Friday, December 09, 2016

New "Loot Box" Law in China

If you live in China, expect to get more info about your Loot Boxes. The Cultural and Broadcasting Bureau in China has recently passed a law to go into effect starting March 1, 2017 regarding how Loot Box information and content is revealed to consumers. The new law came about as a means to curb the increase in online gambling and reduce complaints from customers feeling "duped" by the random lottery boxes in video games.

There are five parts to the law, but the summary is pretty straight forward: games have to disclose either the content in every Loot Box/Grab Bag or list what consumers could receive in percentages (10% for Rare Items, 25% for Normal Items, etc.). The more details the Loot Boxes can provide, the better. And it will require the games to maintain a database of real names, addresses, and phone numbers of all purchases and digital currency trades so if Chinese authorities open up an investigation against a user, they can have easy access to the information without having to jump through hoops. The last part sounds intimidating, but it's not too bad. All trade content can remain confidential. Mostly it's "use your real name" when making a purchase and it saves authorities time from having to figure out who "B008W@nk3r" is in the real world if they need to pursue a gambling case.

The law doesn't state specifically if this will apply to only games designed in China, or all games that are available in the country. 3 months to develop new content just for China is not a lot of time and if it's meant to apply to international developers as well, there may be a few servers and games going quiet until they get their content up to code. Given how prominent China is to the entertainment market, developers are going to play as long as it continues to net them sales.

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