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
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Ben Stone

Why not just disclose the odds?

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Nathan Aldana

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

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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.

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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.

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J

Kinda scummy Blizzard. Follow the law.

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Matthäus Wey

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

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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.

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mcsleaz

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

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Doubleplusgood

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

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Schlag Sweetleaf

$

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Modrain

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

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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
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April-Rain

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

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Dystopiq

They’re selling cosmetics. Slow down.

April-Rain
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April-Rain

Lock boxes is gambling – plain and simple

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agemyth 😩

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

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Chuck Finley

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

April-Rain
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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.

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mcsleaz

All the Triple A studios have gone to crap.

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agemyth 😩

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

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mcsleaz

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

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agemyth 😩

No, that’s not what I said.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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Tazuras

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

miol
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miol

Oh, shiny shiny CN¥! ;P

aaaTrade_Prince_Gallywix_(Wei_Wang).jpg
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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.

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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.