Apple has been served with a class action lawsuit pertaining to the use of loot boxes in many games on the App Store. Apple Insider reports that a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleges that Apple is “promoting addictive gambling as entertainment for children and families” in a manner “Not unlike Big Tobacco’s ‘Joe Camel’ advertising campaign.”
A named plaintiff in the case, Rebecca Taylor, has argued that her son “spent at least $25 in iTunes gift cards and his parents’ money on loot boxes for Supercell’s Brawl Stars.” Other games mentioned in the complain include Mario Kart Tour, FIFA Soccer, and Roblox. The suit seeks “restitution and disgorgement [i.e., payment] of the revenues wrongfully retained as a result of Apple’s wrongful conduct,” as well as preventing Apple from continuing to offer loot boxes in apps in its store.
While the App Store does require games with randomized loot boxes to disclose their odds, there is nothing that requires a game to disclose that it sells loot boxes in its description. Apple also allows software developers to age-rate their own products, which likely takes things like sex or violence into account, but not monetization systems.
If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say this lawsuit isn’t likely to go anywhere — mostly because of the well-funded Apple legal team, which has likely dealt with challenges like this before — but also because there are larger entities, notably the governments of several nations, that have been taking aim on loot boxes over the past few years. If any changes are to be made, I’d wager it’s more likely to come from them. Then we might see the lawsuits come.