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Loot Boxes Under Fire

Loot boxes continue to attract negative attention and there are a few new stories reflecting the pushback game companies are getting on what many consider gambling and/or predatory sales practices. Following news last week that Belgium was investigating loot boxes, PC Gamer helps translate a report that the country has decided selling in-game loot boxes does constitute gambling, and is looking to get the practice banned in Europe (thanks Grumpy Sod, ASLayerAODsk, and Quboid). Meanwhile, back in the states, reddit notes a new video from Hawaii State Representative Chris Lee on the topic that calls out Electronic Arts specifically for "predatory behavior" for the loot box system in Star Wars Battlefront II, the game that helped bring such concerns to the forefront. Finally GameWatcher notes a more grassroots effort is underway to protest microtransactions in FIFA 18, as this reddit thread discusses a boycott of the game centered on the ability to pay to avoid an onerous grind to qualify for the game's Weekend League. Back to the video from Chris Lee, the state rep added his own comment to the reddit thread:

Chris Lee here - I'm the one in the suit. My staff just told me someone apparently found this youtube upload before we had a chance to finish putting it together, but I thought I'd leave it up and just post here to explain that this fight can be won if people step up. This fight is about protecting kids, protecting families, freedom from exploitation, and the future of entertainment in this country.

People are more powerful than they think. While we are stepping up to act in Hawaii, we have also been in discussions with our counterparts in a number of other states who are also considering how to address this issue. Change is difficult at the federal level, but states can and are taking action.

Even so, elected officials can't do it alone. They need your support and you can compel action wherever you live by calling and emailing your own state legislators and asking them to act. But don't stop there. Call your allies. Call your pastors and teachers and community leaders. Ask them to call your state legislators as well. Their voices are politically powerful.

I believe this fight can be won because all the key bases of political support across the country are on the same side. The religious community, the medical community, the education community, consumer advocates, parents, even many business leaders and local chambers of commerce. This is a fight that unites everyone, even the most polarized conservatives and progressives. Doing something is a political win for Democrats and Republicans alike. And frankly, we don't need to change the laws in every state - we just need to change a few and it will be enough to draw the line and compel change.

These kinds of lootboxes and microtransactions are explicitly designed to prey upon and exploit human psychology in the same way casino games are so designed. This is especially true for young adults who child psychologists and other experts explain are particularly vulnerable. These exploitive mechanisms and the deceptive marketing promoting them have no place in games being marketed to minors, and perhaps no place in games at all.

Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one. You have the power to get involved and decide this and the choice is clear: stand up now, or let this be the new normal from this point forward.

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63 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 1.
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63. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 23, 2017, 12:13 eRe4s3r
 
jdreyer wrote on Nov 23, 2017, 00:33:
Nate wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 20:47:
Adults should be able to control themselves when gambling or making in game purchases.

Children should not be exploited by adults. I'd suggest banning all exploitative marketing to children under a certain age in the US. This would include in game purchases, lootboxes and other forms marketing. I don't see the benefit to society in any of it.

If you want to develop a lootbox / addictive gambling type game. Age verification should be required on all players. Some type of cell phone + credit card + voice recording analysis(?) verification.

Some poor adult with mental problems blows a load on your game. There should be a court process to get the funds returned and that person gets put in the child category.

You say adults should be able to control themselves when gambling, but there's a reason gambling is illegal in most states.

And yet his radical solution wouldn't be a bad idea, although I don't think regulation should "cease" just because someone is age X, age is relative and only a number, it has no real bearing on anything.
 
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62. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 23, 2017, 11:27 Task
 
Dacote wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 19:27:
"Just" cosmetic items in paid lootcrates are a metastasis of the original cancer. https://youtu.be/NLDid1UNyg8?t=328

I was going to post this too, you beat me to it
 
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61. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 23, 2017, 00:33 jdreyer
 
Nate wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 20:47:
Adults should be able to control themselves when gambling or making in game purchases.

Children should not be exploited by adults. I'd suggest banning all exploitative marketing to children under a certain age in the US. This would include in game purchases, lootboxes and other forms marketing. I don't see the benefit to society in any of it.

If you want to develop a lootbox / addictive gambling type game. Age verification should be required on all players. Some type of cell phone + credit card + voice recording analysis(?) verification.

Some poor adult with mental problems blows a load on your game. There should be a court process to get the funds returned and that person gets put in the child category.

You say adults should be able to control themselves when gambling, but there's a reason gambling is illegal in most states.
 
