Google’s Play Store starts requiring games with loot boxes to disclose their odds

Google now requires developers of the Play Store app to reveal the likelihood of receiving items in loot boxes, among many other changes aimed at making their app store more child-friendly. This makes its policy in line with the Apple App Store, and is occurring in the midst of a broader discussion on how to regulate loot boxes, which critics describe as an addictive game system frequently targeted at children.

Android Police noted that language has been added to Google's rules on payments. "Applications that offer mechanisms to receive random virtual items from a purchase (ie" loot boxes ") should clearly reveal the likelihood of receiving those items before purchase," he says now. Google is coming relatively late to the game here, as Apple changed its policies at the end of 2017.

Boxes of paid and randomized boats (unlike the elements obtained through the normal game) have been on the radar of legislators and regulators for the past few years. Recently, Belgium defined booty boxes as a form of gambling, forcing some companies to stop offering them or take out games from the Belgian market. China began to demand that gaming companies disclose the likelihood of receiving valuable items in 2017, and a new US bill would prohibit the sale of loot boxes to minors.

The practice has also generated lawsuits: the parents of a minor Fortnite the player sued his developer Epic in February, alleging that he had been damaged by his "predatory" Llama loot boxes. Epic changed its policies in January so that players could see what they were buying.

In addition to the loot box rule, Google now requires developers to establish a target audience for their applications and applications aimed at children (either exclusively or next to adults) should follow their family policies. This includes limiting the type of advertising that may appear, adding security warnings to augmented reality experiences, and disclosing what type of information they are gathering about children. Applications that are specifically aimed at children should also follow the stricter rules of the "Family Designed" category. As part of a separate change, Google also banned developers from selling marijuana directly through applications.

All existing applications must comply with the new rules before September 1.

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