Apple faces class action lawsuit over App Store loot boxes

App Store on iPhone
App Store on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is being sued in California.
  • It's over loot boxes in some of the apps on its App Store.
  • The complaint says that Apple is enticing consumers, in particular children to engage in gambling.

Apple is being sued in a class-action lawsuit over the provision of apps in its App Store that sell loot boxes.

As reported by AppleInsider:

Apple on Friday was hit with a proposed class-action lawsuit targeting loot boxes in games and apps, a mechanism typically characterized by in-app purchases that present buyers with randomized digital rewards.A complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleges Apple is complicit in promoting gambling and addictive behavior by allowing developers to market apps and games with loot boxes on the App Store.

The suit claims that "through the games it sells and offers for free to consumers through its 'App Store', Apple engages in predatory practices enticing consumers, including children to engage in gambling and similar addictive conduct in violation of this and other laws designed to protect consumers and to prohibit such practices."

The lawsuit compares the practice to the advertising of big tobacco, which relies on creating addictive behavior to generate profit.

The suit notes that a large portion of Apple revenue comes from, its App Store, where Apple takes a 30% cut of all sales:

"Dozens (if not hundreds) of App Store games rely on some form of Loot Box or similar gambling mechanism to generate billions of dollars, much of it from kids."

Apple's own website notes that 84 of apps on the App Store are free and that those developers pay nothing to Apple. On in-app purchases it states:

These apps are free for users to download, and users can pay for additional digital features and content in the app with Apple's In-App Purchase system. Developers earn 70% of sales from in-app purchases and Apple collects a 30% commission.

Apple also provides comprehensive parental controls to stop children from buying content within apps and games without their parents' permission.

Specific games referenced include Mario Kart Tour, Fifa, and Roblox. You can read the full lawsuit here.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9