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Nexon hit with $8.9 Million fine for manipulation of MapleStory drop items

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The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) reportedly fined South Korean online game giant Nexon Korea Corp. 11.6 billion won (approximately $8.9 million). The fine follows allegations that Nexon misled players about in-game items in its popular games, MapleStory and Bubble Fighter. Nexon was recently involved in another controversy with MapleStory over the Index Finger.

Nexon is accused of secretly rigging players’ chances of receiving cool items in their games

Nexon, the majority shareholder in Nexon Games Co., is accused of manipulating the chances of players obtaining desired in-game items known as Cubes without informing them. Cubes are virtual items that can be purchased to reset or improve the potential of characters’ equipment in MapleStory. Each Cube has a unique set of potential levels.

Nexon changed the drop rate structure in their game in September 2010, reducing the likelihood of popular desired options, after introducing it in May 2010 with equal probability for each option. Nexon changed the probability again between August 2011 and March 2021, making certain highly preferred options completely disappear.

Nexon MapleStory Items
Image via Nexon

Players pay around 2,000 won (approximately $1.6) each to draw a Cube, to do gacha, and to get their desired items. During the period between September 2010 and March 2021, Nexon earned a staggering 550 billion won (approximately $42 million) in tentative sales from Cube transactions.

The KFTC emphasized that Nexon failed to notify players about the changes to the probability structure of Cube items. Notably, Nexon issued a notice in August 2011 claiming that there had been no changes to the Cube structure, which was later discovered to be false.

Nexon slapped with record fine in South Korea for game cube shenanigans

The record fine was justified by Kim Jung-ki, the director of the KFTC’s market surveillance department, who stated, “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 game controversy.”

Nexon
Image via Nexon

This is the most severe penalty ever imposed in South Korea for violating the Act on Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce. Nexon responded with humility, accepting the commission’s decision but hinting at the possibility of contesting it or pursuing legal action.

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