Multiplat Loot Boxes, Gambling or Not?

(Log in to remove this ad.)

Simon_Says

Club Legend
Apr 14, 2016
2,161
1,384
Leongatha
AFL Club
Melbourne
Other Teams
LA Lakers,Chelsea F.C.
Similarly 2k packs for MyTeam (the objective being to spend real money to get more in game coins) to use in game for a better chance to pull the better players, then yes. I would consider it an addiction.


Having been stupid enough to spend money on it an try to justify the behavior to myself, i am against the notition that to a success in a AAA game, be it COD iterations of the past, NBA2k, overwatch you have to pay for better gear with real cash.

Paying real money for a purely Cosmetic upgrade is ;meh. . If it doesnt have any distinct advatadges that the rest of the playing group dont have then go for your life
 

Randomizor

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 20, 2010
10,863
14,455
AFL Club
Fremantle
I think part of the problem is that companies like EA aren’t really targeting gamers like us. They are after the next generation of gamers. The kids that were brought up playing mobile games with micro transactions. They know they just need to “weather the storm” for a while until the majority of people playing their games are those that know no other gameplay than micro transactions/pay to win.

I don’t know whether it should be classified as gambling or not, but I would love to see it regulated somehow. I fear for the future of video games.
 

SwampCreature

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 8, 2007
7,432
11,295
Sweep shots don't count
AFL Club
Gold Coast
Other Teams
probably
Whether it's "gambling" or not is a meaningless, semantic argument. The more poignant point is whether it preys on the vulnerable in a way that is unbecoming to video games. I would argue that it is.
Came here to post this but clearly Dan has been creepily reading my thoughts in the future and stole my idea. Stop it Dan

Gambling schmambling. The real crime is designing a skinner box - and not by accident - with all the same inputs, outputs, sound and light and light cues as pokies, then marketing it to unsuspecting parents buying for their children.

The gambling becomes irrelevant at that point; once you trap your necessary ~3.5% whale population in the thrawls of designer addiction it doesn’t matter if the genpop tattoo ‘fu** DICE’ on their foreheads and have the publisher legally renamed ‘gamblEA’ - it won’t matter, they’ll make enough profit to design an eve new more effective one for the sequel AND have coke-and-hooker parties Fri-Tues.
 

SwampCreature

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 8, 2007
7,432
11,295
Sweep shots don't count
AFL Club
Gold Coast
Other Teams
probably
I think part of the problem is that companies like EA aren’t really targeting gamers like us. They are after the next generation of gamers. The kids that were brought up playing mobile games with micro transactions. They know they just need to “weather the storm” for a while until the majority of people playing their games are those that know no other gameplay than micro transactions/pay to win.
This. I mean, the poster above is clearly already conditioned to buying cosmetic upgrades.

Chalk up a win to the nickel-and-dimers. Even 10-15 years ago it caused outrage; skins and stuff were a reward for finishing the game or unlocking challenges etc.

Not punching in a credit card.

Imagine if Jazz 2 dropped in 1994 and you had to pay $5.99 to unlock spaz.
 

Mr_Moogle

Norm Smith Medallist
May 29, 2011
9,916
13,411
SA
AFL Club
Adelaide
Other Teams
Sturt
Loot boxes are officially classified as gambling in Belgium. This is actually pretty big news that could have wide reaching implications. Imagine how pi**ed some of the other major publishers would be at EA right now. Their greed regarding the SWBF2 has shone a light in the rats nest and could potentially cost companies millions of dollars of revenue. This is just the beginning.

"Last week, Belgium's Gaming Commission announced that it had launched an investigation into whether the loot boxes available for purchase in games like Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront 2 constitute a form of gambling. Today, VTM News reported that the ruling is in, and the answer is yes.

The Google translation is a little sloppy, as usual, but the message is clear enough. "The mixing of money and addiction is gambling," the Gaming Commission declared. Belgium's Minister of Justice Koen Geens also weighed in, saying, "Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child."

Geens, according to the report, wants to ban in-game purchases outright (correction: if you don't know exactly what you're purchasing), and not just in Belgium: He said the process will take time, "because we have to go to Europe. We will certainly try to ban it."


