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Loot Box Stories of the Day

There's an official statement from the U.K. Gambling commission about selling loot boxes in video games, which remains the hot topic of the moment (thanks Eurogamer). They say they are not set to officially declare the practice gambling, but they do indicate they are prepared to assist in regulating it nonetheless. Word is: "Where a product does not meet that test to be classed as gambling but could potentially cause harm to children, parents will undoubtedly expect proper protections to be put in place by those that create, sell and regulate those products. We have a long track record in keeping children safe and we are keen to share our experiences and expertise with others that have a similar responsibility. Whether gambling or not, we all have a responsibility to keep children and young people safe." Meanwhile, from across the Channel, One Angry Gamer notes a French post on UFC-Que Choisir discovered by jeuxvideo.com with more backlash against in-game loot crate sales. The article says they are planning to reclassify such sales as gambling, and prohibit their sale to minors. Since our French is more than a petite rusty, we'll just rely on Google's rough machine translation to offer part of the post in English:

The lottery pay: the chance causes the disenchantment
One of the big outputs of this end of the year, Star Wars Battlefront II , envisaged a system of release of contents making use of chance inside the game. In exchange for money stumbling, players could acquire bonuses, especially in the context of multiplayer modes via the Internet, in the form of booty chests (also called " loot boxes "): the player pays for an object, without knowing which to in advance, and the gain is determined randomly, after payment. If obtaining a gain is systematic, the content of it is however random.

Although the publisher Electronics Arts has announced, under the pressure of the players, the temporary deactivation of this function, the basic problem remains intact, others applying it. Indeed, a reference to Article L. 322-2 of the Internal Security Code shows that booty boxes have the characteristics of lotteries, and as such their strict supervision is essential. Indeed, it is unacceptable for a young audience to be introduced to games of chance, when it is no longer necessary to demonstrate the harmful effects of the addiction they can provoke.

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28 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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28. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 26, 2017, 22:35 Kxmode
 
RedEye9 wrote on Nov 26, 2017, 12:36:
Mr. Tact wrote on Nov 26, 2017, 08:36:
jdreyer wrote on Nov 26, 2017, 03:37:
The second scenario, however, will absolutely be classified as gambling, once governments get their shit together.
I wouldn't hold my breath on governments getting their shit together...
At least there's hope, some governments are finally getting their shit together...

Yeah, you went there didn't you? Banning an entire religious organization on trumped-up government charges is woefully different than flagging RNG loot crates in a video game as gambling. IOW that was hard-core top-notch trolling.
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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27. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 26, 2017, 22:31 Kxmode
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Nov 26, 2017, 08:36:
jdreyer wrote on Nov 26, 2017, 03:37:
The second scenario, however, will absolutely be classified as gambling, once governments get their shit together.
I wouldn't hold my breath on governments getting their shit together...

Video games are generally an easy target for all sides.
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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26. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 26, 2017, 22:29 Kxmode
 
jdreyer wrote on Nov 26, 2017, 03:37:
Kxmode wrote on Nov 25, 2017, 22:36:
jdreyer wrote on Nov 25, 2017, 04:21:
Kxmode wrote on Nov 25, 2017, 03:16:
If the intention is to protect children, publishers will ensure every game with a smidgen of microtransactions will be rated PEGI 18 and that may likely translate into Rated M here in the states. When the U.S. government threatened publishers with regulations, because of games like Mortal Kombat being sold for home consoles, the industry decided to self-regulate with the creation of the ESRB governing body.
MTs in and of themselves aren't a problem. Selling Lootboxes with a random chance of winning is the problem. Don't conflate the two.

With all due respect to your assessment, that's wrong too. The issue with loot crates is not the RNG factor. The real problem is that in a game like SWBF2, EA is blocking core gameplay elements behind paywalls. THAT'S the issue. Of course, EA's PR team would say the items are "optional," but they're not. For that reason, loot crates can be seen as a form of gambling because they're designed to basically force a purchase (pardon the pun) and the item received is random. Contrast with loot crates in a game like Guild Wars 2. Black Lion Chests are RNG but everything is 100% optional vanity stuff.

