In what’s very likely the biggest tonal shift in gaming history, Apple is now imposing new gaming loot box rules that will require mobile titles to disclose the odds of receiving items from said loot boxes. And this rule is absolutely mandatory.
The rule has been added to Apple’s App Store review guidelines under the Payments section. It reads, verbatim:
“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.”
It’s not immediately clear if this rule is retroactive or if apps and mobile games with loot boxes that have been released prior to this change are exempt from the new guidelines.
The rule mirrors regulations imposed by China in May of this year which requires all games that have loot box mechanics disclose their chance of receiving different types of rewards. The Chinese Ministry of Culture reportedly carries out random checks on games to ensure compliance, but it’s unclear if Apple will perform similar checks.
This is the same Apple that recently confirmed they intentionally slow down older iPhones that have low-capacity batteries without telling anyone. So, yeah, color us surprised. We desperately hope these new guidelines will be the first in a wave of changes that will see predatory gaming loot box practices taken out behind the shed.