Apple's announcement on lootboxes

Just curious does this statement affect Gems of War?

3.1 Payments
3.1.1 In-App Purchase:

If you want to unlock features or functionality within your app, (by way of example: subscriptions, in-game currencies, game levels, access to premium content, or unlocking a full version), you must use in-app purchase. Apps may use in-app purchase currencies to enable customers to “tip” digital content providers in the app. Apps and their metadata may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase.

Any credits or in-game currencies purchased via in-app purchase may not expire, and you should make sure you have a restore mechanism for any restorable in-app purchases.
Remember to assign the correct purchasability type or your app will be rejected.

Apps should not directly or indirectly enable gifting of in-app purchase content, features, or consumable items to others.

Apps distributed via the Mac App Store may host plug-ins or extensions that are enabled with mechanisms other than the App Store.

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.

Source App Store Review Guidelines - Apple Developer

1 Like

Is Gems of War in the iOS App store?

Yes (10 char)

What can be purchased that gives a random result?

Keys do, but only indirectly, as the keys themselves are given at 100% rate. Gems probably are safe from the requirement as they can be used for other purposes than gambling at chests.

1 Like

My thoughts exactly. Even the 30 day rewards pack are 100% chance of getting a legendary or a Mythic troop.

I wonder if this would apply to ‘giveaway codes’?

Redeem codes cannot be purchased.

Well, I’m leaping to a conclusion but…

If it were a workaround to say, “Oh, but I sell KEYS that you use to UNLOCK loot crates” I believe the industry would just shift to do that, then Apple would clarify.

Knowing Apple, it’s more likely they’ll simply remove Gems of War from the app store for non-compliance and state “Cute, but no luck.”

The more fun argument is “What counts as compliance?” Technically the odds are buried in a page on the Zendesk site. It might be adequate to link to it. It’s more likely that won’t be adequate and the odds need to be prominently displayed.

This is already a fact of life in more explicit gacha games, Japanese law requires it so most of those games already incorporate it into their UI.

I can totally see Gems of War adapting to this, because it means they get to redesign the chest UI again!

I think the only thing that might change is the ability to buy guild keys for your guild. Other than that… Nothing will be changed and GoW will not be removed from the IoS app store. “Cute, but no luck”.

So you can perfectly predict the results of spending 50 Gem Keys, and it will be the same for every player every attempt?

It says “odds” similar to the Chinese law, not “perfect prediction”. Players already have a fairly good handle on each type of ‘Chest odds’ for years. This is not a big deal.

It’s pretty clearly limited to “randomized virtual items for purchase”; almost no purchases in Gems are randomized. The only ones that could even vaguely qualify are the Growth Pack / Path to Glory since you get a random card, but even then, the rarity of the card is already disclosed and not random, and the specific card is presumably an evenly-distributed draw from the disclosed rarity, so even that is arguable.

Additionally, people in general are absolutely horrible at grasping statistics and probabilities. I guarantee you with complete certainty that if you disclose a 1:100 chance at a specific card, people will read that as “if I buy this 100 times I’m 100% going to get that card”, then they’ll file fraud complaints when they inevitably don’t get it, etc. It would be a flaming disaster all around.

The most successful mobile game on the planet is a Japanese MTX-based game, Monster Strike, and they do not disclose odds for anything…because the only item you can buy is premium currency (which you also gain for free), then you use that to pull the slot machine etc. It’s all analogous.


I get it, but I don’t think many app developers would agree Apple often conforms to the letter of their law rather than the spirit.

My opinion is they want games to publish the odds of randomized items, poor wording be damned. I think the games industry, as a whole, should probably self-regulate towards this because if they wait until some lawmaker decides to write the law, the results aren’t going to be fun.

It’s like the dang calories on fast food menus. None of us pay attention to them, but that the law requires them made people who would also clamor for “ban food with more than some arbitrary number of calories” happy. I think Apple’s hoping if “random chance” things have odds clearly labeled, we won’t get a law like, “random chance games are restricted to the user’s state’s legal gambling age”.

And the 12 days of Christmas?!

Hey everyone,

We’ll talk to Apple about this after the holiday season, and see what’s required.

At the moment, the way I read it, it seems they would require us to publish the percentage chances of each particular type of item from each chest… as has been pointed out, there isn’t much sense in trying to workaround Apple with technicalities, as they would just not approve an update.

I have no real objection to publishing the percentages in-game if required to do so. The MAIN reason we don’t publish them is that they generate a lot of support tickets of the type: “I opened 100 keys and didn’t receive the object that was 1% chance”… and it takes up the time of our support agents.


Maybe Zendesk needs a statistician to write up a quick form letter with a link to


Don’t see any issue here other than people are going to know the odds are horrible but that doesn’t stop people from buying lottery tickets or gambling anywhere else so why would it here :thinking:


I’ve never gambled, been to a casino, horse/dog race or even used a poker machine; but I have bought lottery tickets.

If they were to tell me the odds were exactly 1:20,000,000… I probably wouldn’t bother again :wink:

Other match games that offer ‘troops’ or cards have shown percentages for years.

Have the drop rates been adjusted over time? Have you ever made mention of lowering the drop rates?