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 …

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

5 Readers Commented

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  1. Just Another Gamer on December 26, 2017

    No wonder Games like Paladins are moving over to China.. China has no such Laws there. It all makes sense now..

  2. Abaz on December 24, 2017

    Are you real? Like do you poop and eat and stuff? Because I can’t imagine a real person ragging on people who have valid concerns about loot boxes. you don’t have an issue with loot boxes, but people complaining about abusive, manipulative, and expertly crafted addiction engines, seems like crying?

    Get a life. A real one.

  3. Someguy on December 23, 2017

    It’s still gambling and they’re still peddling it to minors.

  4. juice on December 21, 2017

    The same people crying about loot boxes are the same people who keep buying into them.

  5. Nik on December 21, 2017

    This won’t change anything. If someone wants rare thing- he’ll gamble for it.
    At the very end, they can lie about odds, nobody will know the difference.
    But at least it’s some steps to right directions. F* loot boxes