Blizzard is using a loophole to keep selling Overwatch lockboxes in China

There’s a law on the books in China that states you can’t sell random loot boxes in an online game without disclosing the odds of each reward from said boxes. It seems that Blizzard has found a workaround to that law for Overwatch just the same, as the company is still functionally selling lockboxes without disclosing the odds of receiving a given item. How does that work? Well, the lockboxes aren’t technically being sold; the in-game currency of credits is being sold, with 120 credits in-game costing roughly $35!

Oh, and you get 50 free lockboxes as a gift when you make that purchase. And it’s important to note here that rarer and more desirable skins in the game will cost upward of 750 credits, thus making it quite clear that what you’re really purchasing are the 50 lockboxes as a “gift” rather than the 120 credits.

The hope appears to be that future lockboxes can continue to be sold with this roundabout method without actually disclosing the odds and item lists for these boxes. Readers are free to speculate on how long this will take to be seen as an exploitation, if ever; it’s certainly an interesting workaround to the law.

Source: Gamasutra
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

37 Comments on "Blizzard is using a loophole to keep selling Overwatch lockboxes in China"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
Reader
Ben Stone

Why not just disclose the odds?

Reader
Fenryr Grey

That was exactly my thought. Hiring an armada of lawyers figuring those loopholes out seem to be cheaper than being revealed as a crook.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

what, and tell people the world round just how shit the odds are of getting anything? what are you, a COMMUNIST?!

ernost
Reader
ernost

It does not make as much of a difference as you might think. The people who buy these sort of things either:
1> Have a lot of disposable income and don’t really care if the odds are shitty. or
2> Are gambling addicts and will continue to buy them even though they know the odds are shitty.

Reader

Kinda scummy Blizzard. Follow the law.

Reader
Matthäus Wey

You know it might be scummy but blizz does nothing wrong :/ it’s China’s fault for not thinking about such situations.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

If what the article says is true, then it’s a very, very bad move by Blizzard. China is always looking for excuses to put foreign companies under their thumb; exploiting a legal loophole is one heck of an excuse.

Let’s not forget that China, in the past, has already forced Blizzard to stop charging for WoW for a couple months due to some dispute with Blizzard, if I’m not mistaken because of Blizzard trying to exploit a loophole around a ban on depicting certain kinds of content in games sold in China; I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chinese government did something similar again.

Reader
mcsleaz

Something tells me China doesn’t like loopholes and Blizzard shouldn’t mess with the Dragon if they keep getting them Chinese funds.

Reader
Doubleplusgood

You know there has to be something shady going on when a company goes to this lengths to hide something.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

$

zenyatta yuandatta.gif
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Modrain

Should we take that as an invite to use exploits in their games?

Reader
mcsleaz

Very Good Point.
They aren’t setting a very good example but I’m sure China will shove their boot up Blizzards ass.

April-Rain
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
April-Rain

I truly think the Blizzard we knew and loved is long and truly dead, this company is now truly full on Activision

Reader
Armsman

Oh please. If you haven’t realized that for any FOR PROFIT Company (Gaming or otherwise); in the end, it’s all about the bottom line/profit. It’s a Business, not a hobby.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tazuras

Correction, any corporation and some (likely most) companies.

Reader
mcsleaz

All the Triple A studios have gone to crap.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
agemyth 😩

AAA is always more about the money than anything else. You deluded yourself if you thought otherwise.

Reader
mcsleaz

So, what you’re telling me is that if you wish to turn a profit, you can’t be a quality studio? ROFLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Reader
Nathan Aldana

He’s saying profit-seeking tends to invite mediocrity, lack of risk taking, and reliance on scummy business practices that care more about monetary rewards than customers. Which pretty much describes big business in general.

Reader
Chuck Finley

Are you saying companies can’t be about money and quality? Seems like if you want money, you’d aim for quality…

But I guess not disclosing loot box odds are so terrible. Those damn cosmetic items. Not having those really ruin the base game…

Reader
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
agemyth 😩

No, that’s not what I said.

Reader
Dystopiq

They’re selling cosmetics. Slow down.

April-Rain
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
April-Rain

Lock boxes is gambling – plain and simple

Reader
Chuck Finley

Who cares? It doesn’t change the actual game. It’s not power. It’s cosmetics.

April-Rain
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
April-Rain

I don’t want my child gambling or being introduced to gambling, if you want gambling/ lock boxes in a game then they should be 18+ only.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
agemyth 😩

Our industry currently runs on gambling or whales/crowdfunding with P2W rewards for funding a game.

miol
Reader
miol

Oh, shiny shiny CN¥! ;P

aaaTrade_Prince_Gallywix_(Wei_Wang).jpg
Reader
KumiKaze

Blizzard China has already released the odds for getting items in a loot box. https://www.reddit.com/r/Overwatch/comments/69dkqi/blizzard_china_has_revealed_overwatch_lootbox/

However, this is probably a work around so they can tweak those odds and not tell anyone. Or, if I remember correctly, there are strict gambling laws in China and this is a way to not call it gambling, but I think they still would need to release the probabilities of items.

Reader
bobfish

The question is, whether the law requires them to publish odds per item in the box, or general odds per rarity (which is what they provided).

If they need to give more detail, then that might be what motivated them to make this new change.

Reader
silverlock

Yeah that’s a good idea because the Chinese government is really tolerant of people using loopholes to get around the law, no way that’s going to bite them in the ass.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

this, lol

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Alien Legion

Wait, people still buy lockboxes? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

“There is a sucker born every minute.”

pepperzine
Reader
pepperzine

Wow (no pun intended)…smh…

Xijit
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Xijit

Uhhh … Isn’t this kind of the standard practice?

Most every F2P MMO only sells cash shop credits, instead of the items themselves, so that no one can claim false advertising when they get bent over and screwed on the Gamble-Boxes.

Or am I misreading this and they are selling in game money, then swapped the gambel-boxes over to being in game money, not cash shop credits?

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
squidgod2000

Most every F2P MMO only sells cash shop credits, instead of the items themselves, so that no one can claim false advertising when they get bent over and screwed on the Gamble-Boxes.

No, they do it for two reasons:
1) To psychologically separate you from the cost of an item. Your brain knows what a dollar is worth, but what are 65 credits worth?

2) To charge extra. Suchandsuch costs 250 credits, but I can only buy credits in a pack of 300 and nothing costs 50 credits or less.

Reader
daicon

it’s that they’re selling a very small amount of credits for a large sum of money, but then giving you a BIG package of gift boxes as a “gift”. That way they can dodge the law in China that says loot boxes in games need to have their odds revealed (which I think is a good law)

Reader
Sorenthaz

Wow. They’re really not wanting everyone to know the odds.

wpDiscuz