South Korean publisher Nexon has been fined 11.6 billion won ($8.9 million) by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) for allegedly misleading customers about the probability of some purchasable item drops.
As reported by The Korea Economic Daily, the fine relates to items that can be bought in MapleStory and Bubble Fighter, with the KFTC claiming that Nexon altered the odds of players drawing preferred items, known as “Cubes,” in both of those titles without informing players.
The regulator said that, in some cases, Nexon ensured there would be zero chance of select Cubes dropping.
Cubes are usable items that alter the potential of equipment worn by characters in-game. They can be purchased at random through an in-game marketplace and have varying degrees of rarity.
The Korea Economic Daily states that Cubes were first introduced in 2010, at which point each one had an equal chance of dropping. Since then, however, Nexon has reportedly altered the odds of Cube drops to ensure that popular items appear less frequently.
The publication added that Nexon earned 550 billion won from Cube purchases alone between September 2010 and March 2021.
“We imposed the largest fine because the Cube is a core product of the game (MapleStory), the period of the violation is long and this is the second violation (by Nexon) following Sudden Attack,” said Kim Jung-ki, director of the market surveillance department of the Korea Fair Trade Commission.
Nexon said it “humbly” accepts the fine but indicated it may eventually challenge the decision.