Although Chinese regulators require developers to disclose loot boxes odds to players, many studios find their own ways to bypass the rules. Some companies try to hide the information from gamers, while others simply ignore the law.
The researchers found out that 91 out of 100 top-grossing iOS games in China contain loot boxes. 23% of developers disclose the odds within their titles. 39% of games put this information on websites only, while 4% of titles don’t disclose the odds at all.
Only 5 out of 100 top-grossing iOS games automatically display the odds to players. According to the researches, there are a few ways developers bypass the rules:
- 79% of games with website disclosures put them in news posts displayed chronologically alongside other notices;
- Five games had disclosures that couldn’t be seen from the home page, with a search engine and in-game links being the only ways to access the information;
- “One game required the player to tap on multiple hyperlinks, visit multiple pages, and scroll extensively before making the disclosure viewable,” researchers said;
- One game’s disclosure was displayed as an image, which made the information unsearchable;
- One studio hid the disclosures for different types of loot boxes on different web pages.
According to the Chinese law, game developers should disclose odds within the game or on its official website. However, there are no rules on how exactly this information should be worded or how prominent it should be for players.
The researchers urge the Chinese authorities to implement uniform standards for these disclosures. “The actions of some video game companies do at least seem to draw parallels with the arguably socially irresponsible corporate actions in other, more established addictive areas,” they said, drawing parallels with alcohol, gambling, and tobacco industries.
The similar rules will come into force in South Korea on December 1. The domestic gaming association K-Games adopted regulations to disclose the draw probabilities of in-game loot boxes.