Jump to content

Let's talk about Loot Boxes


Harsin
 Share

Recommended Posts

EA working on ways to avoid losing fans:

 

Quote

[Following the Battlefront 2 backlash], Electronic Arts is claiming it's seen the error of its ways, and it supposedly wants to do right by fans without completely scrapping the idea of making money by selling loot boxes. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, Executive Vice President of Strategic Growth Matt Bilbey explained how the world's second-largest game publisher has changed its approach.

 

"I ran a team internally with [Electronic Arts Chief Design Officer] Patrick [Soderlund] post-Battlefront to actually redesign our game development framework and testing platforms to ensure we're giving our game teams the right guidance – we'll call it an EA moral compass – at the beginning of development so that we're designing our live service early, we're testing it early, testing it with gamers who are giving us feedback so we ensure those pillars of fairness, value, and fun are true," Bilbey said.

 

Meanwhile, Electronic Arts is speaking to government regulators to inform them about its design process.

"I believe what we're working through with those specific groups at the moment is an education," explained Bilbey. "Not meant in a patronizing way, but just helping them understand how we design the games and the notion of choice and our commitment to making the games fair and fun. We learned a lot from [Battlefront 2]."

 

http://uk.ign.com/articles/2018/08/08/ea-using-a-moral-compass-to-give-studios-loot-box-guidance

 

It's amazing to think that they need to put so much effort into working out how not to piss players off. ;) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Oh my lol 2K games begging Belgian gamers to contact their MP equivalents to ask them to allow loot boxes again.

 

Quote

We are working to comply with the BGC’s current interpretation of these laws,” the company wrote in the statement. “As a result, we have made some local changes to the MyTeam mode. These changes are necessary in order for us to accomodate 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.”

2K says it’s having “continuing conversations” with Belgian officials about the BGC’s interpretation of the rules, and the company argues that the packs you can buy in games like NBA 2K19 already comply with Belgian gambling laws.

“If you agree, we recommend that you contact your local government representative to communicate your opinion,” 2K wrote. “We will keep the community posted on any developments. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

I played that new Sega Heroes for about a week, just to get a sense of whether it'd be the usual F2P grind (yes). Anyway, when you buy something, there's a button right down the bottom to learn the odds of each thing. Not sure if that's Sega getting ahead of the loot box curve, or if some country mandates it so it's there for everyone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm absolutely 100% convinced that lootboxes, such as those in fifa ultimate team, are definitely gambling.

 

However, I am much less sure about where the lines lies. We are in danger of applauding a game that falls just to the good side of the line, while completely lambasting the game that falls just the other side.

 

At the core of loot boxes is the psychology of Skinner boxes and the human deficiency that we cannot switch off the hope that we are somehow lucky/special. That somehow the random chance will go our way.

 

Video games have used, and do use this almost universally now, not just in the form of loot boxes but in general gameplay.

 

3 games that I have been playing the most recently: Pokémon go, fallout New Vegas and Forza horizon all use uncertain outcomes as a game mechanic. Pokémon go the worst of the 3 being almost entirely rng. Then fallout, which has literal boxes full of randomised loot throughout the world and the vats system explicitly applies rng to hit/miss chance. It also has critical hit rng, and monster spawn rng. Forza horizon is the only one of the 3 games that would explicitly be illegal under current thinking, due to the wheelspins which can be bought with real money or in game currency. However, outside of this, very little else is rng. Most (that I can remember) rewards are clear and set up front and most outcomes are player controlled rather than rng.

 

So Forza horizon 4 would be the game of the 3 that is the bottom of the offenders list but most likely to get stung under this legislation due to one simple, non gameplay mechanic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whilst I am sure loot boxes in gaming have played their part, I would also suspect the near saturation of betting ads and sponsorship in the UK is at the root of this massive upswing in teen gambling. Obviously they can't be going to the bookies, but the message that you have to be always having a punt on something must be sinking in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, keptbybees said:

You can’t spend real money to buy wheel spins in Forza Horizon 4, they removed that mechanic for that game. Likewise Prize Crates have been removed from Forza 7 after complaints about the system.

Ah, ok, cheers. So the forzathon points thing is just a hang over from horizon 3?

 

So Forza horizon 4 gets a thumbs up from me. Would be even better if they removed the wheelspins altogether and tied rewards solely to level progress/event rewards.

 

So is the general consensus here that everything goes as long as it doesn't directly involve real money?

 

I look back on my years of playing championship manager fondly but I wonder how things would have been different if match outcomes were guaranteed rather than randomly generated. The game would have been far less compelling.

 

Then again, I remember advance wars consuming months of my time and that had no rng at all as far as I recall. There were a number of determinable set of actions that would guarantee success, the game was about working one of them out and executing it. Maybe advance wars was just such a high point in game design, that games have struggled to match since, without resorting to rng.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Big story breaking at Polygon over Facebook games and “friendly fraud”

 

https://www.polygon.com/2019/1/25/18197457/facebook-games-friendly-fraud-credit-cards

 

Internal documents appear to show that Facebook knew it was defrauding children and families through its ecosystem of online games as early as 2011. Employees even had a name for the practice, which they dubbed “friendly fraud,” or FF for short. More damning, related documents show that Facebook employees had found a way to stop the fraud from happening, but the social media giant prioritized revenue instead

 

More at the link

Edited by Unofficial Who
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, BeeJay said:

This from Fortnite, a slightly different approach:

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-47028992

 

I don't play Fortnite but I'd be interested to understand if the loot re-rolls every time you enter the store, or if it is fixed for a period of time/the same for everyone.

