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Apple adjusts App Store policy to let loot box buyers know the odds of getting rare items

Apple has moved to curtail some of the controversy around loot boxes by making it more transparent for buyers to know the chance they have of getting something special.

Loot boxes, for those of you who don’t know, are effectively in-app or game options for people to pay real money for a chance to get exotic or rare in-game items, ranging from cosmetic items to edge-giving power-ups.

Such loot boxes can be found in PC and console games like Overwatch as well as mobile games like Hearthstone. In some ways they can be seen as a form of gambling.

To tackle concerns around such microtransactions Apple has updated its App Store guidelines referring to payments, bringing in more transparency for the likelihood of loot boxes containing special items.

“Apps offering ‘loot boxes’ or other mechanisms that provide randomised virtual items for purchase must disclose the odds of receiving each type of item to customers prior to purchase,” the guidelines state.

This introduction of transparency will come as a boon for people who like to buy such loot boxes, though there’s also a chance that having extra insight into what they are buying could put people off buying as many loot boxes in a bid to get a rare item.

Such a change will not likely affect companies like Blizzard from making revenue from loot boxes, as there’s a healthy appetite among Hearthstone players for loot boxes. But at least some of the gambling element in buying loot boxes is reduced a fair bit, making life fairer for people parting with hard cash.

Are you a fan of loot boxes or are such microtransactions ruining gaming? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

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