×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

South Korean Government Hits Developers With Nearly $1 Million in Loot Box Fines

Three South Korean developers were fined nearly a million dollars by the country’s Fair Trade Commission for deceiving customers about the odds used in their in-game loot boxes, the Korean Herald reports.

Nexon Korea, the developers of “Counter Strike Online 2” and the country’s largest game developer, received the bulk of the penalties from the South Korean FTC (about $890,000) for the way it promoted the loot boxes in “Sudden Attack” and “Counter Strike Online 2.” The FTC said the company misled players about the chances of winning specific prizes and didn’t properly inform customers of their right to withdraw in-game item purchases in “Counter Strike Online 2.”

“Destiny Child” creator NextFloor and “Ys Online” and “Star Wars: Force Arena” developer Netmarble received the rest of the penalties for similar practices. All three companies were told to rework the way they promote and disclose the odds for loot boxes.

Loot boxes, in-game crates that are sold for real money and contain any number of randomized items used in a game, have become a topic of international conversation since their practice was called into question by Star Wars fans in the lead up to the release of “Star Wars: Battlefront II.”

Developer Electronic Arts halted microtransactions on the eve of “Battlefront II’s” launch after beta participants complained the loot boxes were overly aggressive and gave an unfair advantage to those who spent the money. The public outcry led to EA receiving the most downvoted comment in Reddit history. The publisher reportedly also lost an estimated $3.1 billion in stock value following the controversy. EA overhauled its use of microtransactions in the game last month.

Lawmakers in several states, along with one federal lawmaker, are now either seeking laws to control the use of this specific sort of in-game purchase or asking for federal regulators to investigate the issue.

Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) sent a letter to Entertainment Software Ratings Board head Patricia Vance in February, asking the ESRB to review the ratings process as it relates to loot boxes, examine the marketing of loot boxes to children and develop best practices for developers around the toxic form of microtransactions. The Senator also asked the board to conduct a study that further delves into the reach and impact of loot boxes in games.

In Hawaii, state lawmakers introduced four new bills that may change the way video games with loot box mechanics are bought and sold in Hawaii.

In response to Hassan’s letter, the ESRB rolled out plans to list whether a game includes in-game purchases on boxes and in online descriptions. They also launched a parental education plan on the topic.

At the time, the head of the ESRB sent a letter defending loot boxes to Hassan, In the letter, Vance says that loot boxes aren’t gambling and are more comparable to baseball cards, “where there is an element of surprise and you always get something.”

Internationally, the question of whether loot boxes are a form of gambling is still being debated as well. The fines in South Korea mark the highest ever levied against a local game company by the FTC there and could be part of a wider effort to regulate the sale of loot boxes, the Korean Herald points out.

Nexon Korea told the Korean Herald it disagrees with the FTC and plans to ask for an additional review of the issue.

More Gaming

  • Colin Kroll Dead Vine Obit

    HQ Trivia and Vine Co-Founder Colin Kroll Dies at 34

    Colin Kroll, co-founder of the Vine video app and the HQ Trivia game, was found dead in his Manhattan apartment early Sunday of an apparent drug overdose, Variety has confirmed. He was 34. New York Police Department officers responded at 12:18 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, to a call by a woman concerned about Kroll’s well-being. [...]

  • Kanye West Is Looking For ‘Metal

    Kanye West Is Looking For ‘Metal Gear Solid’ Creator Hideo Kojima in NY

    American rapper and fashion designer Kanye West took to Twitter on Friday in an attempt to reach out to creator of “Metal Gear Solid” Hideo Kojima, and seemingly set up a meeting while both are in New York. “Heard Hideo Kojima is in NY We need to meet Does anyone know where he is or [...]

  • ‘Pokemon Go’ Publisher Seeks $3.9 Billion

    ‘Pokemon Go’ Publisher Seeks $3.9 Billion Valuation, $200 Million in Funding

    Niantic Inc., the publisher behind “Pokémon Go,” is working to raise a new round of capital investment which would increase the valuation of the company to $3.9 billion, The Wall Street Journal reports. The publisher is seeking out $200 million in an upcoming round of funding that is expected to be led by the venture [...]

  • ‘Fortnite’ Devs Remove Controversial Infinity Blade

    ‘Fortnite’ Devs Remove Controversial Infinity Blade

    Epic removed a controversial new item from its massively popular “Fortnite” following criticism from players over the late-game weapon’s overpowered nature. Epic announced the removal of the Infinity Blade this morning in an apologetic tweet from the official “Fortnite” Twitter account. “We messed up and rolled out the Infinity Blade overpowered / without good counters, [...]

  • Gamers' Choice Awards Wraps With Solid

    How Gamers' Choice Awards Failed to Live Up to the Hype, Ended in Potential Lawsuit

    It was billed as the Oscars for the world of gaming, a live, televised video game award show from the creator of the Teen Choice Awards that would deliver an experience the producers described as “Golden Globe Awards combined with a bit of the VMAs and Teen Choice.” For performances, according to that original pitch [...]

  • ‘Artifact’ Gets Its First Major Update

    ‘Artifact’ Gets Its First Major Update

    The first major update for Valve’s collectible card game “Artifact” is now out, bringing two new decks, leaderboards, colorblind support, a chat wheel, and more. Update 1.1 introduces the mono black Dark Aggro deck and the mono blue Death From Above deck to “Artifact’s” The Call to Arms event, the first set of cards released [...]

  • Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA Signs Gaming Influencers Nick Eh 30, StoneMountain64

    CAA has signed two popular live-streaming battle royale gamers — Nicholas Amyoony, better known as Nick Eh 30, and David Steinberg, aka StoneMountain64 — for representation. CAA said it will work to create opportunities for Nick Eh 30 (above left) and StoneMountain64 (above right) in all areas, including TV, motion pictures, touring, digital distribution and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content