Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by TheFeniX » 2017-11-30 12:27pm

Ea stock took a multi-billion dollar hit due to all the backlash. Has to fucking suck to be a code jockey (I mean, I already knew this). To see this really good game you made get trashed because, literally from what I've seen, every bone-head decision, every "nofun" mechanic, is due to the business majors piling dogshit on top of something good.

The ubiquitous nature of devices that can output graphics these days is going to make the problem worse. Because this isn't just about gambling, it's about taking advantage of the human desire for completion (there's probably a more scientific term for this). Even I'm not immune and it's probably one of the reasons I was big into gaming in the past and my interest has waned over the years: there were games in Xbox I HAD to unlock all the achievements for. We whored a lot of them. Even before that: 120 stars in Mario 64, All the exits in Mario World, every bit of badass item of badassitude in Final Fantasy. It wasn't until 7 I just dropped that because the grind was way too real and breeding Chocobos is not gameplay.

Anyways, there's enough to get addicted to with video games without the money dump. Honestly, I blame valve the most for the hat collecting bullshit and economy, but Blizzard helped it along with D3, and other companies have definitely been waiting patiently for the day this kind of gouging of the human flaws could smash its way into core gaming. EA has generally been at the forefront, and Battlefield + it's derivatives has been their testing ground.

I've gone full malcontent at this point: I would love another crash. It's not going to happen, they are way to diversified and Activision even survived the first. But it would be hilarious to see Nintendo survive it because for all their faults they still understand "fun." And no matter what shitty things they've pulled, they are still small-time compared to near any other company on my shitlist.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by TheFeniX » 2017-11-30 01:33pm

Maybe this should just be a general "Gaming is Fucked" thread. My buddy just texted me the following link. The new UFC fighting game beta is basically "pay money, get loot boxes, pray for rares that give straight stat boosts." I mean, fighting games are dogshit these days, but couldn't they at least have included something like "charge $4.99 anytime a player DCs from a match."

Could you imagine the backlash is back in the 80s/90s you could walk up to an arcade fighter and pay double the norm and boost your HP? Attack Damage? Recovery times?

"IT'S JUST COSMETIC SHIT GUYS! CHILL THE FUCK OUT!" - Internet morons who are probably trying to rationalize this. Man, I remember when SDF types were a fucking joke. Now they are everywhere.

I don't care if they end up cutting this because it once again shows what the Head Assholes at these companies want the games to be: black holes you dump money into. Read: F2P mobile garbage wrapped in a $60 package.

UFC 3 littered with P2W mechanics.
Over the past few days EA opened the floodgates and sent out beta invitations for select players to test out the latest iteration in MMA video games, EA Sports UFC 3. Boasting a plethora of supposed improvements over earlier releases, UFC 3 primarily aims to elevate the sophistication of the animation systems in play, subsequently improving the fluidity and seamlessness of the many aspects of MMA on display. In reality, the many new animations and overhauled gameplay systems feel incredibly detrimental to the fighting experience overall and the unflinching reliability upon microtransactions may be the most absurd and disgraceful implementation in contemporary gaming, a new low for EA, hot off the heels of the Battlefront 2 crisis.

EA SPORTS UFC 3 - The Single Most Egregious Implementation of Microtransactions to Date

November 29, 2017

Over the past few days EA opened the floodgates and sent out beta invitations for select players to test out the latest iteration in MMA video games, EA Sports UFC 3. Boasting a plethora of supposed improvements over earlier releases, UFC 3 primarily aims to elevate the sophistication of the animation systems in play, subsequently improving the fluidity and seamlessness of the many aspects of MMA on display. In reality, the many new animations and overhauled gameplay systems feel incredibly detrimental to the fighting experience overall and the unflinching reliability upon microtransactions may be the most absurd and disgraceful implementation in contemporary gaming, a new low for EA, hot off the heels of the Battlefront 2 crisis.

Whilst EA Sports UFC 2 featured many similar microtransaction mechanics, it truly feels as though the online competition has reached a new level of inconsequence. Bear in mind that the microtransactions and all systems in effect, are part of a beta test. Despite this, it is equally significant to consider that the release date of February 2nd is looming ever closer, thus, it may be too late for drastic changes to be effectively implemented.

