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China Hates Blind Loot Boxes, Rules They Should Be Itemized

A new law requires online publishers to list all possibilities, possible quantity and probablility of drops in a box.

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With the popularity of online games in China, rules and regulations are part of the territory. But the country has taken things a step further when it comes to blind loot boxes, wanting publishers to come clean with what could be in the box and hard the items are to get.

The new rules, approved by China's Ministry of Culture (and translated by NeoGAF's chillybright), requires publishers to list all details for blind loot boxes, such as item, properties, quantity and probability of being in the box. So if a box has a loot table of six items, all must be itemized with what they do, how many could be in the box and what the percentage chance of drop is, the latter usually being the most important to gamers. In addition, all information must be displayed on a web page hosted by the publisher, likely on the game's official site. The law applies to both free-to-play and paid ones.

If you want the actual verbiage:

“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.”

The law will take effect on May 1.

Some publishers are very upfront about these types of details, while other publishers leave it to dataminers to go through the code or actually run their own probability tests and publish them. While this is purely for China, it is possible that games that cross geopolitical borders could have the same information, especially when it comes to probability. Expect these publisher pages with loot drop information to be translated in several countires once the rule takes effect.

 

Contributing Editor

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    April 20, 2017 6:05 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, China Hates Blind Loot Boxes, Rules They Should Be Itemized

    • reply
      April 21, 2017 12:44 AM

      Nice, that's a good law, and I'd support its introduction everywhere. All this loot box, card pack, etc. stuff is turning gaming into gambling, and if one can pay real money for such in-game resources, people's addiction will damage them financially. Of course this law won't stop people from being addicts, but it will at least make the gambling part more transparent.

      However, this needs to be enforced not just for publishes, for also for third-party re-sellers, such as CS random weapon skin re-sellers, who can claim to give you a chance of winning top-tier stuff while in reality they always only give you worthless trash-tier stuff.

      • reply
        April 21, 2017 2:07 AM

        Yup. Blind boxes fucking suck.

      • reply
        April 21, 2017 2:57 AM

        Blind loot boxes are 100% ok if none of the system can be purchased for real money. Remove any connection to real money and I wouldn't have a problem with it.

        • reply
          April 21, 2017 7:52 AM

          I think most people are OK with whatever if it's all in-game.

      • reply
        April 21, 2017 3:44 AM

        I have a dirty secret for you, video gaming has been tied to gambling from its inception. It's just in recent years with blind loot boxes and other micro transaction bullshit it has gotten more blatant and brought back the worst aspects of the heyday of the Arcade.

        That said, I agree with you that this is a positive start

    • reply
      April 21, 2017 6:33 AM

      Member gaming before it was mainstream? Member buying a game and getting 100% of the content upfront, being able to play offline, setting up private servers and modding? If a game don't meet these requirements it fundamentally is less value, yet the gambling draw is overwhelming the gamers.

      • reply
        April 21, 2017 7:22 AM

        Pepperidge Farm remembers.

      • reply
        April 21, 2017 7:38 AM

        I member.

        • reply
          April 21, 2017 7:50 AM

          I couldn't help reading that and seeing the iRobot cover with dicks instead of robots.

      • reply
        April 21, 2017 8:01 AM

        I don't member

      • reply
        April 21, 2017 8:01 AM

        The cost has never changed.

        In 1990 a game cart would be 60-70 dollars US. That's the equivalent of 114-128 dollars today. Which is what you'd pay at most for a AAA game plus season pass.

        Difference is now they split it up and release it in waves.

        Not saying I approve of the practice. But value wise, it hasn't changed at all.

        • reply
          April 21, 2017 8:55 AM

          Except cart manufacture was a substantial cost.

          And PC games didn't have the high prices of some carts from the SNES/Genesis era.

          • reply
            April 21, 2017 9:22 AM

            Well cart manufacture cost a lot, but the amount of manpower needed to make a AAA game with modern assets has also raised the cost and time involved with game development. Marketing costs similarly have risen as the need to market more to stand out from the noise is greater. So, while I don't claim to have exact figures I have to imagine the profit margins publishers make have mostly remained similar.

            You are right through about PC games costing less, but so much effort was involved in those days just getting PC games to run that it was very much an if you were in the know kind of situation. Once PC became more viable mainstream platforms the console level prices came with them.

    • reply
      April 21, 2017 9:29 AM

      I wonder if Blizzard is going to keep its drop rates the same in China, or change them slightly so they're not reliable metrics for the rest of the world.

      Granted, the Hearthstone community has basically crowdsourced that data anyway, but still.