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app store,apple,lootboxes

Apple cracks down on lootboxes, devs now have to disclose details

Lootboxes have become one of the most contentious issues in the gaming industry in recent times, as everything from PC and console titles to smartphone games offer the feature.

Whether it’s an endless running game or a blockbuster action title, “randomised” item drops have become a key fixture in games. And developers have allowed users to actually buy these item drops too, making for a key avenue of cash.

Now, Apple has decided to step up to the plate, Polygon reports, issuing a new set of guidelines for App Store developers that implement lootboxes.

“Apps offering ‘loot boxes’ or other mechanisms that provide randomised virtual items for purchase must disclose the odds of receiving each type of item to customers prior to purchase,” read an updated set of Apple developer guidelines.

Apple has made it mandatory for game developers to disclose the odds of receiving items in lootboxes

In other words, the App Store listing for games will now show you just how scammy or generous the lootbox drops will be.

Of course, it’s one thing for developers to disclose odds, but could we see them bend the truth (or straight-up lie) in a bid to secure more downloads? For instance, a dodgy game dev might falsely claim that its title offers a high chance of getting key items if you purchase a lootbox…

Either way, it’s a positive step to bring some semblance of transparency to the lootbox landscape.

It’s not the first time that the App Store has offered innovative features. It offered family sharing functionality before Google, switched to a “get” button for downloads (instead of “free”) in the wake of in-app purchases and offered a standardised rating prompt for apps that urge users for a review.

In saying so, Apple’s store has been late to the party when it comes to videos within app listings and the ability to preorder apps.

Author Bio

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings over seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More