New 'Loot Box' Regulations in China

New 'Loot Box' Regulations in China

China has just passed new regulations concerning to online games that includes some interesting clauses relating to 'loot boxes' and other similar systems. The new law requires developers to be transparent about the exact 'draw probabilities' of these items.

What this means for Hearthstone is that Blizzard will be required to reveal what the exact chances are of opening specific card rarities in your card packs, as well as confirm the existence of other systems and algorithms related to this. For example the 'pity timer' that was discovered by players but has as of yet never been officially confirmed / talked about.

While we already know fairly accurately what the average chances are for Hearthstone it will still be nice to have it officially confirmed.

Blizzard will be required to display this information either on a dedicated page on their (Chinese) website or on a prominent spot inside the game.

You can read the relevant sections of the new law below that was translated by /u/czhihong over on reddit:

  • Online game publishers (who provide virtual goods or services with any form of random mechanisms) shall not directly request gamers to to indulge in such activities through a direct injection of cash or virtual credits. 

    They shall promptly and publicly announce information about the name, property, content, quantity, and draw/forge probability of all virtual items and services that can be drawn/forged on the official website or a dedicated draw-probability web page of the game. The information on draw probability shall be true and effective.

  • Online game publishers shall publicly announce the random draw results by customers on the official website or in a prominent spot in-game, and keep records for government inquiry. The records must be kept for at least 90 days. When publishing the random draw results, appropriate measures should be taken to protect user privacy.

  • When online publishers are providing virtual goods and services with any form of random draw properties, they shall provide players with an avenue to trade for other virtual goods, either using virtual cash or any other ways to obtain similar virtual goods and services.

It is not certain how China will act on developers who do not comply to these new rules, and so far Blizzard has not yet commented if they are planning to.

These regulations only apply to the Chinese market but because Hearthstone is identical across regions everyone benefits from it! So far people around the internet have reacted very positively about the new law. Tell us how you feel about it!

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