Three local gamemakers from South Korea are now facing a hefty penalty for their deceptive randomized in-game item promotion. The actual problem were not the lootboxes themselves, but the way they were advertised. Nexon, the company that produced the game “Sudden Attack” had lootboxes that had 16 different pieces. If users collected all 16, they would receive diverse benefits in the game.
BUT Nexon said the 16 pieces would be provided at random. However, that was not true. Some of them had a chance of 0.5 percent to drop. One user actually spent more than $350 to get all 16 pieces.
The firm Netmarble had a lootbox in their game “Monster Taming”, where you could get a rare monster. The chances were advertised as “under 1 percent”, but were actually at 0.0005 percent.
While being technically right, the Korean Fair Trade Commission had it with these costumer manipulations and fined Nexon Korea with $884.000 and Netmarble with $42.000.
While Netmarble is accepting the punishment and sent out an apology to it’s users, Nexon Korea is now challenging the penalty. Regarding the grounds on the challenge they said:
“In our puzzle event, we used the phrase ‘random provision’ to suggest the items would be provided at random, and that the odds of obtaining each puzzle piece were different. However, the FTC interpreted the phrase as suggesting equal odds. We plan to work on obtaining an additional review of this issue in the future.”
Let’s hope that all countries will be more strict considering lootboxes and that we can finally get rid of them alltogether.
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