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Blizzard to sell Overwatch credits instead of loot boxes to Chinese players

By June 6, 2017Uncategorized

Blizzard has reworked the way it handles Overwatch loot box sales in China in response to a new law that requires game publishers to disclose the probability of item drops in random-chance loot boxes.

The new format sees the company directly selling in-game credits to players and including loot boxes as a free gift with the transaction, seemingly sidestepping the law.

The law itself, which went into effect at the beginning of May, requires publishers to clearly disclose potential item drops and the chance each item has to show up in a box. And while Blizzard did initially share a slice of that probability data, the company’s new changes point out a potential loophole since it now seems that the law only covers boxes being directly purchased for real-world currency.

A translation of a post from the Chinese Overwatch forum explains that players will no longer be able to purchase Lootboxes outright. Instead, microtransactions now sell Chinese players between 5 and 120 of the game’s in-game currency and toss in 2-50 loot boxes as a free gift, depending on a number of credits purchased.

The ‘free gift’ loot boxes included with the in-game currency purchase seem to be where most, if not all, of the value in these microtransactions still lie. On its own, the new system, which charges as much 238 yuan (roughly $35) for 120 credits would otherwise be a sour deal for players.

120 credits is enough for the cheapest tier of character skins, which sell for 75 credits but the more sought after legendary and event exclusive skins can come in between 750 and 3000 credits on their own. But, since the 238 yuan tier also comes with the “gift” of 50 boxes, Blizzard is able to still essentially sell loot boxes without disclosing probabilities and item lists for future loot boxes. 

Other developers and publishers operating in the area have also implemented changes to accommodate the new law. For example, Valve temporary shut down sales of random drop boxes for Dota 2 and League of Legends’ publisher has meanwhile complied with the law and released a table detailing the probability powering each drop.

Source: Gamasutra 2