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Way back in 2016, the Chinese government had passed a law, which stated that all online games would need to disclose both potential item drops and the probabilities of getting each item for random loot boxes with chance-based drops. You can find the original law here, or the translation of it by a NeoGaf user here. Or you can just read on, and check out the translated and relevant laws below.

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.

Why is this worth revisiting. Because it was to be effective 1st of MAY 2017.

What does it mean?

This means that all online games which employ sales tactics similar to loot boxes would have to reveal the probability of item drop. Riot games have complied with the law and have revealed the stats on their Chinese website.

On the other hand, Valve has suspended their loot box sales for DOTA 2 until they comply with the new policies. We are expecting Blizzard to follow suite soon.

It should be noted that the rule would also apply to mobile games who sell crates with stuff based on probability.

Why is it important?

First and foremost this brings transparency. It attaches an actual number with each item instead of a generic and vague term such as ‘RARE’ or ‘ULTRA RARE’. A rough translation of the stats released by Riot (translated on NeoGaf) says that, players can receive something like a new skin for a hero about 29.25 percent of the time, but will only see a new hero 7 percent of the time and a new ward icon 2 percent of the time.

Even if these stats are different from other regions. There is a good chance they are similar or at least close to the figures. I am sure the same would be true in case of large publishers like Blizzard and Valve. Knowing such figures can and should affect your buying decisions in the future. Knowing the odds in a gamble is the only advantage a player can get, and one should not disregard it.

Also if you are able, you might want to change the region in which you play. Playing in the Chinese region, companies won’t be ever releasing loot boxes with items with too less a priority fearing outrages. So it would stand to reason, that loot boxes in China would have a fairer spread of drop rates.

Finally, Europe and American government should take heed from this Chinese precedent (Indian market is still trying to figure itself out with TRAI so no hope praying). Its a fair law and something that empowers the consumer. Instead of insane copyright infringements and absurd laws about censoring in video games, this is a legislation which makes so much sense that you wonder why it wasn’t implemented earlier.

What do you think?

What is your opinion on this. Do you think its a good step. Do you think Blizzard and Valve will follow Riot? Do you think other governments would or should follow China in this regard. Let us know all this and more in the comments.



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