Apple was sued on Friday with a class action lawsuit for allowing apps and games to add loot boxes (via AppleInsider).
App Store Loot Boxes
Plaintiff Rebecca Tayler claims in the lawsuit that her son spent at least US$25 on iTunes gift cards and loot boxes in game like Roblox, Brawl Stars, and FIFA Soccer.
While Apple does not itself create these games and the Loot Box mechanism used to entice children to gamble, Apple profits handsomely by 1) marketing, selling, and/or distributing the games to kids on Apple products and through its App Store platform; 2) acting as the agent for the developer in selling the Loot Boxes; and 3) handling the money in all of the transactions- taking a 30% cut of all money spent by players before transferring the remainder to the developer.
Loot boxes are items in games that—upon payment—give you a randomized selection of in-game items like weapons, armor, and more. Because of this randomized nature some countries have included them under gambling laws.
In 2017 Apple updated its App Store review guidelines with the following:
Apps offering “loot boxes” 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.
The lawsuit claims “Thus, there is no notice – and no requirement of any notice by Apple – to the parent or the child that a game contains Loot Boxes or other gambling mechanisms.”