Google Play Cracks Down On In-Game Loot Boxes With Policy Changes

Google has updated its Google Play policy recently to include some crack downs on in-game loot boxes in an attempt to make things a little more fair for the consumers which may be spending time playing the games that include these optional virtual items.

As per Google Play's new policy, any games which offer loot boxes to their users must now list the odds of receiving any of the items that are being presented, before the purchase is made. In other words if a loot box says there is a chance of getting a really good piece of gear for your favorite character in a game, then it'll now be a requirement for that purchase to list what your odds are of getting it.

This is not what some people who play the many mobile games with these purchases are hoping for, which is the complete abolishment of loot boxes in their entirety. However, is a better situation than what was present prior to this change. Strictly speaking this will at the very least give players the opportunity to see if they have a good chance of getting the items they want and make a more informed decision.

The problem with loot boxes in general is that many view them as a deceptive practice. While this isn't a completely accurate description as loot boxes usually contain the items which they promote, the lack of information on how likely it is to acquire these items could also be viewed as deceptive since players aren't able to see if their chances are low or high.

For example, if a loot box happens to promote the possibility of getting a large amount of in-game currency that can be spent on any number of other in-game items, it's likely that people would be very tempted to consider buying those loot boxes. But, user's may be less likely to spend that hard-earned real-world money if it was visible that the loot box only offered up a 0.01-percent chance of receiving the large amount of in-game currency, as the chance would be extremely low.

Another issue with loot boxes  for most gamers is that they're viewed as a way to nickel and dime the customer. Yes, they're completely optional, but games will often shove promotions for certain items in your face to better the chances of players spending that money, and typically these items come from loot boxes where there's a possibility that you could end up getting literally hundreds of other items.

This is a step in the right direction for the state of in-app purchases. Micro transactions are a rampant issue in many games across various platforms, whether they're on console, PC, or mobile, and they can directly correlate to how greedy a company seems to be in the eyes of the user.

While this isn't going so far as to ban loot boxes in games altogether, having the odds of receiving items before a purchase helps to some degree and players may choose to spend that money anyway, but at least now they'll have the opportunity to see what their chances are.

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Justin Diaz

News Editor
Justin has written for Android Headlines since 2012 and currently adopts a Editor role with a specific focus on mobile gaming and game-streaming services. Prior to the move to Android Headlines Justin spent almost eight years working directly within the wireless industry. Contact him at [email protected]