Korean Companies Fined $1.2 Million Over Loot Boxes

Three game companies - including online giants Nexon - have been fined ₩1 billion ($1.2 million) by Korea's Fair Trade Commission over deceptive loot box practices.

NextFloor (₩5 million [$6067]) and Netmarble (₩60 million [$72,804]) were also ordered to pay small fines, but the bulk of that judgement (₩944.5 million [$1.1 million]) was reserved for Nexon, particularly for its handling of the game Sudden Attack.

The Korea Herald reports (via DOT esports) that Nexon's fine comes as a result of its advertising of loot boxes for a Sudden Attack event, in which two of 16 puzzle pieces (which when completed could grant an in-game bonus) were offered in ₩900 ($1) purchases.

The Korean FTC argued that consumers believed the odds of obtaining each piece were the same, when in fact some of the pieces would only be present in 0.5 per cent of loot boxes. They highlighted the case of one player who spent ₩460,000 ($558) trying to get the pieces as an example of the effect that advertising was having on players.

"The FTC's actions have signalled alarm across the Korean game sector," the Korea Herald piece adds, "as it could hurt the sales of in-game items - particularly randomised items, which users tend to continuously buy until they get a desired result - that contribute immensely to profits."


Comments

    This is pretty interesting. I wonder if this means they will move to include rules like China has for disclosing box percentages, or will things go further, to the point where they ban advertising of the boxes?

    Good on em! Nobody should have to spend hundreds of dollars on a video game.

    But loot boxes aren't gambling.

    /endsarcasm

    The problem with this is that the payoff far outweighs the punishment and thus people like Nexon will just find a new way to obfuscate mtx.

    never heard of NextFloor but NetMarble pretty huge in mobile gaming

    be curious if NetMarble changes anything in their games since most of them are heavy in IAP loot boxes

    Any news featuring Nexon losing money is a good news. The way the company conducts itself where financial relationship with the customer is concerned is a disgrace.

    From experience: I have been billed by the company but the goods were never delivered, after unanswered support tickets and forum posts I requested a refund from Steam, I received it within 24 hours but as a result Nexon locked by account. After three months of attempting to contact them and to explain the situation (with screenshots and written statements from me and Steam Support) the best they could do was to acknowledge that there was a problem but they did not know how to solve it so my account would remain locked unless I paid again for the goods I never received...

    Nexon is scum and has ruined a ton of mmos with their shitty practices

    They need way bigger fines to stop them being immoral scummy greedy bastards who try to scam thier consumers

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