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Game-Time report / On the 22nd of last month, South Korea’s mandatory probability disclosure law was officially implemented, marking that probability disclosure in game products released in South Korea has changed from a voluntary behavior of game companies to a statutory mandatory requirement.

Many Korean companies have also disclosed the probabilities of obtaining various props in the game on their official websites or in-game in accordance with official standards in compliance with the deadline before the regulations are implemented to protect consumers’ right to know.

However, such a new regulation, which should be a smooth transition and almost inconvenient to consumers, caused an uproar in South Korea within 10 days of its implementation.

Some players have discovered that the latest compulsory announcement of the probability of obtaining in-game items for the game “Ragnarok Online (Ragnarok)” (라그나로크온라인(라그나로크)), published in South Korea by the Korean company Gravity, seems to be different from the probability previously announced spontaneously. .

According to Korean media, before and after the implementation of South Korea’s mandatory probability disclosure law, the probability of appearance of about a hundred items in the two versions of “Ragnarok Online (Ragnarok)” was different, and some items had two versions. The difference in acquisition probability has reached 8 times (from 0.8% before to 0.1% now).

Although Gravity officially responded through the media, this phenomenon occurred because “When it is necessary to disclose the probability of an item, we will verify it through simulation, but this process has some flaws.

However, you must know that the probability of each prop appearing in the game is actually certain, and there are ready-made forms clearly written in black and white.

What’s more, the number of props designed in “Ragnarok Online (Ragnarok)” this time is so large and the errors are so large that it is actually difficult to avoid using “errors and defects”. (Updated with the game, there may be some debate after official adjustments are made).

Considering that the current probability announced by Gravity is legally mandatory, South Korea, including players and media, is indeed biased towards the fact that the company has mixed water into the previously announced probability and exaggerated the probability of the item appearing.

Some players have already submitted complaints to the Korean Fair Trade Commission, believing that Gravity is manipulating the game and falsifying the probabilities.

As the first case after the relevant regulations came online, the Korean Fair Trade Commission also solemnly responded according to Korean media, “The relevant complaints have been transferred from the Seoul local office that accepted the complaints to the Fair Trade Commission headquarters, and a comprehensive investigation has been launched.”

“We plan to investigate how much consumer harm was caused by Gravity’s incorrect probability disclosures and whether there was intentional manipulation to deceive consumers in the context of this situation.”

According to Game-Time, the entire incident actually concerns more than just Gravity, a gaming company. The Korean Fair Trade Commission’s attitude towards this incident will inevitably affect Gravity’s subsequent situation and the future implementation of the bill.

As for regulations, this case will determine whether there is a retroactive mechanism for the regulations, that is, whether other gamers can settle old scores in the future.

Prior to this, many Korean game companies have actually joined GSOK, which is the Korean Game Self-Regulatory Association established in 2019. A major task of the association is to monitor the probability disclosure issues of game products operating in South Korea and publish monthly reports. Announcement to show which products are not qualified.

GSOK’s announcement in May last year

Most of the game products and companies on this announcement are Chinese or European and American companies. After all, Korean law did not mandate disclosure at the time, and the probability formula was a voluntary act for these companies.

As for the Gravity controversy, it can be said that not only did the Korean game company’s spontaneous disclosure act lose credibility and become a joke, it will naturally make Korean players wonder whether there are more companies that have announced probabilities. There was suspicion of fraud and evidence was provided.

Once players start to dig up old scores and can’t find the problem, it’s okay. If they find the problem, the Korean game industry may experience another wave of large-scale self-examination similar to the previous “feminist” incident.

The current mainstream view in Korean media is that the Gravity scandal may trigger discussions about larger-scale scrutiny in the industry. It remains to be seen whether more companies will be implicated in the future.

For Gravity, even if Gravity has different probabilities of publicity before and after, and is not pursued by the Korean Fair Trade Commission, it is also a potential crisis whether its suspected counterfeiting behavior will be sued for fraud by players.

You must know that at the beginning of this year, Nexon was fined 11.6 billion won (approximately 63 million yuan) for secretly changing the probability of equipment and lowering the probability of equipment from 1.8% to 1% multiple times in three years without informing consumers. The largest fine in history was issued.

Image source: Nexon

Although according to the latest financial report, Gravity is a relatively outstanding performer among Korean factories, achieving sales of 726 billion won (3.99 billion yuan) in 2023, a year-on-year increase of 56.6%, and operating profit of 160 billion won (880 million yuan). Yuan), a year-on-year increase of 52.8%, breaking the highest annual performance record for eight consecutive years. They may not be short of money to pay fines.

However, related incidents have almost irreversibly damaged the trust of players and the brand image of game companies.

Although the disclosure of probabilities has been mandatory in China for a long time, it is difficult for Chinese companies to step into the trap in similar fields. However, experiences similar to Gravity are also warning Chinese manufacturers going overseas. With the advancement of laws and regulations such as the Korean game agent system, it is necessary to comply with local laws and regulations. Regulations and legal operations are necessary for long-term development.

Once due to negligence, regulatory authorities in South Korea and other regions come to visit, and are even directly required to be removed from the app store, it is likely to be a disaster for overseas products.

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