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60. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 23:50 Beamer
 
Sepharo wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 20:07:
Beamer wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 19:10:
I didn't say ruined, reduced. The crates I got were worth $0.01. Being told I earned either a penny or the right to pay $3 is crazy to me. When I play something like CoD, when I get a reward I get something new. When I play CS:GO, it's maybe something new or maybe an opportunity for Valve to make more money from me.

With CoD you're talking about unlockables right?
I fucking hate unlockables. I don't want to grind for weapons. In a MP game all weapons should be accessible to all players from the beginning.

Other than the psychological concerns, and sticking to your experience receiving a reward that you had to pay for... would you have a problem with Overwatch's crates which you can open for free?

Hell, I'd be OK with csgo if you could also win free keys.
 
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59. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 20:47 Nate
 
Adults should be able to control themselves when gambling or making in game purchases.

Children should not be exploited by adults. I'd suggest banning all exploitative marketing to children under a certain age in the US. This would include in game purchases, lootboxes and other forms marketing. I don't see the benefit to society in any of it.

If you want to develop a lootbox / addictive gambling type game. Age verification should be required on all players. Some type of cell phone + credit card + voice recording analysis(?) verification.

Some poor adult with mental problems blows a load on your game. There should be a court process to get the funds returned and that person gets put in the child category.
 
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58. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 20:07 Sepharo
 
Beamer wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 19:10:
I didn't say ruined, reduced. The crates I got were worth $0.01. Being told I earned either a penny or the right to pay $3 is crazy to me. When I play something like CoD, when I get a reward I get something new. When I play CS:GO, it's maybe something new or maybe an opportunity for Valve to make more money from me.

With CoD you're talking about unlockables right?
I fucking hate unlockables. I don't want to grind for weapons. In a MP game all weapons should be accessible to all players from the beginning.

Other than the psychological concerns, and sticking to your experience receiving a reward that you had to pay for... would you have a problem with Overwatch's crates which you can open for free?
 
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57. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 19:59 Sepharo
 
Dacote wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 19:27:
"Just" cosmetic items in paid lootcrates are a metastasis of the original cancer. https://youtu.be/NLDid1UNyg8?t=328

I closed that video as soon as he said that Blizzard influenced the industry to start using cosmetic lootboxes. That's not even close to accurate. It was literally baked into Steam for many years before Overwatch was around and the majority of games that offer such a system do it through Steam infrastructure.

Kind of a weird metaphor though...
If you're contrasting cosmetic lootcrates with game affecting P2W ones... metastatis is worse right? How can cosmetic be worse than P2W? The flu compared to cancer maybe

This comment was edited on Nov 22, 2017, 20:11.
 
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56. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 19:48 jacobvandy
 
Damn, I just watched the video and one of the congressmen straight-up says Star Wars is like Joe Camel in this situation, enticing children to gamble like the long-since banned cigarette mascot enticed them to smoke. You know Disney does NOT want any part of that!

HorrorScope wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 19:10:
I was just in a old game, went into their store, then I thought Holy Shit! if this became illegal how does this work? Previously released games ok? Or gulp would they have to go in an make major code changes to a lot of games? Being a gambling thing, grandfathering may not be a thing.

My guess is they'd have to be reclassified by the ESRB and would then receive the dreaded Adults Only rating purely for the inclusion of what would now be considered gambling or gambling-like features.
 
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55. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 19:27 Dacote
 
"Just" cosmetic items in paid lootcrates are a metastasis of the original cancer. https://youtu.be/NLDid1UNyg8?t=328  
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54. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 19:17 Timmeh
 
loot boxes are complete bullshit. especially the way most company's do it. real money for RNG loot boxes with some microscopic success chance to get the promised items like .000000001 %.

I can sort of understand that for a free game? but any game with a price or a monthly subscription should not be allowed to use loot boxes like that.

they need to be completely outlawed imo.
 
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53. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 19:10 HorrorScope
 
I was just in a old game, went into their store, then I thought Holy Shit! if this became illegal how does this work? Previously released games ok? Or gulp would they have to go in an make major code changes to a lot of games? Being a gambling thing, grandfathering may not be a thing.  
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52. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 19:10 Beamer
 
I didn't say ruined, reduced. The crates I got were worth $0.01. Being told I earned either a penny or the right to pay $3 is crazy to me. When I play something like CoD, when I get a reward I get something new. When I play CS:GO, it's maybe something new or maybe an opportunity for Valve to make more money from me.  
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51. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 19:02 Luke
 
Lazy game developers  
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50. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 18:51 Sepharo
 
Beamer wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 15:53:
Sepharo wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 15:00:
Beamer wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 13:36:
I've said it here a hundred times, but the loot box system in CS:GO definitely reduced my enjoyment. It turned something that should have been fun and rewarding into something shallow and cynical.

