Three Korean gaming companies are being fined for advertising loot boxes by the Korean Fair Trade Commision. How did this happen and how much are they fined?
NextFloor, Netmarble, and Nexon are all fined for advertising loot boxes by deceiving their customers. A total of US$950,000 have been sanctioned by the Korean Fair Trade Commision (FTC).
US$4,600 for NextFloor, US$55,000 for Netmarble, and most notably US$875,000 for Nexon. Nexon specifically, is the developer of famous online games in South Korea. One of the games is Sudden Attack.
During a special event for the game known as “Celebrity Count”, Nexon encouraged players to buy loot boxes and gained awards and special in-game items. Two of 16 puzzles can only be acquired through buying loot boxes.
Unfortunately, Nexon hid the percentage rate of the odds in getting a rare item, which was around 0.5%. Each loot box cost US$0.85, meaning that players have to at least spend US$13.6 in order to get a rare item. But since there is a low odd in completing the puzzle, players are urged to buy more.
A report from Korea Times claims that a player spent a total of US$432 to complete the puzzle.
But Nexon defended themselves by claiming that they used the phrase ‘random provision’. It generally aims for players to suggest the items would be provided at random, and that the odds of obtaining each puzzle piece were different.
The same case goes for Netmarble and NextFloor. These two developers were also found repeatedly providing misleading information on items from their loot boxes.
The main reason why ESRB is stepping in has been stated by their very own President, Patricia Vance. She stated that most parents do not understand what a loot box is and she does not want to confuse them with in-game jargons. Rather, they want parents to know clearly and immediately when viewing the back cover of the game.
Will we see more companies and regulators implement new rules for loot boxes? Is it fair for Nexon, Netmarble, and NextFloor for their fines? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.