I'm pretty sure that the law won't see it that way. Two scenarios after buying GRiD 2:

1. I buy a full priced game and find that 80% of the cars are only available as for-sale DLC.

2. I buy a full priced game and find that 80% of the cars are only available if I buy a "shipping crate" which may or may not have a car in it.

No state or country is going to object to the first scenario, disgusting as it is. (This is the way GRiD 2 actually is)

The second scenario, however, will absolutely be classified as gambling, once governments get their shit together.

I completely agree with you on that.
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
25. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 26, 2017, 12:36 RedEye9
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Nov 26, 2017, 08:36:
jdreyer wrote on Nov 26, 2017, 03:37:
The second scenario, however, will absolutely be classified as gambling, once governments get their shit together.
I wouldn't hold my breath on governments getting their shit together...
At least there's hope, some governments are finally getting their shit together...
 
Avatar 58135
 
Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport
If You’re Not Scared About Fascism in the U.S., You Should Be
Vote like your rights depend on it
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24. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 26, 2017, 08:36 Mr. Tact
 
jdreyer wrote on Nov 26, 2017, 03:37:
The second scenario, however, will absolutely be classified as gambling, once governments get their shit together.
I wouldn't hold my breath on governments getting their shit together...
 
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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23. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 26, 2017, 03:37 jdreyer
 
Kxmode wrote on Nov 25, 2017, 22:36:
jdreyer wrote on Nov 25, 2017, 04:21:
Kxmode wrote on Nov 25, 2017, 03:16:
If the intention is to protect children, publishers will ensure every game with a smidgen of microtransactions will be rated PEGI 18 and that may likely translate into Rated M here in the states. When the U.S. government threatened publishers with regulations, because of games like Mortal Kombat being sold for home consoles, the industry decided to self-regulate with the creation of the ESRB governing body.
MTs in and of themselves aren't a problem. Selling Lootboxes with a random chance of winning is the problem. Don't conflate the two.

With all due respect to your assessment, that's wrong too. The issue with loot crates is not the RNG factor. The real problem is that in a game like SWBF2, EA is blocking core gameplay elements behind paywalls. THAT'S the issue. Of course, EA's PR team would say the items are "optional," but they're not. For that reason, loot crates can be seen as a form of gambling because they're designed to basically force a purchase (pardon the pun) and the item received is random. Contrast with loot crates in a game like Guild Wars 2. Black Lion Chests are RNG but everything is 100% optional vanity stuff.

I'm pretty sure that the law won't see it that way. Two scenarios after buying GRiD 2:

1. I buy a full priced game and find that 80% of the cars are only available as for-sale DLC.

2. I buy a full priced game and find that 80% of the cars are only available if I buy a "shipping crate" which may or may not have a car in it.

No state or country is going to object to the first scenario, disgusting as it is. (This is the way GRiD 2 actually is)

The second scenario, however, will absolutely be classified as gambling, once governments get their shit together.
 
Avatar 22024
 
The only thing that flat-earthers have to fear is sphere itself.
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22. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 25, 2017, 22:41 Kxmode
 
Suppa7 wrote on Nov 25, 2017, 06:49:
Loot boxes are the natural progression of you people accepting mmo's and steam, as soon as people bought a server locked game it was over. The entire mission of the game industry was to take software control away from customers. That has been going on since the days of Ultima online, everquest and wow.

Arenanet has had loot crates in both of their games since the beginning and it works because they are always optional cosmetic items. EA doesn't appear to want to play that game. They want to go the route of a full-priced AAA-title masquerading as phone app with in-game purchases. "Farmville for Star Wars fans!"
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
21. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 25, 2017, 22:36 Kxmode
 
jdreyer wrote on Nov 25, 2017, 04:21:
Kxmode wrote on Nov 25, 2017, 03:16:
If the intention is to protect children, publishers will ensure every game with a smidgen of microtransactions will be rated PEGI 18 and that may likely translate into Rated M here in the states. When the U.S. government threatened publishers with regulations, because of games like Mortal Kombat being sold for home consoles, the industry decided to self-regulate with the creation of the ESRB governing body.
MTs in and of themselves aren't a problem. Selling Lootboxes with a random chance of winning is the problem. Don't conflate the two.

