Policy Positions

In-Game Purchases

Video games evolve over time in fresh and exciting ways to create stories and experiences that delight consumers, including refreshed content added post-launch. In-game purchases help make this possible.

Today’s video games feature expansive worlds that evolve over time in fresh and exciting ways, creating ever-changing stories and experiences that delight consumers. Unlike decades past, where the full extent of the game was limited to the software in the box, publishers today routinely provide online enhancements: updated team rosters, additional kingdoms to explore, refreshed inventories of virtual items, seasonal events and daring new missions.

Modern video games offer a wealth of new content post-launch and live services to connect players across the world. Even so, the purchase price of most games has remained relatively static over the past decade. In-game purchases make additional content and ongoing online services possible in a way that provides consumers the option to pay for what they want and skip what they don’t—all while keeping the initial purchase price of games moderate or, in some cases, free.

At the same time, the video game industry ensures that consumers, and especially parents, are aware of the availability of in-game purchases and offers tools to limit or prevent monetary transactions. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), which rates video games and provides information on the game’s content, ensures that every video game with in-game purchases is labeled appropriately. Video game consoles also offer parental controls that enable players to limit in-game spending. To learn more about how to control optional in-game features, visit www.parentaltools.org.

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