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  Game makers to self regulate BUT will be effectively banned if they don't do what he says...

US state lawmaker calls for games with loot boxes to be given a 21+ age rating


Link Here 1st December 2017
generic 21Hawaii State Representative Sean Quinlan has advocated for self-regulation of loot boxes by the video game industry whilst also suggesting that such games should carry a 21+ age rating.

He said that ultimately, it's best for the industry to self-police. The ideal solution would be for the game industry to stop having gambling or gambling-like mechanics in games that are marketed to kids... BUT ... he believes games makers should be held accountable. The ESRB would need to enforce higher-grade ratings and other labels to distinguish games that rely on predatory monetization. As an example, he said that the ESRB could say that if a game has loot crates, it gets a 21-plus rating.

The Entertainment Software Association is proving resistant, however. Their response ran along the same lines as many publishers, asserting that loot boxes are a voluntary feature and that the gamer makes the decision in regards to their purchase .

 

  Playing a long game...

Belgium's minister of justice is seeking to ban loot boxes from computer games


Link Here 22nd November 2017
Belgium flagLoot boxes are used to monetise games by allowing gamers to buy items that will prove useful in the game. The games designers seem to favour a lucky dip approach to the goodies that are sold leading to accusations of gambling as some loot boxes may prove better than others.

This week Belgium's Minister of Justice has deemed that the selling of loot boxes should be classed as gambling.

This comment comes after Belgium's Gaming Commission launched an investigation into loot boxes last week stating, The mixing of money and addiction is gambling.

Belgium's Minister of Justice Koen Geens has also weighed in on the issue and said:

Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child.

Geens has stressed he is looking to have features such as look boxes banned in Belgium when the user does now know what they are receiving when they purchase. Geens noted that a ban will take time as he will have to proceed with the ban via Europe.

 

  Ruiner release ruined...

US games raters change the rules to require online games to submit to expensive rating fees should they subsequently want to release special editions on physical disks


Link Here 11th November 2017
esrb logoIn the US video games sold on disk have to pay for a rating from the ESRB. The fees are not published but is seems that they are quite expensive and are related to development budgets.

Online games do not require such a rating from the ESRB. However there is a bit of a crossover, as established online games have been creating special edition releases on disk.

However the ESRB has now changed the rules and all games require an ESRB rating no mater how they are sold. Thankfully the ratings for online will be free but game producers will now have to pay for special edition releases of initially online games. The ESRB is offering a discounted price of $3000 for this subsequent rating but this still seems expensive enough to make special edition releases uneconomic.

Sony has announced that it will be enforcing ESRB ratings requirements before allowing games on to its various console platforms.

kotaku.com.au have cited an example where the new ESRB requirements have led to the cancelling of a planned release.

Ruiner, a violent cyberpunk shooter that arrived digitally on PS4 in late September, was originally going to have a physical disc version released in the future. Developed by Reikon Games and published by Devolver Digital, Ruiner had come up on the radar of Special Reserve Games, who had previously put out physical editions of Absolver, Shadow Warrior 2, and Strafe .

These packages often included not just hard copies of the game, but also art books, statues, and other boondoggles. Special Reserve Games planned to do the same with Ruiner until it became apparent that new rules being handed down by Sony would make the project prohibitively expensive.

In a statement on Twitter in late October, Special Reserve wrote:

In late August, the ESRB announced a new mandate for all physical releases across all consoles would soon be required, and shortly after we announced our intention to produce Ruiner , we received word that this mandate would be applied to it and future new game releases.

The process of obtaining this rating comes with a fee that puts the production costs for new releases like Ruiner out of the acceptable range for us to produce physical discs for PS4. This decision was agonizing, and we have tried multiple ways to reach a compromise, but sadly, we have had to change our plans to produce our intended collector edition PS4 discs for Ruiner .

 

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