We’ve been saying for a while that game developers will have to find a way to curb their voracious loot box appetites or the government will do it for them. Maybe we forgot about the third option — that virtual storefronts could step in and, if not force developers to change their ways, at least force them to be a little more open and honest.
The guidelines for placing a piece of software into the App Store have recently been updated, and they contain a rather important paragraph. It’s under section 3.1.1 for Payments/In-App Services and reads as follows:
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.
That doesn’t forbid or restrict the sales of loot boxes in any way, but it’s still obviously a big step. The first thing that comes to mind is a game like Hearthstone, which is available in the App Store, as it had to do in China. Plenty of other card games in the App Store, like Eternal and Shadowverse, will likely have to follow suit, though it’s not yet known how quickly the games will need to release their odds to remain in compliance.
And if you’re thinking, “Well, I don’t play games on the iPhone, so this doesn’t affect me,” don’t be so sure. Other platforms, such as the Google Play Store and Steam, are certainly watching to see how this all pans out, alongside keeping an eye on the various regulations being discussed in the halls of government. On the other hand, I think we can all agree that Electronic Arts won’t be doing anything with Origin …