Apple tells App Store devs to disclose loot box odds in new review guidelines

By James Billcliffe, Thursday, 21 December 2017 14:38 GMT

Apple has updated its App Store review guidelines to include a subsection telling developers to disclose the odds of getting different types of in-game items from loot boxes in their games.

This news was highlighted by industry analyst Daniel Ahmad on Twitter, who likened the new rules to Chinese regulations which came into force in May, 2017.

In China, this kind of legislation has not forced everyone into revealing the odds of obtaining randomised items in their games though, with some players accusing companies of looking to find loopholes in the system.

Most notably, Hearthstone stopped selling packs of cards in China altogether, instead offering arcane dust – which is used to craft cards – for sale and rewarding players with “free” packs based on how much dust they purchased.

However if these rules are enforced on a larger scale, it may force developers and publishers to confront the issue more openly.

The legitimacy of loot boxes and microtransaction economies is one of the hottest topics in gaming right now, and is starting to attract the attentions of both the mainstream media and legislative bodies.

Last week, the UK Gambling Commission expressed concern in their annual report that children as young as 11 were being introduced to gambling through CS:GO weapon skins. While in November, French Senator Jérôme Durain said that loot boxes, “require special attention from the public authorities”.

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