Apple’s App Store rules now require app developers to disclose the odds of receiving items from in-game “loot boxes” prior to giving players a chance to purchase the boxes. This is the first time a U.S. gaming platform has required transparency for the loot box mechanic.
Loot boxes—also known as “loot crates” or “prize crates”—are one-time-use, in-game items that players can obtain through gameplay or purchase. The boxes contain a randomized assortment of in-game items, ranging from purely cosmetic changes in character appearances, to powerful weapons, equipment or support abilities.
In an update to its App Store Review Guidelines, Apple changed its rules regarding in-app purchases. Section 3.1.1 now reads:
Apps offering “loot boxes” or other mechanisms that provide randomized virtual items for purchase must disclose the odds of receiving each type of item to customers prior to purchase.
Apple’s policy change mirrors disclosure rules recently enacted in China, designed to give players a better idea of how likely they are to obtain certain in-game items. It remains to be seen whether competing platforms will implement similar rules.