Millions of addicted fans despair as Mobile “Gacha” games like Nintendo’s Fire Emblem Heroes and Square Enix’s Final Fantasy Brave Exvius aren’t pushing out updates as expected on iOS devices today. Most likely this is because Apple’s new App Store guidelines, which stipulates that developers must disclose the odds of getting certain items in loot crates.
Apple’s updated guidelines say: “Apps offering ‘loot crates’ or other mechanisms that provide randomized virtual items for purchase must disclose the odds of receiving each type of item to customers prior to purchase.” We’ll be watching out for comments on this from Nintendo, Square Enix, and Apple.
The key detail is that developers must detail the odds of each item. A post on the gaming industry forum ResetEra speculates that the games that aren’t updating are affected because they weren’t thorough enough in their disclosure. Only a handful of games have paused updates, and titles like Blizzard’s Hearthstone aren’t affected. The much less stringent Android users have received the updates as expected.
Thanks to EA and the last straw with Star Wars BattleFront 2’s Loot Crates, Apple revamped its App Store guidelines. Many free-to-play games depend on these types of in-app purchases as a major part of their monetization strategy. But some have compared loot crates to gambling, calling for more protection and transparency for players. On the mobile platform, games are the biggest earner. Last year mobile games raked in $48.3 out of the $58.6 billion spent on apps. By the year 2020 this is expected to grow to $72.3 billion.
For Brave Exvius, loot crates are cleverly disguised as character summons. You can get a multitude of free summons each month by playing quests and events. The real devious part comes from the game’s purchasable currency the “Lapis”. This can be used for a multitude of uses from recharging raid orbs, play energy or for summons. Due to the extreme rarity of summons a player could easily spend $100 for just enough Lapis to do 3 10+1 summons and a few thousand to spare. Mostly you get garbage characters and strive for the ultra rare “Rainbows” at 2% odds.