With this knowledge in mind, UFC 3 promotes an incredibly unhealthy online culture of expenses, wherein, the more a player invests into their account the better their performance will be in game. Certainly, an argument can be made for individual skill and barriers of entry negating newcomers from dismantling veterans of the series in online battle, these arguments go out the window however, when the game is so overtly littered with microtransactions to the extent that the very core of the experience is hindered. The fundamentals, striking, grappling and submissions, can all be significantly improved with the purchase of rare boosters, acquired solely through loot crates. These loot crates don’t just contain different techniques or abilities, they promote maneuvers that outright boost player statistics in moment to moment competition.

Every single technique, ability, fighter, and stat roll, is entirely acquired and upgraded through the loot box system. A brand-new player fresh out of the tutorials, can dump $1,000 into the game, acquire the rarest loot drops and immediately jump into online competition with a beastly custom fighter that has an exceedingly large health pool, vastly improved endurance, and substantially stronger strikes than the average player who simply pays the $60 price of admission. The higher the rarity of the item, the more significant the improvement overall. Pressing the square button to throw a punch at an opponent, quite literally the simplest and most obvious mechanic in an MMA game, perfectly exemplifies the absurdity of the microtransactions in question. A base level jab will do minimal damage to online opponents, however a fighter that purchases a loot box and acquires a five-star rarity level jab, will not only have a more efficient and powerful technique in combat, but will also be treated to a host of stat increases in all regards, making their player undeniably better in every scenario.

Furthermore, UFC 3’s Ultimate Team mode has added the ability for players to unlock real fighters and use them as part of their group online. Yet again this system Is bogged down by the implications of microtransactions as the rarer fighters have the higher base-level statistics and will outright perform better.

This is yet another example of detestable game design practices on behalf of EA.

Microtransactions are also the only means of acquiring perks and boosts. Perks are powerful abilities that can be equipped for a small number of fights before expiring. They can range from a low-level stamina improvement during a certain phase, whether that be striking, grappling or ground game, to a significant hit point increase during pivotal health events, wherein your opponent has damaged you enough to potentially end the fight. Boosts on the other hand are similarly temporary enhancements that offer endurance boosts and durability bonuses. It is clear to see that in combination with technique enhancements and overall stat increases, EA has taken every single aspect of genuine competition and buried it.

Onto the actual gameplay itself, shifting away from the faster pace of previous iterations, UFC 3 feels incredibly clunky and inauthentic. Distance control used to be a key element of battle, however with player movement speeds seemingly doubled it is nearly impossible to land a flurry of consecutive strikes. The blocking system has been changed for the worse as counters are no longer even a function and absorbing strikes consumes a very minor amount of health, recharging to full health in a matter of seconds. This new system severely impacts arguably the primary reason audiences want to engage with UFC 3 in the first place, to knock one another out. The knockout system in this iteration is bogged down by the health regeneration systems at play. In the heat of the moment, landing a one-punch knockout is an unobtainable accomplishment as players must be dropped to the ground numerous times before a knock out blow can be delivered now. Whilst in theory this should limit the annoyance that comes from being knocked out of a fight rather early, it also feels unauthentic and slows down the pace of fights quite drastically, leading to boring exchanges in the pocket with no real payoff.

On top of this, the input delay is humorously bad this time around, an issue that was all but resolved with UFC 2. Countless times in my few hours of playing did I attempt to strike three or four times to the head, block, then strike two or three times to the body. Whilst this would have been a relatively simple engagement in the past, it now takes an absurd amount of time for these actions to register in game. Players could input their commands, put the controller down for a few seconds whilst they check Twitter, come back to the game and their fighter will still be mid-way through the sequence. No hyperbole, it is genuinely that bad. These concerns are only further exaggerated in online play.
I've cut a bit out.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Lagmonster » 2017-11-30 03:53pm

Ace Pace wrote:
2017-11-27 11:24am
AKA if you narrow it down, aside from the digital divide, what's the difference between CCG booster packs (which no one considers gambling) and this?
Honestly? I had a pretty decent MtG collection, and even so I have zero problem with labelling that as gambling and banning kids from buying them. Throw the baby out with the bathwater; CCGs were the OGs of microtransactions.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by TheFeniX » 2017-11-30 05:52pm

