Loot crates in video games such as Overwatch have just come under fire by the Chinese government. As found and translated on NeoGAF, a new law has passed that will force video game publishers to expose the numbers behind players’ chances.
The law justifies this by likening Loot Crates to gambling. Publishers in China are now required to display the chances of drawing certain pieces of content, how many items will be inside the crate and the name and properties of everything that can be obtained.
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.
Are such laws even possible in the United States?
It depends on how far someone in the United States government would go to compare Loot Boxes to gambling for an idea like this to ever take off. The big question is: does it even matter?
All that needs to happen is a screenshot be captured China, and boom! The information will spread like wildfire. Everything will be exposed. Either that or the publishers will have to come clean and admit that the rates vary from region to region.
This is a huge law, one that could greatly affect how publishers handle microtransactions and loot boxes from here on out.