Microtransactions: the Future of Games? (LootBoxes and Gambling)

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by Crayon, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. Malo

    Malo YakTribe.games
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    It's a lot more complicated than that. If it falls under gambling then in order to keep them in the game at all the publisher has to register under the gambling laws, pay the necessary fees, ensure all the tax liability is present for both publisher and the consumer, ensure sufficient warnings etc are all present. Varies for each country but once you're classified as a gambling system it's no longer just a game.
     
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  2. Grall

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    Some loot boxes considered gambling; can lead to huge fines and jailtime:
    https://kotaku.com/belgium-says-loot-boxes-in-games-like-overwatch-are-ill-1825533879
    https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2018-04-19-the-netherlands-declares-some-loot-boxes-are-gambling


    I’m 100% fine with this; fuck random loot “microtransactions”.
    • If you want random lootboxes, make them free of charge.
    • If you wanna charge people money, let them buy the shit they want directly.
    I never went to any grocery store where all the goods was hidden away inside identical crates, and where everything inside them was completely random. Suppose you wanna make pancakes and need milk, eggs and flour, it’s really inconvenient if your first 15 loot boxes contain diapers, cat food, hot sauce, bacon, orange marmalade, rock salt, frozen TV dinner, band-aids, tomato paste, pork chops, strawberry flavor yoghurt, napkins, tagliatelle pasta, cucumber and danish rye bread...
     
  3. Jupiter

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    Then the Belgians can prepare for something. I know it from Germany only too well if the state thinks that you are not allowed to play certain video games or movies. These video games were indexed in Germany:
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kategorie:Indiziertes_Computerspiel

    As far as I know these video games don't exist, have been cut or may not be mentioned in the press in Germany. In addition, hundreds of video games were shortened and blood etc. was removed. I am very sceptical about state interference.
     
    #523 Jupiter, Apr 25, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  4. Tkumpathenurpahl

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    Fair enough to be sceptical about government interference, but surely context and the manner of interference matters?

    I've read a few accounts of Germany's draconian approach to media over the years, and I agree that the state shouldn't hold control over the content that any and all of their citizens can access, but I don't think that's what's at play here.

    A publisher may still implement and utilise lootbox microtransactions, but they will have to pay the appropriate taxes and gate it off from minors. So, we adults can still flit away our money on virtual, randomised goods, so long as said publisher thinks they can generate money with a higher tax burden and no access to children.

    I'm okay with that, just like I'm okay with not letting a salesman into my house to convince my hypothetical children to buy a mystery box.
     
  5. sir doris

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    I don't really like the idea of loot boxes but is it any different to Panini* World Cup sticker albums?

    *other sticker albums are available, maybe you're more of a My Little Pony person?
     
  6. Shifty Geezer

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    Stickers are physical and can be swapped, so if the distribution is equal and there's no such as thing as rare and ultra-rare collectibles, you could get towards a complete set fairly with a flat investment in so many stickers followed by swaps for the ones you haven't got. But by and large, they're not massively different in principle, which makes one wonder about the ethics of those collectibles too. I guess no-one questioned them because they weren't mega expensive and adults didn't bother, whereas LBs in games are stupidly expensive and affect adults.
     
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  7. sir doris

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    I didn't think of the swaps, although even with swaps the prices can be quite high. I came across this the other day, which is what made me think of the correlation:

    http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/pani...ll-it-cost-to-fill/1bz17wzsuvb9o1sfplclhy0k5t

    Over £700 to fill the book on average without swaps, and nearly £250 average if you have 10 friends for swaps. As for "rare" stickers, when I was a lad there were definitely cards which nobody had, and others that everyone had loads of. Unsurprisingly the "rare" cards were always the "best" characters/ teams or players, and the swapsies the also rans. Maybe that was just the way the cards were distributed or maybe there were "rare" cards designed to make you buy more packs? Nowadays I think you can send away for specific cards and you can swap over the internet/ Gumtree/ etc. so I suppose it's much easier to complete and less of an issue.

    Although I do wonder how many parents would not bother in the first place if they knew the costs required to complete the albums? Especially parents of younger children.
     
  8. Shifty Geezer

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    There's been a 60% price hike and there's outrage, so sayeth Google. The current policy makers grew up with these stickers at pocket-change money. The price has been pushed up over time well beyond inflation, same as football tickets etc., with each little increase being immaterial in the grand scheme of things and so overlooked. I expect things have gotten exploitive and need re-evaluating. Apparently stickers are uniformly distributed though with not extra-rares (foils are optional). So Loot-boxes take it a step further from offering anything from super-rare items to totally generic resources and crafting material crap.
     
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  9. Tkumpathenurpahl

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    I would apply the same principal to packs of cards, stickers etc.

    The sale of randomised packs should be taxed higher than individual items, and should only be sold to people 18 and over. Individual items should be purchasable, whatever the price, by people of any age.

    If parents want to buy randomised packs for their kids, that's up to them.
     
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  10. JPT

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  11. Malo

    Malo YakTribe.games
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    haha I bet! That's funny.

    FIFA is horrible for the amount of money these kids have spent on Ultimate Team cards.
     
