Nexon said Monday it would disclose the draw probabilities of its “random” cash items to regain trust from users, as it is engrossed in scandal over the company’s alleged manipulation of game odds.
In the second apology posted on the official website of its fantasy adventure PC game MapleStory, Nexon director Kang Won-ki said the company is preparing to disclose data and records that would dispel suspicions surrounding the game’s random item draw system by Friday at the latest.
“After listening to the voices of our customers, the development team is currently making preparations to make things right. For damages inflicted by the game’s additional options and ability systems, Nexon is fully reviewing its compensation plans and aims to provide additional compensation and disclose probabilities of another probability-based ‘Cube’ system,” Kang said.
He said the company’s use of the expression ‘random’ has misled users to think that the odds of receiving each item are equal, while the firm had been preserving the value of some items by reducing their probabilities.
Nexon will launch a full inspection of all expressions and phrases related to probabilities inside its games and issue a follow-up notice as soon as the investigation is over, Kang added.
The scandal revolves around an in-game purchase item called Rebirth Flame, of which 19 additional options are given “randomly.” While users thought they had a uniform chance of 1/19, the company said the odds were uneven.
On Feb. 27, People Power Party Rep. Ha Tae-keung said he would launch an investigation into such schemes employed by Korean game companies over the past 10 years.
“Nexon must have manipulated the draw probability in a way that maximizes its profits. The problem is, such false advertising isn’t confined to MapleStory alone but encompasses almost all Korean games. Due to the broad spectrum of victims and the astronomical amount of damages, this case requires an investigation from the National Assembly,” Ha said.
While the scandal is still ongoing, some MapleStory users have migrated to a similar role-playing game called Lost Ark, developed by Smilegate.
As of Monday, Lost Ark ranked as the seventh most popular game at Korean internet cafes, commanding 2.32 percent of the total playing time of visitors. MapleStory dropped to eighth from sixth, accounting for 2.27 percent of total playing time.
“Lost Ark is experiencing an influx of new users, witnessed by the long login queue formed recently. Also, our server has been overloaded due to users downloading Lost Ark all at once,” a Smilegate official said.
By Kim Byung-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org)