There are a lot of different viewpoints out there on how loot boxes should be regulated. One of the least controversial, it seems, is the notion that companies should have to disclose the odds of obtaining items in their paid loot boxes. While such a regulation does not exist in Korea, that doesn’t meant companies can’t run afoul of the law for being a little sketchy about how they advertise their loot boxes.
Case in point: Nexon’s recent “Celebrity Count” promotion for Sudden Attack. The game challenged players to obtain 16 items from loot boxes that, when put together, would confer significant benefits. The problem was that, while Nexon said the 16 items were obtainable via random chance — technically true — their rarity varied, a point that was not made obvious in marketing. In fact, some had about a 0.5% chance of dropping from a loot box.
That raised the ire of the Korean Fair Trade Commission, which hit Nexon, Netmarble Games, and NextFloor with a series of fines totaling over 1 billion Korean won — about $935,000 — and a promise not to employ such tactics in the future. The fine was the largest ever handed out under Korea’s Electronic Commerce Act.
The loot boxes cost 900 KRW ($0.84) apiece, and the FTC pointed to an instance of one user spending 460,000 KRW ($430) to obtain all the game pieces. That works out to over 500 loot boxes purchased.
While I found this news on several sites, I mostly based this article on the write-up on Casino News Daily. Yes, that’s right, a casino site is reporting on gaming loot boxes. Take that for what you will.