The Australian Classification Board (ACB) has updated its guidelines to include a special notice on video game boxes that specifically mentions if it has in-game purchases.
This was brought to light by Reddit user BeforeJam who noticed that ratings for upcoming games like PGA Tour 2K21, Marvel’s Avengers, FIFA 21, and Madden NFL 21 all specifically mention “in-game purchases” as part of their rating. You can see what the new disclaimer looks like here on Amazon Australia.
This development comes after Australia’s government launched multiple inquiries into loot boxes to determine a course of action to protect consumers.
In the United States, the main ratings group–the ESRB–started putting special stickers on video game boxes to denote if a game has in-game purchases and random items for purchase. The ESRB, however, is a self-regulating independent group that works off the advice from the video game industry and trade groups. The ACB, meanwhile, is a government institution.
Microtransactions are popular in many video games–in fact, it is rare for a big AAA game to not have microtransactions in some form. Publishers have taken heat for how they are implemented, and random loot boxes have become less popular in AAA console games in the wake of the Star Wars: Battlefront II controversy. A popular form of microtransactions today is cosmetic items through Battle Pass systems. For example, the Battle Pass for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone is estimated to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars from its microtransactions.