PEGI has announced videogames with a physical version will soon have an icon on their box to show that they have in-game purchases. The icon, which features a hand holding a credit card, is already used on digital-only games and will now be part of the PEGI rating next to icons about age ratings, violence, drugs, sex, and bad language.
A recent customer survey taken by global market research company Ipsos found that “two in five parents of children that play games indicate that their child spends money in-game.” The icon is intended to inform customers – and parents who are not in the know – that a game offers in-game purchases of virtual goods that can be bought with real money.
The survey also showed that “the vast majority (over eight in ten) have an agreement of some kind about spending,” and that “only 2% of parents do not monitor their children’s spending.” Well, they will now, as the warning will start appearing on game boxes later this year. No more racking up the expenses on granny’s credit card without her knowing, hopefully.
On the official PEGI website, managing director of PEGI S.A Simon Little says: “While we know that parents use different methods to control spending, parental control tools are a very helpful next step in making sure that the overall online experience of the child is safe, including the possibility to control spending.”
Basically, the icon acts as a warning to parents that their child could potentially spend lots of money on in-game accessories should they have access to a certain game. The official PEGI website has a whole page dedicated to explaining in-game purchases and what they are, giving numerous examples.
As comments on Reddit point out, this new icon will mean that developers won’t be able to add in-game purchases and microtransactions as an afterthought when a game has already been released without it going through PEGI’s re-rating system. This means that the microtransaction system must be integrated into the game before it goes out to the public.