I understand how Valve-style lootboxes (random/progressive box drops, have to buy the key, random purely-cosmetic item with varying degrees of rarity) can be seen as gambling and are specifically designed to be psychologically addictive/appealing... but I don't understand how that negatively affects anyone who doesn't wish to participate.

Lootboxes with gameplay affecting items, grinds for unlockables, P2W... I definitely get how that ruins a game.
But what's the problem with cosmetic items (aside from potential for addictive spending)?

Because locked crates were a reward. "Congratulations, you earned the right to pay us $3!"

If they were something you could always buy, fine, I wouldn't care. It's that they were treated as a reward that bothered me. Earning something sets off that little animal part of your brain, right, sending endorphins. Then to find out you need to pay $3 to redeem your reward? That's like Nigerian princes telling you that you've inherited $10,000,000 but need to pay them $1,000 to access it. Cynical and frustrating.

It's still a reward, you can sell the unopened box. So instead of spending $3 you can make ~$.50 or anywhere up to ~$50.00 depending on the rarity of the crate. But yeah, I do understand your point, but like I just posted to HorrorScope, I (and I assumed you) was approaching this from the standpoint of already deciding not to participate. CS gameplay is unchanged by the offering of the cosmetic items. If you don't give a shit about the crates I would assume your experience is unchanged. If you really wish you could open the crates, or have a burning desire for a red gun, but yet don't want to spend the money... I guess yeah that could ruin the experience.
 
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49. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 18:42 Sepharo
 
HorrorScope wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 15:59:
Sepharo wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 15:00:
But what's the problem with cosmetic items (aside from potential for addictive spending)?

That is the problem, nothing to aside to, that isn't good. However you have two flavors, one worse than the other. Random chance cosmetics means you have to spend who knows how much to get what you want. This needs to go to. The other is, you sell a cosmetic for X and get it every time, that is different and more acceptable certainly. But I could see some reviewing that as well.

It's an aside because I'm making the context of my reply about whether it affects those who do not participate.
 
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48. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 17:59 theglaze
 
Billion dollar industries are built on exploiting parents/children with gambling like systems...

Diamond Dig It anyone?

My 5-year-old cousin was watching this on YouTube, both parents didn't mind because she was at least being quiet...

All of this is simply a result of capitalism+consumerism, and there are plenty of sheep out there to shear. These corporations hope you never look up as they lead you into consumption addiction and butcher you in a casino, endless DLC content that never transfers to the next game, endless super-early-amazing-savings-Black-Friday sales, or opioid addiction.

Made in America.
 
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47. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 17:58 Creston
 
dumpy wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 16:21:
I don't play Call of Duty, Battlefront, or Shadow of War; but why is it that whenever one of these articles shows up, COD is rarely mentioned in the article or comments. It was my understanding the loot boxes in the latest WW2 game were particularly obnoxious.

Because few people on the PC, and probably zero people here, give a shit about CoD. But most everyone here WANTED SWBF2 to be awesome.

So, thanks, EA!
 
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46. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 16:21 dumpy
 
I don't play Call of Duty, Battlefront, or Shadow of War; but why is it that whenever one of these articles shows up, COD is rarely mentioned in the article or comments. It was my understanding the loot boxes in the latest WW2 game were particularly obnoxious.  
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45. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 16:00 HorrorScope
 
<Electric-Spock> wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 15:34:
I don't believe anyone has mentioned this yet, but depending on the type of game, loot boxes/crates can also turn the game into cesspool of cheaters. Take PUBG for example. Once loot crates were introduced, and random items could be sold for ridiculous amounts of money on the steam marketplace, the cheaters just flooded in.

Sure there will always be cheaters, but if you can make money from doing so....yeah..... thanks loot crates!!

Yes to all of that.
 
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44. Re: Loot Boxes Under Fire Nov 22, 2017, 15:59 HorrorScope
 
Sepharo wrote on Nov 22, 2017, 15:00:
But what's the problem with cosmetic items (aside from potential for addictive spending)?

That is the problem, nothing to aside to, that isn't good. However you have two flavors, one worse than the other. Random chance cosmetics means you have to spend who knows how much to get what you want. This needs to go to. The other is, you sell a cosmetic for X and get it every time, that is different and more acceptable certainly. But I could see some reviewing that as well.
 
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63 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 1.
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