4/21/2017 3:00 p.m. – Microtransactions ( Editors note – A microtransaction is a business model where users can purchase virtual goods via micropayments. Microtransactions are often used in free-to-play games to provide a revenue source for the developers.) are terrible. Let’s just get that out of the way now. They suck money away from players who’ve already spent plenty of money on the video games. It locks content behind a wall made of nickles and dimes. Now it’s getting even worse. It used to be that you could just buy the content straight up for a price. Now developers are using “loot boxes” and other variants of randomly generated content. So theoretically, you could spend hundreds and never get what you wanted. The government in China has decided that it won’t be the case anymore. In what is being called, “Notice of the Ministry of Culture on Regulating the Operation of Online Game Operations“, (文化部关于规范网络游戏运营加强事中事后监管工作的通知) The Chinese government clearly lays out what they expect to happen.
According to NeoGAF’s chillybright, who translated the legislature stated the new law will go in effect on May 1, 2017. Because of this law, publishers will need to display the name, property, content, quantity, and draw probability for any virtual item available for sale.
China lawmakers also requested to make these odds clearly visible on the game’s website/store. This should cover free-to-play games as well as paid ones, so long as loot boxes are involved. While this doesn’t stop the loot box issue, China is taking a pro-active stance from a worsening situation.
For a full text of the Chinese game regulations click here (translated). Here’s what the regulations state:
“2.6 – Online game publishers shall promptly publicly announce information about the name, property, content, quantity, and draw/forge probability of all virtual items and services that can be drawn/forge on the official website or a dedicated draw probability webpage of the game. The information on draw probability shall be true and effective.”
“2.7 – Online game publishers shall publicly announce the random draw results by customers on notable places of official website or in game, and keep record for government inquiry. The record must be kept for more than 90 days. When publishing the random draw results, some measures should be taken place to protect user privacy.”
So what do you think about the microtransaction law? Is it a step in the right direction? Should this become standard for games that have loot boxes and chance related items for sale?
|Notice of the Ministry of Culture on Regulating the Operation of Online Game Operations|
|Time: 2016-12-05||Editor: Marketing Division Office|
Wen Shi Fa [ 2016 ] No. 32
Citizens of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Culture, Radio and Television Bureau, Tibet Autonomous Region, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing Cultural Market (General) Administrative Law Enforcement Corps:
In recent years, China’s online game industry has developed rapidly, in promoting the development of network culture market , enrich the people’s cultural and recreational activities, expand and guide the cultural consumption and so played a positive role. However, the online game business unit operating responsibility is unclear, disguised induced consumption, the protection of rights and interests of users and other issues are increasingly prominent . To further standardize the online game market order, protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers and enterprises to promote the healthy and orderly development of online game industry, according to “Internet information service management approach”, “Interim Provisions on Internet culture management”, “online game management Interim Measures” Laws and regulations, the relevant matters are hereby notified as follows :
First, a clear online game operating range
(A) online game operators refers to the online game operators to open online game users to register or provide online game downloads, etc. to the public to provide online game products and services, and through the online game users to charge or e-commerce, advertising, sponsorship, etc. Way to gain the benefit of the act.
(2) online game operators through open user registration, open online game charging system, can be directly registered landing server client software, etc. to carry out the online game technology testing , are online game operators.
(3) The online game operators provide services such as user system, charging system, program download and promotion and promotion of network game products for other operating enterprises, and participate in the distribution of online game operations, which belongs to joint operation and should bear the corresponding responsibility.
Second, the norms of online games virtual props distribution services
(D) the distribution of online game operators, the user to purchase the legal currency directly, the use of online games virtual currency purchase or by a certain percentage of access to exchange, and have a direct exchange of other virtual props or value-added services within the virtual props, The provisions of the provisions of the virtual currency management.
(5) the online game operators to change the version of online games, increase the type of virtual props, adjust the virtual props function and the use of time, and the holding of temporary activities, it should promptly in the game’s official home page or the game within the prominent position of the virtual props involved The name, function, pricing, conversion ratio , expiration date and the corresponding gift, transfer or transaction information .
(6) online game operators to take a random way to provide virtual props and value-added services, and shall not require users to directly into the legal currency or online games virtual currency way to participate. Online game operators should promptly display the name, performance, content, quantity and extraction or synthesis probability of all virtual props and value-added services that may be extracted or synthesized on the official website of the game or randomly selected pages. Public information on the random selection should be true and effective.
(7) online game operators should be in the game’s official website or a significant position within the game announced to participate in the user’s random results, and save the relevant records for the relevant departments to query, record the preservation time of not less than 90 days. When you publish a random result, you should take some action to protect your privacy.
(8) online game operators to provide a random way to provide virtual props and value-added services, should also provide users with other virtual props exchange, the use of online games such as virtual currency direct purchase of the same performance virtual props and value-added services.
(9) online game operators shall not provide users with online games virtual currency exchange of legal currency or physical services, but the online game operators to terminate the provision of online games products and services to the legal way or the user to accept other ways to return users have not yet used Except for the case of virtual currency.
(10) online game operators shall not provide users with virtual props to exchange the legal currency services, to provide users with virtual props to exchange small in kind, physical content and value should be consistent with the relevant state laws and regulations.