Lagmonster wrote:
2017-11-30 03:53pm
Ace Pace wrote:
2017-11-27 11:24am
AKA if you narrow it down, aside from the digital divide, what's the difference between CCG booster packs (which no one considers gambling) and this?
Honestly? I had a pretty decent MtG collection, and even so I have zero problem with labelling that as gambling and banning kids from buying them. Throw the baby out with the bathwater; CCGs were the OGs of microtransactions.
I get onboard with this... and then I don't. The legal definition of gambling is actually... not defined well and is overly broad in some instances. But generally I have taken it to assume a system where a win scenario has a payout based on different factors whereas a loss scenario pays out nothing.

MtG always "pays-outs." You get something and the value is relative. At the end of the day, they are all just cardboard, unlike a cash-payout.

And this slides it into the same side as loot-boxes with digital sales. What bumps it into "shitty" territory is the extra stuff on top.

In a word: "control." I can't control what I get out of a booster pack, but I can control near any aspect of the use of that card. I can create my own house rules, my own version of the game. "Two-headed Giant" is an example of house rules becoming official. Same as with the Archenemy mode. No one can deny access to my cards. If WotC goes belly up, I still have my cards.

Video Games in their current form lack this. This system is designed specifically to get you to throw money into a void, then move onto the next void. My Beta cards might be banned in some tournys, which no one gives a shit about, but they are valid everywhere else. A new expansion, even 15 years later, does not invalidate my collection. What happens when EA pulls the BF2 servers? All that shit is gone. You have nothing of value, either intrinsic or third-party.

This is finally getting to the "straight upgrade" era. Yes, certain expansions of MtG added stupid overpowered stuff. But overpowered cards have existed since the beginning. Aside from some stupidly broken combos, which are banned about anywhere, I've seen guys do solid work with "no rares" decks. The playing field is not level, but you CAN compete with the average deck by throwing cards together.

Also, WotC literally sells decks. Some of them are actually quite solid outright, even better with some modding, but I digress.

UFC3 is literally "RNG a Rare = Your jabs do 10% more damage." That's the definition of P2W. So, in a $60 game, you're inclined to pay money like everyone else, on top of the charge at the door, to compete. If I could choose WHO I FUCKING PLAYED WITH like I could in the past and still do with MtG: this would be lesser issue. Especially if I could select a button that says "no mods allowed." But no, I have ZERO control over any part of the system.

I'd rather take my kid to a casino rather than let him play an EA cash shop game. At least casinos are forced to be upfront with their bullshit. And at least casinos do cool shit like comp meals or hotel rooms. EA won't even offer up a bottle of lube for the assfucking they're giving customers.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Imperial528 » 2017-11-30 06:10pm

The way I see it, the main difference between trading card booster packs and loot boxes is the reason they are being purchased, how they are advertised, and their base value.

Most people buy booster packs in CCGs/TCGs to get average cards; sure, it's nice to get a particularly rare/good card, but generally speaking the average collector/player does not buy hoards of them just to get one card, because it's cheaper and faster to find someone who has the card and buy it off of them. And even if you are one of the minority that does just burn through booster packs to get a rare, the others cards you are getting are solid investments in their own right.

Whereas with loot boxes and other microtransactions based on chance, the selling point is almost always the payouts which you have the lowest chance to get, and the remainder are both practically useless in comparison, and acquirable via gameplay anyway.

For a particularly egregious example, when I still played War Thunder, they released a few premium vehicles (P-47N among them as the one I wanted) and along with that, what were basically lootboxes with a chance to earn each vehicle depending on which you bought, available for far less than the vehicles themselves.

The chance to get a vehicle was incredibly low, and literally everything else in the box could be earned easily through gameplay. IIRC each box was around seven dollars. In the amount of time it takes me to earn seven dollars (~40min) I could through gameplay earn twice the average payout of each box in terms of game content.

