China is cracking down on MMORPG lockbox vendors

Violently authoritarian government regulates nasty video gaming monetization exploit, and gamers are cheering? Yep, China is cracking down on lockboxes. A notice from the creepy Ministry of Cultural Information announces that online game operators are required to, in a nutshell, stick to true randomness in lockboxes, communicate what’s in them, publish stats, and provide alternate routes of acquiring what’s in them, as well as protect minors from them.

“The online game operation enterprise shall provide the virtual props and value-added services by means of random sampling, and shall not require the users to participate in the way of directly investing in the legal currency or online game virtual currency. The online game operator shall promptly announce the name, performance, content, quantity, and the probability of extraction or composition of all virtual props and value-added services that may be extracted or synthesized on the official website of the game or the randomly selected pages. Publicity of the random extraction of relevant information should be true and effective.”

“Online game operators shall publish the results of randomly selected users to participate in the game’s official website or a significant position in the game, and keep relevant records to prepare the relevant departments query log duration of not less than 90 days. When publishing random results, some measures should be taken to protect user privacy.

“When the online game operation enterprise provides the virtual props and the value-added services in a random way, it should provide the users with other virtual props exchange, and other ways of obtaining the same performance virtual props and value-added services by using the online game virtual currency direct purchase.”

Failing to comply leaves gaming companies at the mercies of the bureaucrats and laws.

Multiple countries already regulate so-called gacha games, including Japan and Korea, but MMO lockboxes frequently escape unscathed by laws except these that require odds disclosures. The US thus far can barely manage to regulate literal, open online gambling, so don’t look for redress for your lockbox grievances here any time soon.

Want more articles about modern lockboxes? Massively OP’s Elder Scrolls Online columnist Larry Everett covered the brand-new lockboxes in that game just yesterday, arguing that whether or not there’s a moral issue at play, game design does indeed suffer from the addition of the gamblebox mechanics and included content.

Source: Ministry of Cultural Information via Neogaf. Cheers, TJ and ThatLanteshGuy!
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