This new label for loot boxes and card packs will be listed on the back of physical games and on digital store listings, as said in PEGI’s new announcement. PEGI has already been assigning the descriptor for “in-game purchases” since September 2018. America’s ratings board, the ESRB, confirmed it will be implementing the same changes.
Paid random items are described by PEGI as follows:
. . .in-game offers to purchase digital goods or premiums where players don’t know exactly what they are getting prior to the purchase (e.g. loot boxes, card packs, prize wheels). Depending on the game, these items may be purely cosmetic or they may have functional value: they can include additional characters, outfits and other appearance upgrades, but also tools or weapons, etc. They may unlock extra levels, add new skills or provide performance upgrades.
Loot boxes have been the subject of major controversy in mainstream news over the last couple of years, with the huge debate of the matter being whether purchasing random loot boxes constituted as a form of gambling. The UK’s NHS even expressed concern over the health of young people, as the service’s boss of mental health explained that loot boxes are setting up children for an addiction to gambling. This new labeling of games containing loot boxes seems to be more informative for parents rather than children, making sure that the guardians of young children know where their money might be going when they see a big Fortnite transaction on their credit card bills.