TL;DR: If I buy a hundred dollars of MTG boosters and don't get any rares, at least I still have a hundred dollars worth of cards. If I buy a hundred dollars of lootboxes and don't get a rare, I'm left with nothing.

The only way I could see lootboxes being remotely honest is if they sold at rates comparable to the average value of their potential payoff. But then they'd be selling at a few cents each in most games.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by TheFeniX » 2017-11-30 06:26pm

I keep forgetting how easy it is to trade up in MtG. I was lousy at getting rares. I pulled a Shivan once and was ecstatic. I spent more than my share of allowances on cards, but I was also great at getting good uncommons. I can't believe how many Icy Manipulator I got back in Ice Age. EDIT: point being, I have a badass collection mostly because I could trade like a pro... except that ONE time I got took by a guy in his 30s.

And UFC3 is actually NOT the definition of P2W. It's throwing RNG in front of what is P2W. I mean, it's a sad day when you're looking at P2W as the better option since you now need a combination of luck AND money to compete. And that just means addicts are going to dump more money to compete because I'll bet the best rares have a stupid low drop-rate.

It's easy to see why a game like WoW has lock-outs and a max number of dailies you can do per day. Otherwise, I'd bet a shitload of people would game themselves to death as, back then, your main investment was time.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by bilateralrope » 2017-11-30 10:31pm

TheFeniX wrote:
2017-11-30 12:27pm
I've gone full malcontent at this point: I would love another crash. It's not going to happen, they are way to diversified and Activision even survived the first. But it would be hilarious to see Nintendo survive it because for all their faults they still understand "fun." And no matter what shitty things they've pulled, they are still small-time compared to near any other company on my shitlist.
If there is another crash, it would be caused by something causing the whales to leave. Since whales are addicted, the only option there is regulation.

If regulation comes, those publishers who have pushed heavily into lootboxes will be in trouble. Maybe they have enough cash on hand to survive until they can get new games out, because reworking existing games might not be feasible. Activision-Blizzard will be in trouble because they are heavily pushing lootboxes, as are EA. Take-Two Interactive might be, depending on how much they mean lootboxes when they talked about all their games having recurrent consumer spending.

There are three AAA publishers who I expect to survive:
- WB games. Because they can get money from the rest of WB.
- Valve. Sure, they are only making lootbox games right now. But they make a lot of money selling other companies games.
- CD Projekt. The only AAA publisher I can name who isn't going down the lootbox route. Also, they own GoG.

Indie devs will survive if they aren't doing lootboxes. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice sold half a million in 3 months, so there is hope for games with budgets between indies and AAA emerging. Especially since the AAA move to multiplayer + microtransaction games is going to continue even without lootboxes.
TheFeniX wrote:
2017-11-30 01:33pm
"IT'S JUST COSMETIC SHIT GUYS! CHILL THE FUCK OUT!" - Internet morons who are probably trying to rationalize this. Man, I remember when SDF types were a fucking joke. Now they are everywhere.
Most of the "it's just cosmetics" crowed got angry when EA pushed into multiplayer, pay to win, lootboxes.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by TheFeniX » 2017-12-01 01:35am

bilateralrope wrote:
2017-11-30 10:31pm
If regulation comes, those publishers who have pushed heavily into lootboxes will be in trouble. Maybe they have enough cash on hand to survive until they can get new games out, because reworking existing games might not be feasible. Activision-Blizzard will be in trouble because they are heavily pushing lootboxes, as are EA. Take-Two Interactive might be, depending on how much they mean lootboxes when they talked about all their games having recurrent consumer spending.
Blizzard still has talent on staff as IIRC their retention is quite high as they shift said talent into other areas. Their problem is the morons pushing the talent into bullshit. Look, HotS Alexstraza and her MILF build really rocks my kazba and even a lot of the other mesh/skinwork not designed make me happy in pants is stellar, but these guys should be making more games, not lootbox sims. Blizzard has the ability to retool quickly into actually making video games again. They shit Overwatch out of a failed MMO. Cut the lootbox bullshit and the game would have still made a whole bunch of money since, the way Blizzard works, they were retoolling assets they already invested the time into. Because, when left to develop: Blizzard can make magic.

