ESRB, the board which rates all games released in North America, issued a statement to Kotaku today after some raised questions about whether or not loot boxes / supply drops should be given a gambling content descriptor. ESRB says in a statement that they do not believe loot boxes are gambling because they do give players items every time one opens a box, even though you may not like what you get.

“ESRB does not consider loot boxes to be gambling,” said an ESRB spokesperson in an e-mail. “While there’s an element of chance in these mechanics, the player is always guaranteed to receive in-game content (even if the player unfortunately receives something they don’t want). We think of it as a similar principle to collectible card games: Sometimes you’ll open a pack and get a brand new holographic card you’ve had your eye on for a while. But other times you’ll end up with a pack of cards you already have.”

ESRB rates every game that releases in North America with a age rating (Mature, Teen, Everyone) and additional content descriptors. ESRB website states that they do have content descriptors for gambling: Real Gambling or Simulated Gambling. ESRB says, however, those are used only for a game rated Adults Only (A-O, 18+). That rating is rarely ever used and most publishers avoid getting that rating because many retailers in America will refuse to sell the game.

Kotaku says ESRB pointed them to the fact that ESRB does have elemental descriptors where they reveal games do offer in-game Digital Purchases, but those are not necessary shown on the box art itself.

Questions continue to rise about the amount of games that have loot boxes. Destiny 2, Star Wars Battlefront II, and Shadow of Mordor have come under fire these past few weeks for how much the game relies on loot boxes for some items. Call of Duty has had Supply Drop system since Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. While Call of Duty: WWII will have supply drop system, Activision has not announced the specifics on how each will work. They have already confirmed Call of Duty Points will be available for Call of Duty: WWII shortly after the title’s launch in November.

SOURCE: Kotaku

  • Destin

    I’m as against supply drops as the next guy, but you’re an idiot if you’re seriously contending that the ESRB is paid off.

  • RdJokr

    Well, that explains why EA and other publishers are getting away with all this P2W shit. TBH, the supply drops in COD are still fairly tame compared to the shit we’ve seen recently in Battlefront 2.

    • BradyAlucard

      Supply Drops guns are pretty OP, actually, but it’s mostly the drop rate that made Black Ops 3’s system so bad.

      • RdJokr

        Are the guns annoying? Yes. Are they OP? Ehhhh, maybe the XMC.

        • BradyAlucard

          They’re as good as the guns that launched with the game, so that’s what makes it bad. But the HLX-4/PPSH-41/XMC are the best SMG’s in the game.

    • Subaru

      Battlefront 2’s new loot system is just god damn awful, makes me thankful that Activision is yet to go that yet

    • Psychomaggot105

      IKR. I was going to get the game but not anymore. Maybe when it goes on sale I’ll consider it. I just hope the next cod maps are free to everyone and season passes are done differently.

  • Rubenmw3

    U sped. So you can gamble for free then? Because these games let you open these loot boxes for free u moron

    • Elite Predator

      If you add game changing weapons, or any sort of new mechanics in these drops, you want something specific that’s locked behind this crate and you don’t get what you want but you get somebody crappy. How TF is that not gambling in another method?! “Here’s a crappy meaningless emblem you’re never going to put on. ‘Congratulations, now that is a supply drop’. Please feel free to purchase more cod points above the equivalency of the entire game and get more items! ☺” You get lucky to aquire what you want. It’s gambling to the core. It scares me ESRB is twisting this around.

      • GinsuVictim

        Buying CoD points does not increase your chance for better items. You can earn drops in-game and also get a daily bonus.
        You never have to buy supply drops.

        • Elite Predator

          I’m sorry, a majority of players never got to see those weapons in Advanced Warfare and Black Ops III till they dropped contracts. Salvage in IW and MWR which was a step up but not good enough.

