Apple is being sued over the inclusion of games with loot boxes on the App Store.
As reported by Apple Insider, the tech giant was hit with the lawsuit on Friday, June 12th. It was filed through the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Within it, a named plaintiff – Rebecca Taylor – claimed the tech giant has aided gambling and enabled addictive behaviours.
"Not unlike Big Tobacco's Joe Camel' advertising campaign, Apple relies on creating addictive behaviours in kids to generate huge profits for the Company," reads the complaint.
"Over the last four years, Defendant's App Store games have brought in billions of dollars, even though the vast majority of the games are free to download."
Taylor's son has spent money on loot crates for Supercell's Brawl Stars; he also spent at least $25 on an iTunes gift card. However, the child continues to have access to the device. Meanwhile, a variety of games besides Brawl Stars are mentioned in the lawsuit – Mario Kart Tour, FIFA Soccer, and Roblox.
"A large percentage of Apple's revenues from App Store games come from the in-game purchases of what are known in the gaming industry as loot boxes or loot crates," reads the complaint.
"Dozens (if not hundreds) of App Store games rely on some form of Loot Box or similar gambling mechanism to generate billions of dollars, much of it from kids."
However, the primary issue Apple has here is that, while in-app purchases are highlighted, the App Store does not state in the description of a game whether or not it contains loot boxes. If it did, parents would have more control. Although interestingly, the filed suit does not mention the lack of parental controls available on the storefront.
The lawsuit Apple faces is not the first issue to have been raised in regards to loot boxes in games. In recent years, several countries have investigated the in-game purchase option, Belgium has banned loot crates as it falls under gambling.
Earlier this month the UK government called for evidence to help determine whether or not loot boxes can be classed as a form of gambling. Due to growing concerns around the in-game purchases, Epic Games has committed to being transparent about what will be found inside a crate going forward.
As a result of the Fortnite creator's transparency, Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft have pledged to make developers reveal loot box odds for games starting this year.