After a year of increased focus on the impact of loot boxes and microtransactions as core parts of playing video games, PEGI, the European game ratings board, has announced plans to warn of in-game purchases on game boxes as part of their rating system.
The warning will come in the form of a small icon on the box, much like PEGI's sex, violence, or drug use icons, depicting a hand holding a credit card. The idea is to make it easier for parents to tell at a glance if a game includes in-game purchases, so they know to keep an eye on their children and any money they might spend on microtransactions after purchasing the main game.
The icon will not differentiate between loot boxes and more substantial one time purchase DLC content.
PEGI's Simon Little says:
"For a parent who may not be fully familiar with the video games landscape, seeing this simple descriptor on the packaging of a game they consider buying should trigger the reflex of keeping an eye on the gameplay, once the game has been purchased and given to the child. It's basic information, but that's what parents sometimes feel they are lacking."
While this doesn't change much, hopefully giving parents more information at the point of purchase should help increase awareness of the fact a purchase may not be finished when the game disc is brought home. The icon will start being added to boxes later this year.