China has just passed regulations that will force online games to publish the odds of items to appear in random crates, loot boxes, and crafting systems. That way the players will be able to tell how likely they are to get a coveted item.
The law will go into effect in May 2017, and could have some far reaching consequences for popular games like Overwatch and Hearthstone. The publishing of the odds of different items to drop could discourage players from buying those loot boxes, thereby decreasing the revenue of the game.
One way developers could deal with this law is by upping the odds slightly on coveted drops, thereby enticing players to continue to drop cash on the loot boxes. Or the developers could choose to make region specific changes to the odds and leave them the same for the rest of the world.
NeoGAF user chillybright translated the regulation, and the text of the new law is as follows:
“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.”