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China forces devs to reveal loot box drop rates in game

Players must be aware of the percentages behind random prizes, says new law

China is due to pass a law which will force games to reveal the percentage rates for items from random crates, drops and crafting systems, so players are able to tell how likely they are to win.

Coming into effect on May 1, 2017, the new law will affect a wide range of games, across all platforms, including games with purely cosmetic random drops such as Overwatch.

NeoGaf user ChillyBright translated the relevant parts of the new legislation.

2.6 Online game publishers shall promptly publicly announce information about the name, property, content, quantity, and draw/forge probability of all virtual items and services that can be drawn/forge on the official website or a dedicated draw probability webpage of the game. The information on draw probability shall be true and effective.

2.7 Online game publishers shall publicly announce the random draw results by customers on notable places of official website or in game, and keep record for government inquiry. The record must be kept for more than 90 days. When publishing the random draw results, some measures should be taken place to protect user privacy.

Whilst developers are clearly free to set different drop rates in China to the rest of the world, the new law will undoubtedly offer communities limitless opportunities to analyse the most efficient ways of obtaining desirable items, and to compare the potential win rates not just of different items in the same game but of items in different titles.

The move resembles the Japanese legal shift of a few years ago, when the country outright banned 'complete gacha' mechanics which asked players to collect random drop items in order to participate in further lotteries to win more rare random drops, often via the medium of microstransactions. That change caused something of a freefall in the shareprices of some of the companies which relied on those mechanics, including Gree and DeNA.

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