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Chinese Law Scrutinizes Loot Boxes

It’s time to crack open the black box on drop rates.

 

Games with randomized loot boxes will be required to reveal their drop rates today in compliance with a new Chinese regulation. These odds must be represented clearly on the game’s official website or in-game. May 1st marks the first day that this law comes into effect, meaning that any game maker operating in the CN region must abide by it. NeoGAF user chillybright posted a translation of this new regulation when it was announced in December, 2016:

“2.6 …Online game publishers shall promptly publicly announce information about the name, property, content, quantity, and draw/forge probability of all virtual items and services that can be drawn/forge on the official website or a dedicated draw probability webpage of the game. The information on draw probability shall be true and effective.

 

2.7 Online game publishers shall publicly announce the random draw results by customers on notable places of official website or in game, and keep record for government inquiry. The record must be kept for more than 90 days. When publishing the random draw results, some measures should be taken place to protect user privacy.”

Some developers have already published their game’s loot box rates. League of Legends, NBA2K Online, FIFA Online 3, and Cross Fire have all revealed their loot box statistics already, while Blizzard’s Overwatch and Hearthstone have been notably silent.

Reddit user /u/NeoThermic posted rough translations for League of Legend’s Chinese loot box rates:

  • Hero shards: 14.61%
  • Skin shards: 45.135%
  • Permanent Heros: 7%
  • Permanent Skin: 29.255%
  • Summoner Icons: 2%

 

These drop rates are only for Chinese regions, so many developers might have different statistics for loot boxes elsewhere. Fans often use empirical evidence (derived from many volunteers sharing the content of loot boxes) to get an estimate of the loot box’s drop rates. This new law increases the transparency for in-game purchases; a common critique of the loot box system is that it’s deceptive and preys on the instinct to gamble. Unlike online casinos and other forms of gambling, however, there is little regulation on loot crates, card packs, or anything in-between.

A stubborn man on a valiant quest to prove he has impeccable tastes. Will defend his favorite games to the death, sword in one hand controller in the other.

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