South Korea's Fair Trade Commission has fined Nexon, Netmarble and NextFloor over the use of randomised in-game items.
As reported by The Korea Herald, the FTC said the companies had deceived customers over the nature of randomised in-game items during certain promotions.
Nexon Korea was told to pay up $887,000, Netmarble $56,000, and NextFloor $4,700. The trio were also told to change their practices.
Nexon Korea we penalised for using the term “random provision” to players during a ‘Celebrity Count’ event in its game Sudden Attack.
The company felt this was enough to suggest to users that items would be provided at random - as well as the odds of obtaining certain items being different.
The FTC however believed the phrase could lead to users thinking there were equal odds of obtaining the items. In some cases the odds of receiving certain items were as low as 0.5 per cent.
It’s been reported that one user spent over $430 on purchasing items during the event.
“We plan to work on obtaining an additional review of this issue in the future,” read a statement from Nexon Korea on the matter.
Netmarble meanwhile received fines for misleading promotions of randomised items in its titles Ma9, Monster Taming and Everybody’s Marble.
The developer has since sent out an apology to users of the three games. It’s unclear whether Netmarble will appeal the fine, however.
Line subsidiary NextFloor was also fined over misling users over item odds in Destiny Child, as well as describing recurring events as a “limited time offer”.
The topic of loot boxes and other similar practices has come under the microscope over the last year, with debate focusing on whether such practices work against players or, at worst, could constitute gambling.