 

I'm surprised they haven't gone free 2 play with the Save the world mode already to be honest. I'd love to try it but I'm not paying for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, mdn2 said:

EA will stop selling FIFA points in Belgium at the end of the month. 

 

https://www.ea.com/en-ca/news/fifa-points-belgium

 

I love the way that the only solution they have thought about is completely removing the option to spend real money. I guess Belgium isn't a big enough market and they decided that is was cheaper for them to sacrifice the market rather than make wider changes. Hopefully other countries will follow suit, forcing them to actually address the issue instead of paying lip service.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, BeeJay said:

This from Fortnite, a slightly different approach:

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-47028992

 

I don't play Fortnite but I'd be interested to understand if the loot re-rolls every time you enter the store, or if it is fixed for a period of time/the same for everyone.

That's interesting, I was wondering how they'd get around the legislation for Save the World.   I'm unsure as to how it works as I've fallen out of the StW loop a bit, but tbh it can only be a good thing, even if the contents are still randomised for every single player. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Flub said:

 

I'm surprised they haven't gone free 2 play with the Save the world mode already to be honest. I'd love to try it but I'm not paying for it.

They're working towards it, the game is still basically unfinished, I think they want to make sure it's properly feature-complete by the time they push it out for free. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, robdood said:

They're working towards it, the game is still basically unfinished, I think they want to make sure it's properly feature-complete by the time they push it out for free. 

 

Oh that's cool then. It did seem surprising that it wasn't f2p. It just makes how fast they got the BR mode out all the more impressive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

50 minutes ago, mdn2 said:

EA will stop selling FIFA points in Belgium at the end of the month. 

 

https://www.ea.com/en-ca/news/fifa-points-belgium

I really hope this doesn't set a precedent for the rest of Europe (or rather the Netherlands).

 

I mean if I want to support a developer, as a responsible adult, by throwing more money their way via a lootbox or other microtransaction then I should be able to do so. I get it isn't as simple as that and some of our publisher overlords boast some hilarious shady monetization practices so fuck em' but I feel like this isn't the answer either. I hate to admit it but CS:GO wouldn't be where it's at if it weren't for those cosmetic weapon crates. 

 

Of course these companies could just stop with this kind of nonsense on a global level and add content for free (like in the olden days) and see if they can make money in a less shady way. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, VN1X said:

I really hope this doesn't set a precedent for the rest of Europe (or rather the Netherlands).

 

I mean if I want to support a developer, as a responsible adult, by throwing more money their way via a lootbox or other microtransaction then I should be able to do so. I get it isn't as simple as that and some of our publisher overlords boast some hilarious shady monetization practices so fuck em' but I feel like this isn't the answer either. I hate to admit it but CS:GO wouldn't be where it's at if it weren't for those cosmetic weapon crates. 

 

Of course these companies could just stop with this kind of nonsense on a global level and add content for free (like in the olden days) and see if they can make money in a less shady way. 

No one is removing 'regular' microtransations.  This is only about lootbox/randomised purchases.  Which are dodgy as fuck. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, robdood said:

No one is removing 'regular' microtransations.  This is only about lootbox/randomised purchases.  Which are dodgy as fuck. 

That's good then. 

 

It's just a shame those poor Belgian kids won't stand a chance against people outside their country now because they won't have access to those FUT players (I have no idea how that works honestly. From what I understand is you open a packet of FUT and out jumps pervy-tax-evading Ronaldo with the sickest stats in the game who you then put in your team to play others online or something right?)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, VN1X said:

That's good then.

 

It's just a shame those poor Belgian kids won't stand a chance against people outside their country now because they won't have access to those FUT players (I have no idea how that works honestly. From what I understand is you open a packet of FUT and out jumps pervy-tax-evading Ronaldo with the sickest stats in the game who you then put in your team to play others online or something right?)

Or not, as the case may be. This is why EA do not want transparency with their loot boxes. From what I can remember, drop rates of something like Ronaldo are in the range of 1in1000 packs or more for the basic packs which is around 5 million in game currency or about £500 to £750 in real world money. Buying packs alone, I'd estimate that 1% of customers that spend over £2000 will still not get a Ronaldo.

 

I suspect that longer term, they will restrict sales with real money to fut draft tokens, which give a variable pack reward based on how well you do over a few matches and direct pack purchase will be with in game currency only. This allows them to continue the Skinner box mechanics while arguing that it isn't gambling because the packs aren't directly purchased and the outcome is related to performance in the fut draft.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

41 minutes ago, Harsin said:

IZZxAcR.png

 

This was their reaction to having to publish drop rates. They're slimy shits, there's a lot of difference between 0.9% and 0.000000000000000000001%.

I'm glad that the Belgians didn't take any of their bullshit. I really hope others follow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.