But Activision is breaking their back with this "gouge, gouge, I SAID FUCKING GOUGE!" They helped guide WoW into a "Cut content, then sell it back to the consumer and make them feel like we're doing them a favor." Diablo 3 Auction House: nothing else need bother being said. Except maybe that the guy who implemented all the worst ideas of D3 was moved to head of WoW development around the time of WoD and Legion.

Like how Starcraft 2 was going to be A game. But the Activision merger and the bullshit of the worthless pile of money grubbing trash like Kotick lead to "The Hobbit Trilogy" of video games. Only saving grace really DeLancy as Alarak was worth the fucking wait. Ubishit also has the tools to retool into a video game developer, as do more than a few others. Well, at least they can go back to the "buy up talent, shit out games, can the talent. GOTO 10."

Sidenote: Forbes has gone to shit over the years, but they can till knock one out of the park. My only complaint is that "actually, yes EA can go back on their word." It's what they do, it's what they've done, it's who they are. They don't give a fuck about public opinion, people still cough money up. Like every other group of money-grubbing fucks, they'll work around the system the best they can and continue to make money at the cost of quality.

EDIT: Like how Overkill shamed people for thinking Payday 2 would add microtransactions and said outright "we will never add microtransactions." Then they added P2W microtransactions. These people have zero fucks to give. Lieing is not illegal.
There are three AAA publishers who I expect to survive:
- WB games. Because they can get money from the rest of WB.
- Valve. Sure, they are only making lootbox games right now. But they make a lot of money selling other companies games.
- CD Projekt. The only AAA publisher I can name who isn't going down the lootbox route. Also, they own GoG.
At the least, we could hope WB games pulls it's publishing division. Because otherwise solid games get turned into jokes. They could possibly just license out the rights to what they own. There would be enough interest in the DC stuff alone. Much like how Disney just dumped Star Wars into EA's lap: lose money, make money, Disney is very little out of pocket. And probably makes more on blow-off games than AAA.
Most of the "it's just cosmetics" crowed got angry when EA pushed into multiplayer, pay to win, lootboxes.
Yea well, that's like dancing for joy because everyone finally realized what the world had become just as the nukes were going off. The signs have always been there. Slippery Slope is not always a fallacy.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Lagmonster » 2017-12-01 11:16am

TheFeniX wrote:
2017-11-30 05:52pm
I get onboard with this... and then I don't. The legal definition of gambling is actually... not defined well and is overly broad in some instances. But generally I have taken it to assume a system where a win scenario has a payout based on different factors whereas a loss scenario pays out nothing.
For me, when you get to the point where you're seriously considering a law, I expect there to be someone for whom there is so much harm that a law is required to protect them from something. In CCG's case, I see that they do encourage gambling *behaviour*. Imagine a casino with five dollar slots that paid out a free drink coupon every single time, and then very occasionally paid out a hundred bucks. That's the CCG business model. The payout is engineered to make you desire a better payout.

Personally, even though I enjoy CCGs, they can go fuck themselves, because instead of just giving us the goddamn game pieces like most board games, they tease you with the *possibility* of getting all the pieces if you just give them a bit more money. When I think back to the first few editions of MtG I collected, in practice it was indistinguishable from modern loot crates in the sense that players who spent more could win more, because they had better decks. To this day you can find assholes like me who will tell you about their OG Time Walk deck that basically made all the poorer kids refuse to play with them.

Over time, of course, everyone figured out how to enjoy MtG outside of the shadow of the richer (or more obsessed) top-tier gotta-catch-them-all booster-box-buying players, such as just buying the expansion pack - sorry, pre-constructed decks - instead.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Formless » 2017-12-01 04:00pm

You know, Lagmonster, there are a few ways in which I have to disagree with you. The first is the apparent assumption that the only cards with value are the rare and mythic rare cards. In monetary terms, that's mostly true. Tournament players want those cards so badly they will literally pay to win. It doesn't always work, of course, because Wizards has a lot of experience balancing the game so that many decks will be competitive (and if nothing else, the sheer number of cards printed over the years is over 10,000, so its bound to be true anyway). There are also some uncommons that are more valuable than rares (Fatal Push for instance-- it doesn't matter how rare a card is, if it isn't Indestructible it still dies to removal). But when you assert that the cards you get are worthless if they aren't exactly what you want, it rings false. Again, the whole point of the Sealed/Draft format is to force players to work with whatever comes out of the packs rather than relying on deck techs. As a result, Draft requires a different set of skills and is immune to Pay to Win concerns. It also virtually requires the existence of randomized packs.

