Online games in China are a different world, both literally and figuratively, with the country often taking a much harder stance on gaming related issues such as cheating, hacking and now, as of the new regulations the Chinese government passed, drop rates of valuable in game items. In particular, game developers will now be required to outline loot box drop probabilities and rates.
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.
This is a bit of a controversial topic to talk about but hey, let’s dive into it anyway!
I personally think this is a step in the right direction, and other countries should adopt this regulation, as majority of the games in today’s competitive scene are plagued by unknown lottery numbers. Sure, items are pretty important to the ecosystem of a game but it also causes some problems for its users.
Valve, developers and publishers behind the popular titles Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2 have a giant system in place called the Steam Market. Players can purchase in-game skins for a ridiculous amount of money, but that’s not where the problem comes in. Players can unlock an in-game crate which has aa chance of rewarding players with a high-value item but to open these cases you need a key which costs actual currency (ie. not in-game, earned currency).
Players have been opening these cases over the years but have never really questioned what their chances were for actually getting items of value, and if it was fair use at all. For all we know, your chances at getting a high-value item might depend on the case and not just on “pure luck” as is often advertised.
China is the first country to adopt the transparent regulation and it would be great to see it become mandatory. This will also allow players of the popular title Overwatch from Blizzard to peer into the chances of their loot boxes although, chances are, China will have different numbers compared to the rest of the world.
Some games might even set the odds that change depending on prior purchases or behaviour, we just don’t know and that is the concerning thing.