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Let's talk about Loot Boxes


Harsin
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27 minutes ago, deerokus said:

Kinder eggs are an interesting comparison. They're illegal in America. 

 

I read a good comment just now suggesting that kinder eggs are not comparable because the outcome is purposely designed not to be significantly differentiated. And I agree, to an extent. Having bought kinder eggs for my students recently, we all got an almost identical toy out of them, just slightly different in colour and design. I believe loot boxes are specifically designed to normally offer turds and then 1 in 1000 has a diamond ring. Maybe 1in every 1000 kinder eggs holds a diamond ring but I don't believe so.

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Kinder eggs aren't illegal because of the gambling though, it's cos you aren't allowed to mix 'candy' with non-food in case some poor little tot chokes down the model car. Insert joke about stupid Americans/Brexit banning Kinder eggs here.

 

(I think the crap two half-section egg you see sometimes is the approved US version?)

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There needs to be proper legislation and procedures - at the moment EA could be doing *anything* to change the contents of the loot box depending on time of purchase, frequency of past purchase, and whatever personal information they have on you. We just don't know.

 

If I buy a Kinder Egg the contents of the egg physically cannot change, so it is cannot ever be person-specific.

 

Bet the committee didn't press on this.

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The problem with the Kinder egg analogy is that with Kinder eggs you get a random trinket, but it's not part of a larger product that depends on you rolling the dice in order to have a good time.

 

It's like when people tried the trading card analogy and overlooked the fact that collection and trade is the whole point of those (vs. videogames where you should be able to enjoy yourself without being at the mercy of chance.)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Front page of the BBC website. Children spend £550 on FUT packs after watching their father buy them.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-48908766

 

He’s been refunded but the article mentions that he didn’t use PIN protection on purchases and the receipts were sent to an old email address. I’m not sure what more Nintendo could have done to stop it from happening in this instance.

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  • 2 weeks later...

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/22/video-game-firms-face-prosecution-over-gambling-by-children

 

Quote

Such products are not defined as gambling under English law, due to the fact that the in-game items cannot be exchanged for cash within the game, despite the fact they can be bought and traded with real money on other sites and acquiring them may involve an element of chance akin to placing a bet.

 

The Gambling Commission’s programme director, Brad Enright, said it was “constrained by the current legislation”, although it was prepared to regulate such products if the law were changed.

 

But Enright said action could be taken against video games firms who were not doing enough to prevent players selling the items for cash, or gamble with them, on websites set up by third parties.

 

Quote

“The popular game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the game we’ve seen the most inquiries about,” Enright told MPs. “We’ve had dialogue with Valve Corporation [which publishes the game]. Where we draw their attention to particular games where British consumers including children are gambling on those sites, they have closed them down.

 

“We’ve said that’s not a sustainable approach. They’ve created this situation ... and there’s an onus and responsibility on them to address the byproduct of how they’re operating.”

 

Valve suck

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GTA V casino takes real cash but does not pay out

 

Quote

Grand Theft Auto V has opened an in-game casino where real money can be spent on gambling chips - but they cannot be converted back into cash.

 

The new feature was launched as regulators grapple with whether in-game wagers should be treated as gambling.

 

In GTA Online, players can buy in-game "dollars" with real currency, and then convert their virtual dollars to gambling chips.

 

The game is rated for ages 18 and over, but remains popular among young teens.

 

The in-game currency can be used to acquire cars, weapons, and cosmetic items - and used to play slot machines, roulette, or poker.

 

Some players reported that while they could walk around the casino area, the gambling tables were blocked in their country where gambling is illegal.

 

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7 hours ago, RubberJohnny said:
Quote

Such products are not defined as gambling under English law, due to the fact that the in-game items cannot be exchanged for cash within the game, despite the fact they can be bought and traded with real money on other sites and acquiring them may involve an element of chance akin to placing a bet.

 

 

This is similar to the response that came back from that loot box petition one or two years ago:

 

Quote

Where the facility exists for players of video games to purchase a key to unlock a bundle containing an unknown quantity and value of in-game items as a prize, and where there are readily accessible opportunities to cash in or exchange those awarded in-game items for money or money’s worth, then these elements of the game are likely to be considered licensable gambling activities. In contrast, where prizes are restricted for use solely within the game, such in-game features would not be licensable gambling

 

It seems like The Man doesn't care if it's all pretend videogame fluff...

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  • 3 weeks later...

https://www.pcgamer.com/uk/microsoft-ea-ubisoft-and-others-agree-to-start-sharing-loot-box-odds/

 

Quote

Loot box odds disclosure may soon become standard behavior for the videogame industry: The Entertainment Software Association announced today that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo will lay out new policies requiring that all games with paid loot boxes on their platforms disclose the odds of items dropping from them.

