Microtransactions are becoming more and more common these days, and they aren't just limited to free-to-play games anymore. Many AAA titles have been criticised for asking consumers to fork out for a full price tag, only to find that you then need to spend more to get ahead of the pack. Of course, not all games with microtransactions are guilty of this -- many simply offer cosmetic items like character skins that don't impact at all on the gameplay.
Regardless of their use in each game, PEGI - the game ratings board for Europe - will be adding a new content descriptor to game boxes that will warn buyers of in-game purchases. It already provides a similar warning on digital storefronts, but the firm wants to introduce it on physical copies too, and plans to do so before the year is out.
Managing director of PEGI, Simon Little, says that it's important to inform people about microtransactions, whether they purchase physically or digitally. "Purchase offers within games has become a broad phenomenon, and it is necessary to provide the same level of consumer information on both physical and digital releases. Considering that physical releases are an important part of the market, this was an important gap to fill."
He adds that it's particularly important for parents who may not be aware: "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."
It seems like a sensible move to us, as although a lot of in-game purchases are inconsequential in terms of what they offer, there's the potential for damage to be done if parents don't know about this controversial new trend. What do you think about this approach? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.