  12. CSI PC

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    And another requirement is % winning-pay out ratios to be public or at least known to the commission as it must meet certain criteria if it does fall under gambling.
     
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  13. ToTTenTranz

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    And they need to send all the source code for the auditors, and this includes every single online update for performance, bug fixing and even DLCs.
    This would make the game's updates a mess to deal with, as every single snippet of code would have to spend weeks on the auditors of each country before being greenlight for distribution. Just imagine the chaos this would be for any game in the current era.

    I know a good amount of people who develop software for casino games and they've always expressed indignation with how much Valve, EA & friends could get away with.
    There were talks about EA manually decreasing the odds for certain items that got popular within the communities. As drakonian as this sounds, there really wasn't any reason for them not to. They never disclosed odds for anything.
     
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  14. JPT

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    The results if anybody are interested

     
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  15. BRiT

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    https://www.legalgamblingandthelaw....y-gambling-by-a-university-of-adelaide-study/

    Loot Boxes Deemed As “Predatory Gambling” By A Uni Study

    Loot boxes and in-game purchases have been put under the crosshairs of a new study by the University of Adelaide. These business practices have become quite popular in recent years as video game companies try their best to monetize their product. However, the researchers behind the study lambasted such practices as predatory and far too similar to gambling. This could affect the result of Australia's current investigation into loot boxes and how they should be treated.

    Though the study focused its criticism mainly on microtransactions, the researchers pointed out that loot boxes posed a significant financial risk for players who are vulnerable to the addictive properties of the product. They just keep on buying and opening loot boxes in the hopes of getting a high-value product worth their purchase.

    In a statement, Dr. Daniel King, Senior Research Associate in the University of Adelaide's School of Psychology, said

    These schemes may entice some players to spend more money than they may have intended or can afford, especially when using credit cards or virtual currency that makes it hard to keep track of spending​
     
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  16. CSI PC

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    Only just managed to get round to watching this years Devolver Digital 2018 E3 satire/presentation-event.

    Had to post this segment as it fits probably quite well how the big publishers see consumers and loot boxes :)
    Made me smile, and they do take some big swipes at the attitude of bellwether game publishers.
     
  17. BRiT

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    2K asks fans to tell Belgium they want loot boxes
    https://www.2k.com/myteaminfo/be/

    The Belgium Gaming Commission (BGC) has stated that games which include certain ‘loot box’ style mechanics violate gambling laws in Belgium. While we disagree with this position, we are working to comply with the BGC’s current interpretation of these laws. As a result, we have made some local changes to the MyTeam mode. These changes are necessary in order for us to accommodate the BGC’s interpretation of the Belgian Gaming Act. Specifically, we will be turning off the ability to purchase packs with premium (non-earned) currency/VC.Gamers are still able to acquire packs with MyTeam points. We will be continuing conversations with the BGC in order to explain our view on how NBA 2K and MyTeam pack purchases already comply with local laws. If you agree, we recommend that you contact your local government representative to communicate your opinion. We will keep the community posted on any developments. We apologize for any inconvenience.


    It seems like the shills are out on Twitter, as there's surprisingly positive posts supporting 2K's right to fleece consumers with illegal exploitation with gambling:

     
  18. Tkumpathenurpahl

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  19. Shifty Geezer

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    There'll always be some who agree with any position. There'll be those who feel free market economics are at play here, that there's nothing forcing people to buy LB, and if they choose to, that's their right. I think the real problem is how governments struggle to define gambling in a way that the common-law, voice-of-the-people clearly recognises - paying for an uncertain outcome that rewards based on luck is considered by the layman as gambling. Accepting that on a legal level would have ramifications for all sorts of accepted items like gaming cards and kids collectibles.

    In the long run, I think everyone would be happier if every chance-based 'purchase' was classed as gambling, and it's only not gambling when you know exactly what you're getting for your money.

    There's an interesting case with SW IIRC where the item is presented as a purchase, and you have to buy that item to get a new, random purchase option. Tackling crap like that is going to be hard, as the gambling isn't on the item (if you don't want it, don't buy it) but on the opportunity to get the option to buy a wanted item next. Law-makers need to look long and hard at the principles involved and shore up commerce to provide a system that deals with the same sort of negatives that they already have laws in place to stop elsewhere, such as con-artists and more-obvious gambling.
     
    #539 Shifty Geezer, Sep 3, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
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  20. BRiT

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    https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2018...cision-setting-up-potential-gambling-lawsuit/

    EA defies Belgian loot box decision, setting up potential “gambling” lawsuit
    Publisher insists randomized card packs are not a form of gambling.

    In the months since the Belgian Gaming Commission determined that certain video game loot boxes constituted illegal gambling, publishers like Blizzard, Valve, and Take-Two have removed loot boxes from their games in the country. Electronic Arts, though, has yet to remove the randomized items from its recent FIFA games, a decision which seems poised to set up a court fight.

    Machine-translated reports from Belgium's Niewsblad and Metronewspapers suggest that Belgian gaming commission has now referred the matter to the country's public prosecutor's office, which is conducting an investigation into it.
     
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