SOURCE: http://www.pcgamer.com/belgium-says-loot-boxes-are-gambling-wants-them-banned-in-europe/?utm_content=buffere78bc&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=buffer-pcgamertw
 
Last edited:

Dannnnnnnnnn

Moderator
Aug 24, 2012
33,919
43,728
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
T'Wolves, Renault F1, Footscray
Loot boxes are officially classified as gambling in Belgium. This is actually pretty big news that could have wide reaching implications. Imagine how pi**ed some of the other major publishers would be at EA right now. Their greed regarding the SWBF2 has shone a light in the rats nest and could potentially cost companies millions of dollars of revenue. This is just the beginning.

"Last week, Belgium's Gaming Commission announced that it had launched an investigation into whether the loot boxes available for purchase in games like Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront 2 constitute a form of gambling. Today, VTM News reported that the ruling is in, and the answer is yes.

The Google translation is a little sloppy, as usual, but the message is clear enough. "The mixing of money and addiction is gambling," the Gaming Commission declared. Belgium's Minister of Justice Koen Geens also weighed in, saying, "Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child."

Geens, according to the report, wants to ban in-game purchases outright (correction: if you don't know exactly what you're purchasing), and not just in Belgium: He said the process will take time, "because we have to go to Europe. We will certainly try to ban it."


SOURCE: http://www.pcgamer.com/belgium-says-loot-boxes-are-gambling-wants-them-banned-in-europe/?utm_content=buffere78bc&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=buffer-pcgamertw
The question will be whether other governments follow suit. If they don't it will be very easy for publishers to just not make games available in Belgium and not hurt their bottom line too much.
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

Mr_Moogle

Norm Smith Medallist
May 29, 2011
9,916
13,411
SA
AFL Club
Adelaide
Other Teams
Sturt
The question will be whether other governments follow suit. If they don't it will be very easy for publishers to just not make games available in Belgium and not hurt their bottom line too much.
The UK and Netherlands are also looking into it now. As I said, EA's actions have shone a light in the rats nest.
Source:
https://www.polygon.com/2017/10/15/16478458/loot-box-microtransactions-legality-uk
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-11-16-star-wars-battlefront-2-loot-boxes-investigated-by-belgian-gaming-commission

European governments are going to start scrutinising these loot box mechanics which will likely bring about some form of regulation.

Personally, I'm not out to see them banned outright but there needs to be a compromise. Firstly they need to classify these games appropriately. No game with gambling mechanics should be allowed to be rated G or PG or whatever. They need a proper adult rating.

Secondly they need to force developers to publish the actual odds of winning rare items in the game itself. If I go to the shops and get a packet of trading cards, the odds are getting rare cards are actually printed on the back of the packet. Loot boxes need a similar kind of regulation.
 

Dannnnnnnnnn

Moderator
Aug 24, 2012
33,919
43,728
AFL Club
Western Bulldogs
Other Teams
T'Wolves, Renault F1, Footscray
The UK and Netherlands are also looking into it now. As I said, EA's actions have shone a light in the rats nest.
Source:
https://www.polygon.com/2017/10/15/16478458/loot-box-microtransactions-legality-uk
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-11-16-star-wars-battlefront-2-loot-boxes-investigated-by-belgian-gaming-commission

European governments are going to start scrutinising these loot box mechanics which will likely bring about some form of regulation.

Personally, I'm not out to see them banned outright but there needs to be a compromise. Firstly they need to classify these games appropriately. No game with gambling mechanics should be allowed to be rated G or PG or whatever. They need a proper adult rating.

Secondly they need to force developers to publish the actual odds of winning rare items in the game itself. If I go to the shops and get a packet of trading cards, the odds are getting rare cards are actually printed on the back of the packet. Loot boxes need a similar kind of regulation.
Agree but with one addition: the overall visibility of microtransaction availability needs to be reduced (as does the visibility of gambling advertisements in general). Even with your recommended suggestions, kids will still play and are still at unnecessarily heightened risk of addiction because it's shoved in their faces so much in games like Battlefront and 2K.

Then again, I would also be happy if they were to ban it altogether.
 

quotemokc

Brownlow Medallist
Jul 19, 2008
12,597
13,862
Perth
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Atlanta Falcons/Winnipeg Jets
The thing is you have to be at least 16 to have a Mastercard or Visa so you can make online purchases. (Paypal 18+ too)

Whilst I agree that these companies need to be more transparent, they also need to make it harder for kids to just purchase things with real money willy nilly.

If I had a kid playing games on my ipad you can bet I would make sure that they could not make random purchases on my account without me knowing.
 