Also, even in the Constructed formats very few decks are built entirely upon rare cards. In most formats, like Standard, the backbone of a deck is usually common and uncommon cards that are needed for the rares to have a real impact. And you always know how many commons and uncommons you are going to get, even if you don't know whether the pack will have a Fatal Push in it. You always get a set number of cards of common and uncommon rarity, and can trade with other players for the cards you want (including vertical trades to obtain rares). I suppose if you are talking about the Eternal formats like Legacy then this isn't true, but that speaks to the degeneracy of those formats. They also aren't reliant upon randomness but rather the secondary market; even though there are reprint sets like Eternal Masters, most players of Legacy and Vintage still know you have to buy singles because WotC has its Reserved List (i.e. shit they promised not to reprint ever). And arguably, those formats are just too old for new players to easily penetrate, so kids aren't usually seen at Legacy events.

And finally, the only modes of playing Battlefront II and games like it are the modes that are programmed into the game. There is no escaping the Pay to Win aspect within Battlefront II, which means there is no escaping the impact of gambling within Battlefront II. You are matched against whomever is online, and there is no offline multiplayer or private servers you can set up to get around the jerks who payed hundreds to thousands of dollars to have all the advantages on offer. But MtG is a physical game you have ownership over, and that means you can use the cards in your collection however you want. You have the option of playing casually and with house rules (I myself am eternally a casual player, because I don't like playing with strangers and I'm not made of money). People have invented many of the game's most popular formats, some of which gained recognition by Wizards of the Coast over time. Two Headed Giant, Pauper, Commander, and Frontier are all examples of fan creations that became very popular (well, Frontier is mostly a Japanese phenomenon, but still). And even Hasbro has come up with playstyles/products such as Vanguard, Planechase, and Archenemy that are meant to appeal to casual players. The thing about these formats is that they are designed to make cards that are worthless in the main competitive formats valuable if only to casual players. Commander doesn't allow multiple copies of a card in a deck and has deck sizes of 100 cards specifically to increase the diversity of cards in play and make games less repetitive. The inventors also encourage an atmosphere of Fun over Competition so that those who are bad at deck design or who have a Johnny attitude don't have to feel so bad about it. Frontier was made precisely because Japanese players have issues obtaining cards from some of the older sets even for Modern, and wanted their newer cards from around 2015 or so to stay relevant and financially valuable. Pauper specifically bans everything except common cards from the format so that the so-called bulk and chaff has a format where it can shine. I've even seen many role playing gamers come up with novel ways of using their Magic cards as playing aides, up to and including homebrew RPGs that use nothing but Magic cards for both character creation and action/scene resolution.

Basically, what I'm saying is that a Magic card is as valuable as the owner and their friends are creative and only people with a highly competitive nature will feel screwed if they open a pack and it doesn't have exactly what they want; whereas the Star Cards in Battlefront II are always more valuable than the jank that comes out of the vast majority of loot crates and the players have no control over what they can do with them to rectify the situation. To make matters worse, you can't ask for a refund on a loot crate, whereas in TCGs the packs can't be refunded but the cards within can still be traded or sold on the secondary market to get some (or more) of your money back. So as I see it, while there is randomness to booster packs, they are at least not gambling insofar as they are similar to a carnival game where the odds are known, there is no cheating *, and you always walk away with a minimum reward.

For all these reasons, while I can see similarities between the two products I like to think of Booster Packs as a way of enabling the Draft format for people who like that playstyle, or as a way of sampling a new set to get a feel for the new product. But no one treats it as a replacement for buying singles for competitive play, or collecting purposes. Between this and the ability of players to invent new ways to play, I don't see your claims of harm as holding weight.