Third, strengthen the protection of online game users’ rights and interests
(11) online game operators should require online game users to use a valid identity file for real-name registration, and save the user registration information; not use the tourist mode landing online game users to provide in-game recharge or consumer services.
(12) online game operators should limit the online game users in a single game within a single recharge amount, and the user to recharge or consumption to send the information required to confirm the user. The confirmation information shall include the legal or virtual currency amount of the recharge or consumption, the name of the virtual props or value-added service obtained, and the prompts such as moderate entertainment and rational consumption.Online game operators should save the user recharge and consumption and other information records of not less than 180 days.
(13) online game operators should strictly implement the “online game minor parent monitoring project” the relevant provisions. To promote the online game business unit in the implementation of the “online game minor parent monitoring project” on the basis of the set of underage consumer spending limit, limited underage user game time, and take technical measures to shield unfavorable juvenile users of the scene and function.
(14) online game operators should be a significant position in the game marked user rights protection contact. Online game operators in the online game users legitimate rights and interests are violated or with online game users dispute, you can ask the online game users to produce identity information consistent with the registration of personal valid identity documents. Audit the real, should help online game users to obtain evidence. The authenticity of the authenticated registered users, online game business unit has to bear the burden of proof according to law.
(15) online game operators to take effective measures to protect the user’s personal information, to prevent the user’s personal information disclosure, damage, unauthorized access to user information in any way to third-party enterprises or individuals.
Fourth, to strengthen the operation of online games after the supervision
(16) around the cultural administrative departments and cultural market comprehensive law enforcement agencies to make full use of network culture market law enforcement cooperation mechanism, the online game market full implementation of the “double random one public” regulation. To constantly improve the level of random checks of online games, complaints to report more online game business units, to increase the random sampling and daily inspection frequency, focus on supervision. We should promptly announce the results to the public.
(17) around the cultural administrative departments and cultural markets comprehensive law enforcement agencies to strengthen the online game market credit regulation, in accordance with the “who is punished, who included” principle, the illegal online games business unit included in the blacklist or warning List, and in conjunction with the relevant departments to implement joint disciplinary, and strengthen the illegal online games business units and related responsibility of the credit constraints.
(18) at all levels of cultural administrative departments and cultural markets comprehensive law enforcement agencies to strengthen the area of online game business unit guidance, service and training. Provincial cultural administrative departments to organize and guide enterprises to carry out policies and regulations and business norms training, regular inspection of enterprise content self-examination and operational norms and other related system implementation, in time for online game operators to provide administrative guidance.
Fifth, seriously investigate and deal with illegal acts
(1), (b), (c) of the activities of the online game operators engaged in the activities of the notice, the operation did not obtain the approval number or overdue did not obtain the record number of online games, by the county level culture Administrative departments or cultural market comprehensive law enforcement agencies in accordance with the “online game management Interim Measures” Article 30, Article 34 to investigate and deal with; to provide online games to download, or e-commerce, advertising, sponsorship, etc. , “Interim Provisions on the Administration of Internet Culture” Article 27 and Article 28 shall be investigated and dealt with.
(XX) Online game operators shall, in accordance with Article 6, Article 18, Article 19 and Article 6 of the Interim Measures for the Administration of Online Games, shall engage with the online game virtual currency issuance service stipulated in item (4) of this Circular. Article 22 of the relevant provisions, in violation of relevant provisions, by the county level above the cultural administrative departments or cultural market comprehensive law enforcement agencies in accordance with the “online game management Interim Measures” to be investigated.
(2) The online game operators shall violate the relevant provisions of (5), (6), (7) and (8) of this Circular, and the administrative organs of the cultural administrative departments at or above the county level or cultural market shall, in accordance with the “online games Management of the Interim Measures “Article 31 to be investigated.
(2) Where the online game operator fails to violate the relevant provisions in Item (9) of this Circular, it shall be investigated and dealt with by the administrative administrative department at or above the county level or the comprehensive law enforcement agency of the cultural market in accordance with Article 32 of the Interim Measures for the Administration of Online Games.
(XXIII) Where a network game operator violates the relevant provisions of Article (10) of this Circular, it shall be investigated and dealt with by the administrative administrative department at or above the county level or the comprehensive law enforcement agency of the cultural market in accordance with Article 30 of the Interim Measures for the Administration of Online Games.
(XXXII) Where an online game operator violates the relevant provisions of Paragraph (11) of this Circular , it shall be investigated and dealt with by the administrative administrative department at or above the county level or the comprehensive law enforcement agency of the cultural market in accordance with Article 34 of the Interim Measures for the Administration of Online Games The
(25) Where an online game operator violates the relevant provisions of Article (13) of this Circular , it shall be investigated and dealt with by the administrative administrative department at or above the county level or the comprehensive law enforcement agency of the cultural market in accordance with Article 31 of the Interim Measures for the Administration of Online Games The
(XXVII) Where the online game business unit violates the relevant provisions of Articles (12) and (14) of this Circular ,the administrative department of culture at or above the county level or the comprehensive law enforcement agency of the cultural market shall, in accordance with the “Interim Measures for the Administration of Online Games” Fifteento be investigated.
This notice shall come into force on May 1 , 2017 .
We hereby notify you.
Text The unit
December 1 , 2016