Germany’s games ratings board creates new labels with warnings about lootboxes, MTX, and online chat

Curse you.

The physical and digital packaging of video games in Germany is going to have a lot more granular detail thanks to updates being applied by the USK, the country’s independent games ratings board, which has unveiled new rating labels that highlight the presence of lockboxes, in-game microtransactions, and online chat.

These new labels hold hands with some updates to the way the board assesses age ratings for games, as it will now take into consideration the inclusion of these features when deciding on a final age rating. The inclusion of lootboxes doesn’t mean an age rating will rise by default, but the USK does explain that it will take into account whether players need to give over sensitive information and whether the publisher already implements protective measures such as parental controls before deciding if a game’s age restriction should be tightened. “A ruling practice on the specific effects of usage risks on the specific age rating will become established over time,” the USK promises.

These changes to game ratings come on the heels of a call by the European Parliament to create a set of rules for the EU intended to protect game-playing consumers, with a particular focus on lootboxes and protecting children. The committee wants to ensure game devs are avoiding “addiction-feeding design” and are considering the “age, rights and vulnerabilities of children” when creating lootboxes.

The committee also wants to make sure that refund policies follow the bloc’s rules, that cancellation of subscriptions is as easy as subscribing to begin with, and that national authorities crack down on third-party exchanges, sales, and betting of in-game items.

source: (1, 2)
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