- Nexon has been fined $8.9 million by the KFTC for allegedly controlling summon rates in Maplestory.
- It’s the highest-ever penalty incurred by an entity for violating regional Consumer Protection Laws.
- Nexon replied to the announcement, stating it accepts the decision & will consider challenging it.
Maplestory publisher, Nexon, has been fined approximately $9 million by the Korean Fair Trade Commission for allegedly engaging in unethical microtransaction practices. As reported by KED, the accurate value of the penalty is 11.6 billion in Korean Won which converts into $8.9 million. This action by KFTC was taken in light of Nexon’s possible manipulation of in-game cash shop items.
According to the anti-trust body, Nexon seems to have purposely controlled the drop/appearance rate of premium gachapon items in its online games such as Maplestory. Said items, referred to as Cubes, have had their probability of winning altered with some even being set to zero, without prior notice.
Cubes are equipment in Maplestory that augment the potential of wearable gear donned by avatars in-game. Players pay a set amount of money to roll the gacha and have a chance at getting their preferred or sought-after item that has a rate assigned to it. This mechanic is universal, with games such as Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle and Bleach Brave Souls implementing it on SSR characters and high-rarity accessories respectively.
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According to the KFTC, the probability of each Cube used to be set equally when Nexon first introduced the items in 2010. Near the end of that same year, however, the publisher allegedly altered summon rates of desired items in order to manipulate the market and get players to spend more money. Since then, Nexon has continued to tweak the probability so that some popular items are unable to be obtained at all.
Such beliefs of rate controlling are often theorized in gacha game communities but are mostly passed off as speculation or dubbed myths. Some people have even practiced restarting their games before performing summons to “change the seed” to get a better chance at acquiring the desired character or accessory.
We imposed the largest fine because the Cube is a core product of the game (Maple Story), the period of the violation is long and this is the second violation (by Nexon) following Sudden Attack.”
According to the director of market surveillance for the KFTC, the penalty was issued to Nexon due to it being the company’s second violation along with its duration. In response to this announcement, the company has stated that it accepts the decision but may consider taking it to court and challenging it.
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