China to monitor loot box drop rates in games, including Overwatch and Hearthstone

Many video games have adopted a pricing method that lets users purchase random content for what some would call a small cost. However, the contents of these packages are not often guaranteed, leaving many consumers to spend large amounts of cash attempting to get the drop that they want.

On December 5, the Ministry of Culture in China posted a public notice in an attempt to regulate the video game industry for the protection of the consumer. Particularly in the case of random rewards for the purchase of real currency.

Roughly translated, the request reads:

(VI) The online game operation enterprise shall provide the virtual props and value-added services by means of random sampling, and shall not require the users to participate in the way of directly investing in the legal currency or online game virtual currency. The online game operator shall promptly announce the name, performance, content, quantity, and the probability of extraction or composition of all the virtual props and value-added services that may be extracted or synthesized on the official website of the game or the randomly selected pages. Publicity of the random extraction of relevant information should be true and effective.

(VII) online game operators shall publish the results of randomly selected users to participate in the game’s official website or a significant position in the game, and keep relevant records to prepare the relevant departments query log duration of not less than 90days. When publishing random results, some measures should be taken to protect user privacy.

Basically, the random rewards from games like Overwatch, Hearthstone, League of Legends, and many other video games will not only need to publish their intended probabilities on a public source, but they will also need to publish results from anonymous users to show accurate information. Furthermore, these results will need to be updated every ninety days to remain transparent for public consumption.

The regulation notice from the Ministry of Culture also many other interesting restrictions on video games including the addition of a charge limit to manage currency consumption and more efficient identification methods for purchases. All of these changes are an attempt to protect the legal rights and interests of the consumers “to promote a healthy and orderly development of the online game industry”.

You can read the full regulation notice from the Ministry of Culture’s official website.

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How do you feel about these regulations?