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Loot Boxes, Gambling, and the Law (Read 2480 times)

Started by DNZRX768, January 28, 2018, 02:53:04 pm
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Loot Boxes, Gambling, and the Law
#1  January 28, 2018, 02:53:04 pm
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While the issue concerning loot boxes and whatever if they are considered to be gambling or not has been around for as long as loot boxes are in existance, it has become a more visible one to the public in general ever since the EA's Battlefront Lootbox finasco and ESRB's refusal to rate Lootboxes as AO.

And in the latest news, we have this:

https://www.techspot.com/news/72943-washington-state-determine-if-loot-boxes-gambling.html

So, things start to reach a fever pitch and the government is getting involved in full, with UK, Belgium, and Australia feeling that the Lootboxes are indeed gambling and a couple states here in the US are looking into the matter. So, I am curious on everyone's position on this matter on this forum.

As for me? I am mixed on this issue. On one hand, I know some people are either very annoyed or outright hostile at lootboxes, gatchapan, or anything of the sort and I understand the reasons why. On the other hand, I am very skeptical and suspicious of the governement's intensions and abilities with regards to this issue. Twisting the knife is that the State Senator dared use the "Think of the Children" argument, which is a definite red flag in my mind that they really do not have a very good reason to be doing all of this at all...

So, what are your thoughts?
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Re: Loot Boxes, Gambling, and the Law
#2  January 28, 2018, 03:41:32 pm
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The ESRB's lootboxes/gacha -> TCG analogy has some leg to stand on.

That being said, locking meaningful content to lootboxes on a game that retails at 60 USD is pure fucking evil and the consumer backlash is completely justified. Nobody should support a studio that does this shit.
Re: Loot Boxes, Gambling, and the Law
#3  January 28, 2018, 04:20:00 pm
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Doesn't most gambling not guarantee you get something in return?

At least with lootboxes/gacha you're getting something either way
Re: Loot Boxes, Gambling, and the Law
#4  January 28, 2018, 04:43:35 pm
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TCGs have always had a strong secondary market; the intent of opening packs isn't to get the cards you want, it's to get them cheaper than buying them from a reseller and, if you're into that, selling them yourself at a profit.

With digital things, you don't have the option, and are slaved to RNG to get what you want.

That's the difference.

Also that you can't sell the unwanted digital goods you get from opening packs. Because they're digital. And therefore pretty goddamn valueless.
Re: Loot Boxes, Gambling, and the Law
#5  January 28, 2018, 05:33:58 pm
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That being said, locking meaningful content to lootboxes on a game that retails at 60 USD is pure fucking evil and the consumer backlash is completely justified. Nobody should support a studio that does this shit.
I agree. I am not exactly sure what is going on with EA when they do that. I find it unbelievable that not one executive spoke up and say that what they are doing is wrong and will damage the company a ton.

That being said, I wonder if EA's example is an outlier of representative of the norm out there.

TCGs have always had a strong secondary market; the intent of opening packs isn't to get the cards you want, it's to get them cheaper than buying them from a reseller and, if you're into that, selling them yourself at a profit.
With digital things, you don't have the option, and are slaved to RNG to get what you want.
That's the difference.
Also that you can't sell the unwanted digital goods you get from opening packs. Because they're digital. And therefore pretty goddamn valueless.

In a way, you have the Chinese Online Gold Farmers to thank for that.

You see, I once read somewhere that the reason why the TCG Shadowverse banned China from its game is because that the Chinese Online Gold Farmers are exploiting the game's generosity to sell accounts for money, going against the game's terms of service. Just think of all of the trouble they could do if an online auction system is in place...
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Re: Loot Boxes, Gambling, and the Law
#6  January 28, 2018, 07:25:06 pm
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I agree. I am not exactly sure what is going on with EA when they do that.
Really? Because it seems clear as day to me. They were looking for a way to most screw players out of their money. With the original BF2 system, you had players who would buy the lootboxes and have an edge. Then those players that they were up against would see their gear and be like "I want to be better now too" and be enticed to buy lootboxes which in turn would make others be enticed and so on. And they could just give the excuse that "if you play enough you can just get the same stuff without buying a lootbox". Except that in BF2's case the stuff you get is seriously OP with no downsides to balance it. There's no downsides to the upgrades you get. It was the definition of pay 2 win. It gets worse when you realize that new players will get screwed over hard by older players and not because of a difference in player skill.

To compare, allow me to bring up Call of Duty. In CoD, you have a progression system which levels up as you play. The weapons, equipment and perks you can use are locked behind this system. The thing is, even at lower levels, the stuff you do have is very viable. A single digit level player can reach top of the scoreboard if they're skilled enough.

