The European video game rating system, PEGI, will start adding a label to physical games indicating whether or not there are in-game purchases. Digital games already have “in-game purchases” in their descriptions, when applicable.
According to the official PEGI website, in-game purchases are described as “new content, game functionality, features and/or upgrades for a particular game or app” that require real money or virtual currency that can be gained through real-money. The site lists some examples, including:
– Coins, points, diamonds, etc.: these are examples of in-game currency which can be redeemed for content, features, upgrades etc.
– Levels/maps: certain extra levels or areas inside a game’s universe may be unlocked via a digital purchase.
– Characters: new characters with varying skillsets can be acquired to play the same game again, each time with a different approach.
– Weapons/tools: a game will give a player a standard set of equipment, tools or weapons to progress in the game. Yet the game may offer other tools with increased functionality, making it easier to complete certain parts of the game.
– Appearance upgrades: these are items – not necessarily functional – that can be worn by an avatar or be added to virtual belongings like cars, bikes or houses. Examples include all kinds of clothing, tattoos, jewelry, decals, numberplates, etc.
One common concern is the way this label lumps all purchases together. For the most part, the community has embraced both free and paid DLC. Loot boxes, however, remain a topic of controversy. Now, the government’s involvement in the matter may become controversial too. Warning about in-game purchases is becoming commonplace, as the ESRB made the same decision not long ago. But will this solve the loot box problem? Only time will tell.
Additionally, one wonders how this will affect what parents allow their kids to play. Especially considering over half of parents let their kids play 18+ video games. Will this new label be ignored, misunderstood, or genuinely help inform consumers?
How do you feel about this new label? Let us know in the comments below.