The video game industry provides consumers with information and tools to control their game experience.

Consumers deserve to know the key features of a game before they buy it, including whether that game offers in-game purchases. That is why all video games published on game consoles and sold in stores and digital storefronts in the U.S. display ratings assigned by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), which include notices about the presence of in-game purchases and other key interactive features. In addition to the ESRB rating information, publishers provide additional disclosures about randomized virtual items. Taken together, players, parents and caregivers can use this information in conjunction with the platform’s player and parental controls to set spending limits or to avoid games with in-game purchases altogether.

In-game purchases provide consumers with a way to purchase the additional content and features that they want in their video games and skip what they don’t—all while keeping the initial purchase price of games moderate or, in some cases, free.

Spending Controls 

All three of the major console platforms, plus PC and mobile devices, have the ability to manage spending in games available on those platforms. Depending upon the platform, the user can set spending limits or block spending entirely. In fact, when it comes to child accounts, some platforms have a default spending limit set to zero. Additionally, each of the console platforms have a simple-to-use companion mobile app that enables parents to control and monitor remotely from their smartphone what, when and with whom their children play.

Voluntary Commitment to Disclose Probabilities

When players purchase randomized virtual items, they always receive something that they can use in the game. Still, some consumers have found it helpful to know what the odds or probabilities are for obtaining more sought-after items, similar to how a pack of baseball cards might disclose the odds of getting a premium foil card. To respond to this concern, all three of the console makers and many of the leading publishers made a voluntary commitment to provide enhanced transparency about randomized in-game purchases, starting in 2020. Specifically, they committed to disclose the relative rarity or probability of obtaining randomized virtual items in new or updated games that offer that purchase experience.

ESRB Rating Information

The ESRB rating system includes disclosures for various Interactive Elements that might be present in a given game, including whether a game incorporates “in-game purchases.” These disclosures appear on product packaging, advertisements, websites and wherever games are downloaded or sold.

The ESRB assigns one of two disclosures depending upon the type of in-game purchases offered in a game:

  1. In-Game Purchases: Contains in-game offers to purchase digital goods or premiums with real world currency, including but not limited to bonus levels, skins, music, virtual coins and other forms of in-game currency, subscriptions, season passes and upgrades (e.g., to disable ads).
  2. In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items): Contains in-game offers to purchase digital goods or premiums with real world currency (or with virtual coins or other forms of in-game currency that can be purchased with real world currency) for which the player doesn’t know prior to purchase the specific digital goods or premiums they will be receiving (e.g., loot boxes, item packs, mystery awards). 

Key Issues

Artificial Intelligence

The video game industry has been using artificial intelligence for decades to help create games and improve the player experience. New AI tools have the potential to drive further innovation.

Digital Wellness

Billions of people globally, of all ages and backgrounds, play video games in a healthy, balanced way.


Competitive video gaming creates jobs, spurs economic growth and encourages tourism.

First Amendment

Freedom of expression helps ensure the creativity and innovation of video games.

Inclusion & Belonging

When players see characters and stories that reflect our diverse society, we can expand their understanding, challenge stereotypes, and foster empathy.

Intellectual Property

Strong intellectual property laws promote creativity, promote innovation and protect the investments that make video games possible.

Player Safety

The industry is an innovator in online safety, investing in the development and continual evolution of safety features, putting the player community first.


The video game industry provides consumers with transparency, choice and control when it comes to managing personal information.

Right to Repair

Right to repair mandates present unique security and piracy risks to the video game ecosystem.

Subscription Services

Subscription-based models save consumers money, provide predictability and allow customized experiences.


Fair and open access to international markets fuels the industry’s potential for growth.


Video game companies work diligently to attract and employ the best talent available to continue growing the industry and contributing to the U.S. economy.