in-game purchases may be randomized.” The ESRB introduced the “In-Game Purchases” text in 2018, so why did it take the ESRB so long to add a descriptor for loot boxes? Surely, the fact that some high-profile games have started stepping away from loot boxes had nothing to do with it.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Missed the chance to create a “pride and accomplishment” label.

Is a dangeous game. If the ESBR don’t work on protecting childrens, and inform parents. Politicians could step-up and do themselves, and the nobody want the governement messing with stuff.

I forgot where I read it, but there was some ruling (somewhere) that said that lootboxes in games should detail the exact chance of obtaining each and every item, I thought that was at least some improvement - that obviously isn’t followed anywhere that I can recall.

This ESRB “Sticker” is just … nonsense.

Well, even that is a lot more descriptive than the labels they choose… So, yeah, no, they can go to same hell as other opt-in rewards industry. Say, health insurance companies.

In Belgium, and in another country I can’t recall. They can do whatever they want elsewhere.

I’m perfectly fine with random lootboxes, so long as you can’t spend real money on them. Barring that, the RNG nature feeds the whole dangerously addictive skinner box mechanism.


Yeah, it was China. I don’t think Belgium actually specified you have to declare the odds, although it did cite the opacity of the RNG as a factor in its decision that (many) lootboxes were gambling…

Google and Apple app stores also require disclosure of odds before purchase.

Can we have loot boxes on Qt3, too, please? Maybe we can “win” special emoticons or something?