* Well, I say there is no cheating because the companies go out of their way to foil nefarious shopkeeps. When Nintendo found out that asshole store owners were weighing packs with scales sensitive enough to figure out which ones had foil rares in them, Nintendo went so far as to make a special insert whose weight and dimensions could be carefully controlled as a way of screwing the con artists responsible.
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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by TheFeniX » 2017-12-01 04:12pm

Lagmonster wrote:
2017-12-01 11:16am
For me, when you get to the point where you're seriously considering a law, I expect there to be someone for whom there is so much harm that a law is required to protect them from something. In CCG's case, I see that they do encourage gambling *behaviour*. Imagine a casino with five dollar slots that paid out a free drink coupon every single time, and then very occasionally paid out a hundred bucks. That's the CCG business model. The payout is engineered to make you desire a better payout.
I hear that and I have little argument, then I start getting down into the details. Money has value. It's not intrinsic, but it's basically there at this point. If you win money, you increase you net worth. The free drink analogy really doesn't work. Say for instance they paid out SOME money, or maybe gift cards: which I guess would make it easier to just say "We always pay out $1, so these are $4 slots."

Cards have little value besides what we give them. You can't trade them to pay a Credit Card bill. I mean, maybe you could, but whatever. And unlike money, unless you like sleeping on the stuff or building money stack forts: money is an intermediary to actual ownership. Cards exist as both a currency and a form of entertainment: they have a use outside their monetary value. Arguably, MOST cards fit this definition as they have very little... instrumental? (is that right?) value.
Personally, even though I enjoy CCGs, they can go fuck themselves, because instead of just giving us the goddamn game pieces like most board games, they tease you with the *possibility* of getting all the pieces if you just give them a bit more money. When I think back to the first few editions of MtG I collected, in practice it was indistinguishable from modern loot crates in the sense that players who spent more could win more, because they had better decks. To this day you can find assholes like me who will tell you about their OG Time Walk deck that basically made all the poorer kids refuse to play with them.
This leads back to my talk about Control. "That guy" is avoidable. The current matchmaking system means you will consistently run into people like this. And to also be fair, Timewalk and cards like it continue to get made. But also importantly, the addition of new cards might reduce the power of said timewalk, but the card exists in it's current form, errata aside. Newer cards might be a better version, but that just means you can have 8 timewalks in your deck.

MMOs have gone with the "replacable awesomes" as part of a core game mechanic because those games have generally been about the grind. But what happens when your randomed +50 Damage card, that you can do NOTHING with if you aren't using it, is supplanted by a +55 Damage Card?

You toss it or, at best, break it down into what cryptocurrecy the developer is using, which is not tradable for cash. Unlike people who "cash out" their MtG collection.

I can see how this would all be a nightmare to legislate and like you, I'm leaning toward the "fuck you" when it comes to targeting kids with the CCG crap. Mainly because 30-somethings can dominate an otherwise kids game by throwing more time and money at it. I've heard the Pokemon league stuff is real bad about fatnerds scamming young kids out of their Shinies (or whatever, Pokemon is not my bag).

Shit, even at my local MtG shop, cops had to arrest some fatty POS for scamming kids. Texas had/has some kind of weird law I can't remember the name of. Essentially, even though minors can sell/buy from adults, there's something about a "hostile bargaining." The guy was bullying young kids into making poor trades based on "don't be a pussy, this is a good deal" and him using counterfit Scrye magazine print-outs. I guess a fancy legal phrase for fraud combined with intimidation.

Unrelated: He got probation and came back and started bullying the last kid he scammed. Kid's dad was in the car. Oh man, I almost feel bad for laughing, but the dad was pretty jacked and it was comical to watch him man-handle this fat sack while said sack flopped around on the ground like a beached whale. You could tell the dad wanted to pound him (he didn't really beat him up, probably planned to) but you could watch as he kind of went to swing his fist, then backed off as the guy scrambled to just try and right himself, all the while his shorts kept getting pulled down and showing off his (stained... ugh) tighty-whities.

Cops finally showed up, gave the dad a stern talking to, mainly because no one would make a statement and the dad never even really hit him, and stuffed the fat guy in the back of the cruiser for violating the terms of his probation.

