The official artwork for the Overwatch loot box

It doesn't matter if a game is free-to-play, requires a single purchase, or even an ongoing subscription - odds are it has some sort of microtransaction or DLC system. While that is usually fine, there is one particular type of microtransaction that is the most heinous of them all - the nowadays common loot box. Instead of being able to purchase whatever item you desire, you basically have to keep throwing money into an endless pit, all in the hopes of getting lucky and scoring an item with an astronomically low drop rate.

While it might not technically be gambling, it is pretty much gambling in every sense of the word, and as such I am very glad to say that China (of all places) has decided to pass a law that makes loot boxes much more transparent. According to an announcement translated by chillybright over at NeoGAF, China will soon start forcing developers to publicly disclose the drop rate of all items found in loot boxes! Or if you prefer that in legalese:

"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."

Despite giving this a rather serious look I can't see anything at all to complain about. Developers still get to vacuum money out of gullible people that believe they are totally going to be the ones to get that 1% item, while everyone else gets to know what exactly they are spending their money on. I still dislike the entire idea behind the loot box system, but if you can at least have an educated guess as for what item you're going to get, then I suppose that's a compromise I'll just have to live with.

Hopefully this sort of legislation will appear in the West as well, because once this goes live in China I have a feeling most Western companies will just slightly modify Chinese drop rates and then continue obscuring the odds for the rest of their fanbase. And while that might still be a ways away, I am more than happy to see that at least a couple of regions are making good progress.

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