 

The International Game Developers Association called on the games industry to take action on loot boxes late last year, but greater pressure to make moves is almost certainly coming from legislative threats. Belgium and the Netherlands have already cracked down on loot boxes, but the real heat is coming from the much larger and more influential marketplace of the US.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

At about the time Second Life was really popular, and people were apparently getting rich selling virtual dildos (the BBC even reporting on this just the same), I did a design document for Omerta Games for an OpenGL type game based around Skies of Arcadia. The engine dev couldn't be arsed writing an OpenGL app, or didn't want to commit to this... generally people just don't do what I request at all (never have). So - I recall that in order to make it interesting, rich players could put in up to £5000 to comission a ship and then hire, for instance the same sort of players as World of Warcraft - students for instance. They then run a business of sorts getting treasure from flying island dungeons, but in order to minimise the predictability of this economy, it was stated that the central ship port (bit like a government) would pay a fixed price for unopened treasure chests, thus giving people who only funded £600 for their ship a way to reliably 'level grind' their way up to a bigger or more interesting ship over time, and give the tycoon players something to worry about. This wasn't intended to be a replacement for scratchcards or anything, and BTW rich players could easily lose their entire £5000 investment in one giant cannon blast from another similarly funded ship, so it was an interesting soap opera in theory -- there wouldn't be more than 10 of these in the whole game, so each one was a legendary character like Jaws. Dun dun dun dun...

 

Edit: 10 x £5000 = Centurion's proposed Salary at Omerta [minus] Company Profits = £30,000 or so > About the same as Electronic Arts.

 

airship-noscale.jpg

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EDIT: Ah, there's a similar game to the design document called World's Adrift, but without the sky pirate skeletons... so what's the point in this? Oh and the dark sky zombies, they were ace: don't let them infect the crew or your entire battleship has magic scurvey... nooooo the drools, my controls are fucked... the screen is upside down cure me doc! Doc?! Why noone hire a doc in this shithole, call the boss at vonce yaaaar. What'dy;mean boss has a real job?!1

 

 

D8AZ3mJXUAA5JKh.jpg

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How can the government justify it being legal to exploit gambling addicts as long as there’s no chance you might get any money back? These systems obviously work with or without the incentive of a financial reward, the only difference being how lucrative they are for the people running them. What’s the logic here?

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3 hours ago, centurion said:

At about the time Second Life was really popular, and people were apparently getting rich selling virtual dildos (the BBC even reporting on this just the same), I did a design document for Omerta Games for an OpenGL type game based around Skies of Arcadia. The engine dev couldn't be arsed writing an OpenGL app, or didn't want to commit to this... generally people just don't do what I request at all (never have). So - I recall that in order to make it interesting, rich players could put in up to £5000 to comission a ship and then hire, for instance the same sort of players as World of Warcraft - students for instance. They then run a business of sorts getting treasure from flying island dungeons, but in order to minimise the predictability of this economy, it was stated that the central ship port (bit like a government) would pay a fixed price for unopened treasure chests, thus giving people who only funded £600 for their ship a way to reliably 'level grind' their way up to a bigger or more interesting ship over time, and give the tycoon players something to worry about. This wasn't intended to be a replacement for scratchcards or anything, and BTW rich players could easily lose their entire £5000 investment in one giant cannon blast from another similarly funded ship, so it was an interesting soap opera in theory -- there wouldn't be more than 10 of these in the whole game, so each one was a legendary character like Jaws. Dun dun dun dun...

 

Edit: 10 x £5000 = Centurion's proposed Salary at Omerta [minus] Company Profits = £30,000 or so > About the same as Electronic Arts.

 

airship-noscale.jpg

 

I have absolutely no idea what any of this means.

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2 hours ago, Timmo said:

 

I have absolutely no idea what any of this means.

 

It's best to read Centurion's posts as a kind of verbal freeform jazz experiment. 

 

If you don't try to find meaning in the words and instead just enjoy the meandering exploratory nature of his prose it can be quite enjoyable.

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Apple have told developers that all games with frequent or intense simulated gambling will be rated 17+ from today. It apparently comes out of talks with the government of Korea about allowing games on the store there. Customers in Korea will actually have to be 19. I'm not sure if loot boxes or similar are technically classed under this.

 

https://www.macrumors.com/2019/08/20/apple-simulated-gambling-apps-17-plus-rating/

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some people might have already seen Jim Sterling cover this but wow they don't give a shit anymore. :lol: This is something on their verified channel by the way; it's a real thing. (EDIT: that being said, it is unlisted...)

 

As I'm posting this, it's sitting on 3.5k likes vs 17k dislikes. Watch and you'll find out why...

 

 

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