Sen. Hassan also wrote an open letter to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) in early 2018 asking the board to collect data on the use and revenue generated by micro-transactions in video games. The ESRB is responsible for providing an age rating for new games based on their content. As of February 2018, games rated by the ESRB carry an “in-game purchases” label when micro-transactions are present.
The Entertainment Software Association, which operates the ESRB and represents the political interests of American video game companies, says parents already have tools to control their child’s online spending. ESA CEO and Acting President Stanley Pierre-Louis issued the following statement in response to Sen. Hawley’s comments:
“Numerous countries, including Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, determined that loot boxes do not constitute gambling. We look forward to sharing with the senator the tools and information the industry already provides that keeps the control of in-game spending in parents’ hands. Parents already have the ability to limit or prohibit in-game purchases with easy to use parental controls.”
To learn more about the tools ESRB provides for parents to monitor their children’s games, visit parentaltools.org.