The world is weird sometimes.
Only yesterday, I wrote a piece about whether downloadable content was good for gaming, discussing the impact that paid DLC and microtransactions have had on the gaming industry, and then today we get news that PEGI—the European game ratings board—is going to start putting a little icon on video game boxes to warn that the game contains in-game purchases for real money.
The idea of this is to make it easier for parents to see if a game that their son or daughter is playing contains in-game purchases, therefore allowing them to keep a closer eye their child’s in-game spending and prevent those regularly reported instances of a child spending thousands of pounds on their parents credit card without permission.
PEGI boss Simon Little said “For a parent who may not be fully familiar with the video games landscape, seeing this simple descriptor on the packaging of a game they consider buying should trigger the reflex of keeping an eye on the gameplay, once the game has been purchased and given to the child. It’s basic information, but that’s what parents sometimes feel they are lacking”.
The icon will come in the form of a hand holding a credit card and will be placed on the box along with PEGI’s already existing warning icons for sex, violence or drugs use. One thing that the icon will not differentiate, is whether the in-game purchases come in the form of paid DLC or microtransactions.
This news comes at a time where in-game purchases and developers and publishers exploits surrounding them cause controversy on a daily basis, and while this is only a small change, it’s important that more tools of moderation like this are put in place to protect people against in-game purchases.
The icon will start being added to boxes later this year, expect to see it on pretty much every game released from then on.