Three Korean game companies have been fined a total of nearly $950,000 for allegedly misleading players with their loot box practices. South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (via Dot Esports) issued the fines on April 1.
Desire, competition, or addiction – why do we buy loot boxes?
The largest fine was issued to Nexon Korea, who were required to pay $882,000 for loot boxes they provided in Sudden Attack, which is one of South Korea’s most popular online games.
During an in-game event called ‘Celebrity Count’, players were encouraged to collect 16 puzzle pieces from loot boxes that cost $0.85 each. The odds of getting some specific pieces, however, were around 0.5%, which Nexon reportedly kept from players. That drove the cost of completing the event as high as $432, according to the Korea Times. Nexon responded to say that the FTC had misread the event’s provisions and will be appealing the fine.
Smaller fines were handed out to two other companies: NextFloor were fined $4,600, while Netmarble were tasked with paying $55,000. Both companies were found to have provided misleading information about their loot box odds. The total penalty is the largest ever issued within the industry, and may influence decisions in other countries that are investigating loot box practices.