Nickos66

Brownlow Medallist
Jul 22, 2010
16,373
7,880
Perth
AFL Club
Fremantle
I was pi**ed off to learn that Square sold the rights to a 3rd party dev for Final Fantasy XV for some s**tty 'pay to win' mobile app. But not before I'd already given it a go. What a crock of s**t. Also tarnishes a quality brand whilst sticking the knife in.
 

aussiedude

Brownlow Medallist
Feb 7, 2010
22,020
19,263
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Green Bay Packers, Stanford
Congrats Australia. we are looking into the predatory act of loot boxes.

EA pushed it too far.
 

aussiedude

Brownlow Medallist
Feb 7, 2010
22,020
19,263
AFL Club
Collingwood
Other Teams
Green Bay Packers, Stanford
They are gambling. and f**k everyone who thinks they are acceptable.


Anyone who thinks they are not gambling is joking. does that mean if i make a $5 slot machine for crown and you are guaranteed to win at least 5c it cant be called gambling?
 

Mercurial89

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 20, 2011
10,210
12,717
Melbourne
AFL Club
Essendon
Of course its Gambling.

Doesn't mean its the absolute devil though.

If people want to pump coins into a box to get a chance at rewards they should be allowed to, if a few big whales want to throw huge money into a game to make themselves feel special that is ok, the rest of us get cheaper content and the developers get paid.

IT should however always be a choice, and it should not be the basis for a progression system, rewards system or any other system that is part of the CORE of the game. That is where EA got it so wrong.*** I must also stress that it should always be cosmetic with regards to loot boxes, paying for power has its place but should be straight purchases only
(I would never do that but again, telling people how to spend their money is not right, if they want to save time by buying a powerful sword, they should be able to do so. It should however not be necessary to buy that sword, and it should not affect other people, so single player only type stuff)

They can have loot boxes in games, they can have RNG and randomness. It should not however be designed that you have to use these systems.

There should always be a choice.
Now I know the argument against this is its manipulative, and it can be aimed at young people and that you don't really have a choice because they will control you into spending money etc etc.
That is BS, if you don't want to spend money on random s**t, don't spend money on random s**t. If you feel you are susceptible to this type of thing, don't play the game. In respect of youth, Rating boards just need to take a closer look at these systems and rate a game accordingly with the reason clearly marked on packaging.

We don't need to get overly restrictive here, just smart about how things are moderated and policed. Being overly restrictive, and telling people what they can and cant do is just as bad a thing as this current issue.


***Also hearing about the circumstances behind the design of the game I think its understandable why EA tried to do what they did. A summary is basically Disney/Lucasfilm have incredible control over the cosmetic options available when it comes to Star wars. I would hazard a guess the progression and Pay2win aspect of this system was partially due to this relationship.
 

Ned_Flanders

Formerly 'rfctiger74'
Aug 22, 2009
46,129
85,693
AFL Club
Richmond
Other Teams
76'ers
Of course its Gambling.

Doesn't mean its the absolute devil though.

If people want to pump coins into a box to get a chance at rewards they should be allowed to, if a few big whales want to throw huge money into a game to make themselves feel special that is ok, the rest of us get cheaper content and the developers get paid.

IT should however always be a choice, and it should not be the basis for a progression system, rewards system or any other system that is part of the CORE of the game. That is where EA got it so wrong.*** I must also stress that it should always be cosmetic with regards to loot boxes, paying for power has its place but should be straight purchases only
(I would never do that but again, telling people how to spend their money is not right, if they want to save time by buying a powerful sword, they should be able to do so. It should however not be necessary to buy that sword, and it should not affect other people, so single player only type stuff)

They can have loot boxes in games, they can have RNG and randomness. It should not however be designed that you have to use these systems.

There should always be a choice.
Now I know the argument against this is its manipulative, and it can be aimed at young people and that you don't really have a choice because they will control you into spending money etc etc.
That is BS, if you don't want to spend money on random s**t, don't spend money on random s**t. If you feel you are susceptible to this type of thing, don't play the game. In respect of youth, Rating boards just need to take a closer look at these systems and rate a game accordingly with the reason clearly marked on packaging.

We don't need to get overly restrictive here, just smart about how things are moderated and policed. Being overly restrictive, and telling people what they can and cant do is just as bad a thing as this current issue.


***Also hearing about the circumstances behind the design of the game I think its understandable why EA tried to do what they did. A summary is basically Disney/Lucasfilm have incredible control over the cosmetic options available when it comes to Star wars. I would hazard a guess the progression and Pay2win aspect of this system was partially due to this relationship.
Gambling isnt the devil, but its heavily regulated

Can kids buy loot boxes?

