Apple faces class action lawsuit over loot boxes

Apple is facing a class action lawsuit over its alleged “predatory business practices” with the loot boxes on its App Store. (via GI.biz).

The lawsuit, which was filed with the US District Court of Northern California, accuses Apple of unlawful of unlawful and unfair business practices, unfair and deceptive acts and practices, and unfair enrichment.

The filing reads: “Through the games it sells and offers for free to consumers through its AppStore, Apple engages in predatory practices enticing consumers, including children to engage in gambling and similar addictive conduct in violation of this and other laws designed to protect consumers and to prohibit such practices.”

The lawsuit makes use of the California Penal Code’s definition of gambling, which says that an illegal gambling device has three features: that it is a machine, aperture, or device, something of value is given in order to play, and that the player can receive something of value by chance.

The item of value in this case is not limited to coins, bills or tokens, and can in fact include “free replays, additional playing time, redemption tickets, gift cards, game credits, or anything else with a value, monetary or otherwise.” By this definition, it could be argued that the contents of many loot boxes could be considered “items of value.”

The filing states: None of these elements can be in dispute. A player uses his iPhone, iPad, or computer with the downloaded game on it (#1); The player pays real-world currency for the opportunity to open a Loot Box (#2); and the Loot Box is a randomized chance to obtain something valuable in-game.”

The US currently does not currently legally consider loot boxes to be gambling, although many countries around the world are starting to pay attention to the monetisation practice. Recently, the UK Government called for evidence that in-game loot boxes should be reclassified as gambling products.

 

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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