        • Elite Predator

          You still don’t get the scam. Since they’re free, why couldn’t we earn them directly in AW and BO III before contracts? Why couldn’t we aquire them from season pass like in Ghosts and the start off of AW! I have nothing left to say you must be blind if you think this system is okay bcuz that’s what it sounds like you are with exactly how I described it. Of course it doesn’t give us a better chance and we can earn them in game but you do realize this system was introduced with the purpose of buying cod points?

          • GinsuVictim

            I don’t think the system is okay, I just think people get too worked up over it. I made the mistake of buying a pack of supply drops back in AW and quickly learned my lesson to never do that again. Sure, there’s still plenty of stuff in AW and BO3 I don’t have, but it doesn’t matter much. I do have pretty much everything I want in IW thank to free drops and salvage.

          • Elite Predator

            Yes and as we’re going along the drops are sticking with the pace of the game this year. I am really nervous about Scorestreak Variants. This is a scary and dark vision Activision is taking. None of this is necessary they just add it in the game with a new way calling it we can earn it with Salvage but it’s really there with a notion if you want it now come buy Supply Drops. Fuck that! There are many in-game loot games filled with variants and different elements without adding a purchasable option to buy crates. I don’t fall for this with Activision.

        • joey

          they should at least be legally required to post the odds of receiving levels of prizes (common, elite, etc.). that in itself would clean things up considerably.

  • Lol okay

  • TheAdversary

    I guess it was past time for me to start hating the gaming industry again. Wonderful way to start, I might add.

  • Diego Diniz

    Pay to Win = it will RUIN the Future of the Games

  • Vikerii

    A flashback to 1994 when the tobacco industry claimed cigarettes were not addictive.

  • Daniel Richardson

    Im not defending supply drops but they are right its not totally gambling. If you play the lotto or scratch offs theres a high chance you wont win and get nothing where in game you are guaranteed to get something.

    • joey

      in doom 2016, you get new guns as you progress. you aquire in-game currency to modify the weapons as you locate secrets and kill certain creatures. it’s perfect and so much fun, part of a nearly flawless game. in COD…well, do i have to even write it?

      screw these greedy companies. like battlefront, cod is essentially a mediocre game that relies on its name and peripherals. they employ sleazy business practices (and compromise the integrity of their product) to extract more and more money from their customers and will try to get away with everything they possibly can. the only reason they’re thinly veiling their wallet-raping system is because of community push-back. so if you’re defending the system or even merely dismissing it, you’d better be getting a paycheck in return. otherwise, you’re arguing against your own interests.

      my solution, btw? charge more for the games in the first place. i know cod is a lost cause, addicted to its supply drop millions. however, for other companies that bless us by basing their decisions solely on what will create the very best gaming experience for players, i’ll happily fork over $100 to $120 dollars. seems completely fair for something that provides hours upon hours of quality entertainment (as opposed to a purposely-elongated grind meant only to herd us toward spending real $ for the mere chance of acquiring things in a reasonable amount of time).

  • Bigi345

    Would this change anything for M rated games? Even if they consider it gambling will they even make it a rule for M rated games such as COD?

  • ToonToons22

    That’s a double standard. Yesterday, I literally saw a scratch-off lottery ticket at the store that said “guaranteed winner” even if you got just $1 out of it. Yet it is still regulated and treated as gambling.

    • forrest1985

      Was about to say exactly the same!

    • Jon

      not the same

    • Sexy Mcgee

      by esrb logic if a slot machine dropped a strand of dog fur every time then it’s not considered gambling since you’re always getting something even if it’s not what you want.

  • BradyAlucard

    I’m done. It should be made illegal.

  • PoonjabMcDaddy

    How many millions do you think people at ESRB were paid off to say this?

    • GinsuVictim

      It’s the truth, though.

  • joey

    yes, because congress and the courts always shy away from legal issues once they’ve been ruled upon by the council that decides whether or not twilight the video game should be rated “e-for-everyone!”


  • forrest1985

    Basically Activision’s version of “digital blind bags” i guess

  • peoplul0

    supply drops are litty;)

  • Unclecoon

    Well rapid fire xmc has officially rebroken search and destroy… its worst then prime vmp/ vesper