With all due respect to your assessment, that's wrong too. The issue with loot crates is not the RNG factor. The real problem is that in a game like SWBF2, EA is blocking core gameplay elements behind paywalls. THAT'S the issue. Of course, EA's PR team would say the items are "optional," but they're not. For that reason, loot crates can be seen as a form of gambling because they're designed to basically force a purchase (pardon the pun) and the item received is random. Contrast with loot crates in a game like Guild Wars 2. Black Lion Chests are RNG but everything is 100% optional vanity stuff.
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
20. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 25, 2017, 10:40 eRe4s3r
 
RedEye9 wrote on Nov 25, 2017, 09:36:
Suppa7 wrote on Nov 25, 2017, 06:49:
Loot boxes are the natural progression of you people accepting mmo's and steam, as soon as people bought a server locked game it was over. The entire mission of the game industry was to take software control away from customers. That has been going on since the days of Ultima online, everquest and wow.
Once again, it's you peoples fault because supper@7 is purrrfect. omfg ffs

Not just that he is purrfect, by saying that he basically admitted he hasn't played a single AAA game the past decade legally*.
 
Avatar 54727
 
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19. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 25, 2017, 09:53 RedEye9
 
NegaDeath wrote on Nov 24, 2017, 15:27:
Apologies if posted previously, but I just finished watching a great video on this subject and EA's role in developing the practice and thought I'd share it.

Video could have been a bit shorter, and should have just skipped to the Jim Sterling explanation of MT's.
"A cynically motivated skeleton of a non-game, a scam that will take your cash and offer nothing in return," writes Escapist's Jim Sterling. "A perversion of a respected series, twisted by some of the most soulless, selfish, and nauseating human beings to ever blight the game industry."
 
Avatar 58135
 
Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport
If You’re Not Scared About Fascism in the U.S., You Should Be
Vote like your rights depend on it
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18. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 25, 2017, 09:36 RedEye9
 
Suppa7 wrote on Nov 25, 2017, 06:49:
Loot boxes are the natural progression of you people accepting mmo's and steam, as soon as people bought a server locked game it was over. The entire mission of the game industry was to take software control away from customers. That has been going on since the days of Ultima online, everquest and wow.
Once again, it's you peoples fault because supper@7 is purrrfect. omfg ffs
 
Avatar 58135
 
Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport
If You’re Not Scared About Fascism in the U.S., You Should Be
Vote like your rights depend on it
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17. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 25, 2017, 08:27 El Pit
 
Wall Street Journal: The Great Loot Box Crisis
(coming soon!)
 
They're waiting for you, Gabe, in the test chamber!
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16. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 25, 2017, 06:49 Suppa7
 
Loot boxes are the natural progression of you people accepting mmo's and steam, as soon as people bought a server locked game it was over. The entire mission of the game industry was to take software control away from customers. That has been going on since the days of Ultima online, everquest and wow.  
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15. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 25, 2017, 06:46 eRe4s3r
 
NegaDeath wrote on Nov 24, 2017, 15:27:
Apologies if posted previously, but I just finished watching a great video on this subject and EA's role in developing the practice and thought I'd share it.


Nice video but as was already said, I guess we'll see what really comes from it. Maybe I should write a letter to my local politician about it... mhhh...
 
Avatar 54727
 
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14. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 25, 2017, 04:21 jdreyer
 
Kxmode wrote on Nov 25, 2017, 03:16:
If the intention is to protect children, publishers will ensure every game with a smidgen of microtransactions will be rated PEGI 18 and that may likely translate into Rated M here in the states. When the U.S. government threatened publishers with regulations, because of games like Mortal Kombat being sold for home consoles, the industry decided to self-regulate with the creation of the ESRB governing body.
MTs in and of themselves aren't a problem. Selling Lootboxes with a random chance of winning is the problem. Don't conflate the two.
 