Let's not forget that lootboxes have been around for a while now. The difference is that in other games any gameplay differences were either sidegrades or very minor advantages or cosmetics only.
Re: Loot Boxes, Gambling, and the Law
#7  January 29, 2018, 12:51:16 am
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Oh, I know that EA are greedy bastards and I expected them to act like such. It is just that I never figured that they would be so stupid to go to such an extreme with Disney's property of all things because there is an unspoken rule with Disney: you do not screw with their IP like this or else you will get screwed over. I seriously cannot believe that all of EA's executives and corporate officers would think that putting such invasive loot-box micro transaction mechanics in a game with Disney's name all over it would be okay, especially if the mechanics would drag Disney's name through the mud. Thanks to that stunt, we have this mess on our hands.
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Re: Loot Boxes, Gambling, and the Law
#8  January 29, 2018, 01:58:13 am
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TCGs have always had a strong secondary market; the intent of opening packs isn't to get the cards you want, it's to get them cheaper than buying them from a reseller and, if you're into that, selling them yourself at a profit.

With digital things, you don't have the option, and are slaved to RNG to get what you want.

That's the difference.

Also that you can't sell the unwanted digital goods you get from opening packs. Because they're digital. And therefore pretty goddamn valueless.

this is still getting worked on, this is the second time I read somethign implying that to make it fairier players should be able to resell their loot. mtg is a good precedence since it's soemthign that has been allowed since forever  and it's very similar; someone also mentioned that for this to be fair, the RNG should be public or at least the chances and that someone was apple.
Re: Loot Boxes, Gambling, and the Law
#9  February 14, 2018, 07:14:20 pm
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An update to this topic at hand, it looks like Hawaii is introducing some bills...

https://web.archive.org/web/20180213144036/https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2018-02-13-hawaii-introduces-landmark-legislation-against-loot-boxes

I haven't looked at the exact text of the bills in detail, but I am not hearing good things about them...

EDIT:

So, I quickly looked over the text of the bills in question as well as the article itself. There are four bills in motion inside Hawaii's State Legislature. They come in pairs and each pair deals with a specific act. One pair of bills seek to (quoting from the news article):

Quote
seek to establish disclosure requirements, including probability rates, for publishers of games that feature loot box mechanics. Furthermore, any digital or physical copies of games that feature loot boxes would be labelled as follows: "Warning: contains in-game purchases and gambling-like mechanisms which may be harmful or addictive".

Okay, fine. The first one I can tolerate, given that Shadowverse the CCG is doing it. The second part about the labels I would be okay with if they did not make gaming look as bad of a vice as smoking and drinking, which is quite insulting to say the least.

The second pair of bills seek to (again, quoting from the news article):

Quote
aim to prohibit the sale of video games containing randomised rewards, or a virtual item that can be redeemed to receive a randomised reward, to consumers under the age of 21.

Never mind the sheer potential for this act to be abused by sleazy politicians, how will they enforce this stupid act is beyond me, because anyone that spends a nice bit of time on the internet in general knows a dozen ways to get around age filters, including lying on the age forms. After all, how would they check without possibly breaking a few privacy laws in the process? This bill sounds very stupid and poorly thought-out.

And one more thing:

Quote
"I grew up playing games my whole life," said Lee in Hawaii Tribune Herald report. "I've watched firsthand the evolution of the industry from one that seeks to create new things to one that's begun to exploit people, especially children, to maximize profit."

Again with the "think-of-the-children act"?! And he claims to be a gamer on top of all of this! He is no gamer and he is definitely not for the children if he has to say all of this. He is just another foolish politician seeking to make a name for himself.
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Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 05:04:51 am by DNZRX768
Re: Loot Boxes, Gambling, and the Law
#10  February 27, 2018, 09:03:49 pm
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http://www.siliconera.com/2018/02/27/esrb-adding-loot-box-label-games/
Quote
If a game has any sort of add-on or subscription, it will carry this in-game purchases label. This means a title like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild would get the label because of its season pass and DLC, even though it does not have microtransactions. It also means a game like Overwatch would have the label, due to its loot boxes.
Read more at http://www.siliconera.com/2018/02/27/esrb-adding-loot-box-label-games/#Dr2AdcgsiIEKgarV.99
Re: Loot Boxes, Gambling, and the Law
#11  February 28, 2018, 02:19:03 pm
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So basically, every game will have this label.
Re: Loot Boxes, Gambling, and the Law
#12  February 28, 2018, 03:08:18 pm
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That's the 1st thing I thought too. This label has no meaning.
Re: Loot Boxes, Gambling, and the Law
#13  February 28, 2018, 03:13:25 pm
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There are additional in-game monetary transactions in this game

It's useless but it seems in line with what they always do IMO. It's just a legal information.
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Re: Loot Boxes, Gambling, and the Law
#14  February 28, 2018, 04:13:50 pm
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Well, it's for "parents".
, so for them it's just a kid wasting money for gaming content, it does not matter if it falls or not under gambling; kind of like how idiot parents complain aobut violence in videogames yet buy R rated/GTA games for their 10 year old kids.