Apple imposes stricter regulations for loot crates in App Store games


For the uninitiated, loot boxes contain a variety of virtual items that contain everything from common to rare in-game items. What started as a way to help fund free to play games or add a unique mode to sports games (like Fifa's Ultimate Team mode) has seeped into almost every release, large or small.

The controversy over loot crates became especially inflamed late in 2017, when "Star Wars Battlefront 2" launched - a $60 purchase, at minimum - with loot boxes that players felt were especially egregious.

According to their updated App Store Guidelines, developers that utilize loot boxes must now disclose the odds of obtaining each type of item.

The result will presumably be greater disclosure each time you go to buy a loot box, with the developer forced to indicate the actual chance of getting each possible item before any in-app purchase is made. This is already the policy in China for all games.

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The precise wording covers loot boxes and "other mechanisms that provide randomised virtual items or purchase must disclose the odds of receiving each type of item to customers prior to purchase".

Apple has updated its App Store guidelines, now allowing SMBs, nonprofits, and other organizations to use templating services and custom app builders to create and publish iOS apps. Some, if not most, games are designed so that you cannot pick up these items separately - you can only get them in loot boxes.

KitGuru Says: Loot boxes have been quite a divisive hot topic this past year, with many fighting to define the practice under current gambling laws, and others attempting to simply rid the pay-to-win aspect. It does seem odd that we have reached a point where games flaunt "No in-app purchases!" as a selling point, but here we are.