One of the many frustrations of both free-to-play and fully priced games in 2016 is the prevalence of loot boxes, with titles such as Call of Duty and Overwatch locking weapons, skins and abilities within in-game chests or crates whose contents are randomly selected. This encourages users to invest more and more into the game to acquire specific content that cannot be found through regular play. Such loot boxes can be found on both the aforementioned console releases but are also everywhere on the App Store, from Ultimate Team Packs in FIFA Mobile (Free) to chests in Clash Royale (Free), and while similar purchases seem to sell extremely well, many are growing frustrated by the lack of transparency from loot boxes. Cynics of such monetisation mechanics will be pleased to hear that today the Chinese government have passed legislation that requires the name, property, content, quantity, and draw probability for any item within a loot box or equivalent to be explicitly stated on a website, or on the in-game store.
Despite the obvious negatives of a government directly interfering with game development – hopefully this doesn’t set a precedent and snowball out of control – this new legislation should be good news for gamers both within China and outside of the region. As many mobile games especially have a significant Chinese user base, many of the most popular titles on the App Store will have to display the draw probability for loot boxes, which will likely extend to Western stores as well. Even if developers only cite such information on Chinese websites for the game, the data is still accessible and will likely be translated, so if you wanted to know the chance of pulling a Team of the Week Ozil card in FIFA, the developers will have to state it one way or another. Regardless of the new legislation, loot boxes will likely be as popular as ever, but at the very least these new changes should give players a little more insight to what they’re likely not going to get when they spend money on such purchases. Let us know your thoughts on this new law, and loot boxes in general, in the comment section below.