Apple has changed its guidelines this week to require mobile games with loot boxes to disclose the odds of receiving items.
The precise wording covers loot boxes and “other mechanisms that provide randomised virtual items or purchase must disclose the odds of receiving each type of item to customers prior to purchase”.
Numerous top grossing mobile games use loot boxes or gacha mechanics to entire users to spend money.
The use of this type of monetisation has sparked similar regulations in countries such as Japan and China to what Apple is now imposing in the West: developers have for a while now been required to display the odds of getting items through such mechanics.
Vague new guidelines
Apple’s updated guidelines are not clear on precisely how and where developers should display these odds. It’s also unclear whether games already released will have to abide by the new rules.
For what it’s worth, we’ve reached out to Apple for clarification.
The issue of loot boxes has been a hot topic in the games industry during the last few months.
While they have been around for years, the implementation in certain premium-priced triple-A games, particularly but not exclusively Star Wars: Battlefront II, has sparked the ire of many consumers and critics.
The furore has seen Belgium's Gaming Commission declare loot boxes a form of gambling and calls for a ban on the monetisation model, while recently the UK Gambling Commission has said it’s in discussion with developers over the issue.