Apple Requires Apps to Disclose Odds for Gacha, Loot Box Purchases
posted on 2018-01-20 12:45 EST by Jennifer Sherman
Loot boxes, known as gacha (a term derived from gachapon capsule toys) in Japan, allow video game players to use in-game currency to receive random items according to predetermined odds. Many popular app games such as Puzzle & Dragons and Monster Strike rely on the system as a key feature and source of revenue. While generally assuming the best items are the rarest, app users typically remain unaware of the exact odds of attaining the items they want from loot boxes. This can contribute to players spending large sums of money in pursuit of the most useful items.
Apple added an App Store guideline in December that now requires apps to disclose odds for loot box purchases. The added in-app purchase guideline on Apple's official developer website states, "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." Some apps, including the games noted above, began adding odds disclosures in Japan this week.
Japan is one of several countries that regulates loot boxes under its gambling laws. After the success of the gacha model in GungHo Online Entertainment's Puzzle & Dragons smartphone game, which launched in 2012, the Japanese government established new regulations to limit gambling aspects in apps.