As the association of loot boxes and gambling continue to spark controversy, Apple is implementing a new requirement to every app submitted that has randomized items for purchase.
If you go to the developer review guidelines, it now lists the following: “Apps offering “loot boxes” or other mechanisms that provide randomized virtual items for purchase must disclose the odds of receiving each type of item to customers prior to purchase.”
This means you should know the risk you’re taking before you press the purchase button. Apple’s disclosure requirements are similar to those in China, where games like Overwatch have to list the odds. Earlier this year, the ESRB (the industry-created ratings group) declared that it doesn’t see loot boxes as gambling. Still, with more games turning to them for extra monetization, such as Star Wars: Battlefront II that temporarily removed them after backlash, regulation of randomized items continues to be a hot topic.
Time will tell if this will carry over to console gaming or if stricter regulations will be put into place.
Loot boxes have certainly dominated gaming this year, and it hasn’t been pretty. Consumers have voiced their concerns, and this looks like a step in the right direction. While revealing the odds certainly doesn’t crack down on behavior, at least people know the risk they’re taking every time they put money down on these. Regulations must be in place to ensure that this tactic isn’t abused. On the one hand, it allows publishers to make more money to pour into improving their games and taking on new projects, but it also shouldn’t take advantage of fans by overuse or unfairly stacking the odds against them. You have a right to know what you’re putting your money into, so you can decide if it’s a choice you want to make.