Korean companies fined $950K for deceptive loot box practices

The Korean Fair Trade Commission has fined three video game companies, including heavy-hitters Nexon and Netmarble, for deceptive loot box practices. 

The Korean Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has fined three video game companies, including heavy-hitters Nexon and Netmarble, for employing deceptive loot box practices. 

As reported by The Korea Herald, Nexon Korea -- the publisher behind Lawbreakers, MapleStory, and the Korean version of Counter Strike -- was hit with a $882,700 penalty and a $5,200 fine, the biggest among the three. 

Star Wars: Force Arena and Marvel: Future Fight publisher Netmarble was handed a $42,300 penalty and $14,100 fine, while Destiny Child creator NextFloor received a fine $4,700. 

All three have been asked to review and reform their monetization practices, with the Korean FTC specifically taking issue with way randomized loot crates are being promoted.

Indeed, the commission believes the offending outfits have been employing ads that display incorrect or misleading odds for loot crate drops.

For instance, it claims Nexon's promotion campaign implied all loot crate drops had an even chance of dropping, when in reality the odds of receiving certain items were as low as 0.5 percent. Nexon has since spoken out against the decision, claiming the FTC misinterpreted the wording of its ad campaign. 

"In our puzzle event, we used the phrase 'random provision' to suggest the items would be provided at random, and that the odds of obtaining each puzzle piece were different," said the company. "However, the FTC interpreted the phrase as suggesting equal odds. We plan to work on obtaining an additional review of this issue in the future."

The Korean FTC isn't the first organization to take issue with the use of loot boxes. Politicians and officials from around the world have been reviewing the "predatory" monetization method, with some calling for the controversial mechanic to be banned outright

Latest Jobs

Xbox Game Studios

Redmond, Washington
Technical Lighting Artist


Hamburg, Germany
Game Designer - Elvenar

Six Foot

Houston, TX
Six Foot Director, Player Relations

Hometopia Inc.

Lead Engineer
More Jobs   


Explore the
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Job Board

Game Developer Newsletter


Explore the

Game Developer Job Board

Browse open positions across the game industry or recruit new talent for your studio

Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Follow us


Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more