Avatar 22024
 
The only thing that flat-earthers have to fear is sphere itself.
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13. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 25, 2017, 03:16 Kxmode
 
If the intention is to protect children, publishers will ensure every game with a smidgen of microtransactions will be rated PEGI 18 and that may likely translate into Rated M here in the states. When the U.S. government threatened publishers with regulations, because of games like Mortal Kombat being sold for home consoles, the industry decided to self-regulate with the creation of the ESRB governing body.  
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
12. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 24, 2017, 21:17 Mr. Tact
 
NegaDeath wrote on Nov 24, 2017, 15:27:
Apologies if posted previously, but I just finished watching a great video on this subject and EA's role in developing the practice and thought I'd share it.
Interesting watch. However I think he is overly optimistic about the pending end of "Wilson loot boxes" and prediction of Andrew Wilson's departure from being CEO of EA. That said, he might be right -- I hope he is.
 
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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11. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 24, 2017, 18:17 Quboid
 
jdreyer wrote on Nov 24, 2017, 17:27:
NegaDeath wrote on Nov 24, 2017, 15:27:
Apologies if posted previously, but I just finished watching a great video on this subject and EA's role in developing the practice and thought I'd share it.


Great video. Here's one key from it: a game like BF1 costs 40 cents to make a dollar. With a microtransaction game, EA spends 20 cents to make a dollar. It's no wonder they canceled that single player Star Wars game.

Also, apparently EA's dev costs are $300M less than in 2009. They are spending less on development, while making more money. And the idea that MTs are needed to cover dev costs is mostly BS. Greed, indeed.

That's well worth watching. I'm not that optimistic but he clearly knows what he's talking about and has good reasons for his position. I blame Overwatch a bit too, it helped normalise the practise, letting EA push further faster.

I play FIFA a lot. I glanced at Ultimate Team years ago, saw it was card pack based and never looked at it again. I've never spent a penny, and didn't know how bad it had become. I wonder if I should ditch the series out of principle anyway, if Wilson lootboxes persist.

One quibble is that he, like quite a few people, dismiss things like the mass Reddit downvote as unimportant and that it's regulatory input that matters - these are connected. It was effectively a petition with two-thirds of a million people saying something needs done and regulators will be encouraged to act. Public opinion matters - at least in functioning democracies, Ajit Pai - and slactivism is better than nothing.

The thought that other publishers are mad at EA for screwing the pooch is perhaps the single funniest thing about all this.
 
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10. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 24, 2017, 17:52 Cutter
 
jdreyer wrote on Nov 24, 2017, 14:33:
LOL, it's a shame it took so long for this shit to come to light. One does tire of reading stories about addicted players spending $2M on a free to play game.

"Those who spend amounts like Barnes has are the rarest of people, and they come to expect good treatment from the game company. How game companies choose to accommodate the needs of these players can be very important, much like the way that Las Vegas casinos court and coddle their high rollers who gamble away millions. If the game companies lose their whales, the impact can reach far beyond one person."

Yeah but the difference is that in Vegas you get a high-roller sweet and everything comped including hookers and blow. And most importantly, you can actually win money. You get nothing for this except virtual items. So really you're just giving people money for imaginary stuff. How utterly amazing!
 
Avatar 25394
 
"Rmabo. John J.? Well what do you know? Ol' Harry here's a soldier."
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9. Re: Loot Box Stories of the Day Nov 24, 2017, 17:27 jdreyer
 
NegaDeath wrote on Nov 24, 2017, 15:27:
Apologies if posted previously, but I just finished watching a great video on this subject and EA's role in developing the practice and thought I'd share it.


Great video. Here's one key from it: a game like BF1 costs 40 cents to make a dollar. With a microtransaction game, EA spends 20 cents to make a dollar. It's no wonder they canceled that single player Star Wars game.

Also, apparently EA's dev costs are $300M less than in 2009. They are spending less on development, while making more money. And the idea that MTs are needed to cover dev costs is mostly BS. Greed, indeed.
 
Avatar 22024
 
The only thing that flat-earthers have to fear is sphere itself.
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