All games of chance are regulated to ensure returns are occuring at mandated levels, is this happening with loot boxes?

Are loot box purchases taxed as all gambling forms are?
 

Jobe Watson

Brownlow Medalist
Jun 12, 2009
13,843
17,649
Melbourne
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Arsenal
I don't understand why people even buy these things. Why spend actual money on intangible items? I have mates who spend probably hundreds of dollars on Ultimate Team packs and I just don't get it... in <12 months time the next game comes out and you are left with nothing to show for all that money spent.

But yes, it is gambling, and it needs to be cracked down on.
 
Last edited:

Mercurial89

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 20, 2011
10,210
12,717
Melbourne
AFL Club
Essendon
Gambling isnt the devil, but its heavily regulated

Can kids buy loot boxes?

All games of chance are regulated to ensure returns are occuring at mandated levels, is this happening with loot boxes?

Are loot box purchases taxed as all gambling forms are?
Which is where we need to look. However the cause for concern is the heavy handidness of the response, as always.

The reaction to the EA controversy? Probably warranted.
The reaction to ALL loot boxes to the point we have gaming journalists querying RNG in video games? Too far

Lets for example say Destiny's lootbox system. Boxes can be earned without real money. Should a child have access to this? Why not?
A clearly labelled box that costs real money, that has a possible chance of 5 items, with probability shown. Should a child have access to this? Why, Why not?
How are they paying for this in the first place? Should their be safeguards on HOW payments are made to protect the young?
Is the practice of lootboxes inherently wrong and should be done away with? Or just changed?

All valid questions that need to be explored. The issue however is when we get to crossroads like this, it is very very easy for people to go ALL LOOTBOXES ARE BAD!!.
Regulators ban them, and we have the following effects occur-
  1. Companies don't change their systems and just don't support certain regions. Grown adults cannot spend their money how they like. the same issue that occurs with certain games not rated or sold in Australia as an example.
  2. Companies change and move to a higher price on initial purchase. This is unsustainable when you look at the growing cost of production for games.
  3. Over classified games where kids games that are kid games in everything but their cosmetic micro transaction name are kept out of kids hands (unlikely but possible scenario)
  4. The death of the monetisation tactics used by Mobile games and apps.
Conversations need to be had and change needs to occur. But it has to be had in the right frame of mind and not a kneejerk reaction.

Off the top of my head an idea would be that any micro transaction purchase is handled on the platform level, cannot be in game store of any kind. Tax is charged against the platform holder and collected by the government of that region where the purchase is made. That tax is allocated to the video game industry in that country.
 

Gralin

Super Moderator
Apr 8, 2010
31,023
46,012
Melbourne
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Other Teams
Buffalo Bills
Which is where we need to look. However the cause for concern is the heavy handidness of the response, as always.

The reaction to the EA controversy? Probably warranted.
The reaction to ALL loot boxes to the point we have gaming journalists querying RNG in video games? Too far

Lets for example say Destiny's lootbox system. Boxes can be earned without real money. Should a child have access to this? Why not?
A clearly labelled box that costs real money, that has a possible chance of 5 items, with probability shown. Should a child have access to this? Why, Why not?
How are they paying for this in the first place? Should their be safeguards on HOW payments are made to protect the young?
Is the practice of lootboxes inherently wrong and should be done away with? Or just changed?

All valid questions that need to be explored. The issue however is when we get to crossroads like this, it is very very easy for people to go ALL LOOTBOXES ARE BAD!!.
Regulators ban them, and we have the following effects occur-
  1. Companies don't change their systems and just don't support certain regions. Grown adults cannot spend their money how they like. the same issue that occurs with certain games not rated or sold in Australia as an example.
  2. Companies change and move to a higher price on initial purchase. This is unsustainable when you look at the growing cost of production for games.
  3. Over classified games where kids games that are kid games in everything but their cosmetic micro transaction name are kept out of kids hands (unlikely but possible scenario)
  4. The death of the monetisation tactics used by Mobile games and apps.
Conversations need to be had and change needs to occur. But it has to be had in the right frame of mind and not a kneejerk reaction.

Off the top of my head an idea would be that any micro transaction purchase is handled on the platform level, cannot be in game store of any kind. Tax is charged against the platform holder and collected by the government of that region where the purchase is made. That tax is allocated to the video game industry in that country.
plenty of games in China publish the odds for their loot boxes as China made it the law, funnily enough they don't in markets where they don't have to
 
Top Bottom