Sorry for the rant. MtG is serious shit.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by bilateralrope » 2017-12-01 10:30pm

A post on Jim Sterling's reddit says that Bavaria is getting involved. Can anyone confirm the accuracy of this posters summary ?

Bavarian Legislative Body entering Loot Box Arena
This is going to hurt: https://www.bayern.landtag.de/www/ElanT ... 013052.pdf
tl:dr; legislature of the state of Bavaria just pulled the trigger on activating a federal entity to deal with loot boxes.
------- The cliff-note version of the legal document in English: People from the ruling party in Bavaria ask the legislative body to act upon: 1. protection of minors from online-videogames in a fashion suitable for today (i.e. old laws are outdated) 2. warn more about loot boxes.
The text goes on to make an argument as to why this is necessary. - video games are a recognized cultural good - the German government estimates around 500.000 people are affected by some sort of online or video game addiction - Germany's second largest health insurer (DAK) estimates 5% of people between 12 and 17 belong into a risk group for addiction. - children and teenagers are especially vulnerable and need protection.
The text goes on to describe what loot boxes are. The text claims loot boxes are a danger not because they are equal to gambling, but how they are set up. The content itself is of no importance, it is how loot boxes work, psychologically speaking. The text does not like it when a game wants players to pay over and over to remain successful in the game. (personal note: developers arguing about the minutia of what is gambling and what is not will have a rude awakening here)
The text then goes on and asks the Bavarian government to activate the KJM. Rather than passing a local law, the Bavarian Government activates a federal authority. The text includes a passage proving why this Federal authority is responsible for this type of online activity and minors. (personal note: this federal authority KJM resides in Munich, home of the Bavarian Government, which is bad news for all the publishers. The Bavarian government is not really passing this on, but instead keeping it close to their sphere of influence).
The text closes with a statement that parents, children and teenagers need to be educated more about the dangers of loot boxes, online games, yadda yadda. -------
The vote passed, the ball is now at the KJM.
In essence, rather than passing a local law of little concern, the Bavarians invoked a very nasty thing, the KJM.
The KJM is not there to outlaw anything, they do not make anything illegal. But they can say that something should not be accessible to minors, effectively giving each loot box game an 18+ rating. No signing of any laws required beyond this point. If the KJM puts its foot down, it will be over and definitely escalate to the European level. With the two biggest European economies (Germany and France) on the same page and most of the European video games industry being located in Britain, i.e. Brexit-Land, the industry could not be in a worse position.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by bilateralrope » 2018-04-22 09:04am

An update: The Netherlands Gaming Authority studied lootboxes in 10 games. 4 of them are illegal under existing Dutch law. The link leads to an english copy of the study and a press release. Also, the analysis indicated that all lootboxes studied could be addictive.

They don't list the games they studied, beyond saying that they selected them based on their popularity. My guess is that any games where the contents of the lootbox can be traded for cash are illegal. Which means any game where the contents of the lootbox can be traded with other players, because no developer has been able to have player to player trading without also having some players trade in-game items for cash.

While the other 6 lootbox games are currently legal, the Netherlands Gaming Authority is still asking the devs of those games to reduce the addicting elements.
Press release
A study by the Netherlands Gaming Authority
has shown:
Certain loot boxes
contravene gaming laws

THE HAGUE , 19 April 2018 – A study by the Netherlands Gaming Authority has
revealed that four of the ten loot boxes that were studied contravene the Betting
and Gaming Act (Wet op de kansspelen, Wok). The reason is that the content of
these loot boxes is determined by chance and that the prizes to be won can be
traded outside of the game: the prizes have a market value. Offering this type of
game of chance to Dutch players without a licence is prohibited. Moreover, the
analyses that are currently available indicate that all of the loot boxes that were
studied could be addictive. The Netherlands Gaming Authority has reached this
conclusion in its ‘Study of loot boxes | Treasure or a burden. As a result, the
supervisory body is calling on the games sector to modify all games before midJune.
The Netherlands Gaming Authority is calling on providers of games with loot boxes to
adhere to the norm stipulated under Dutch law and modify their games accordingly. From 20
June 2018, the Netherlands Gaming Authority may instigate enforcement action against
providers of games of chance with loot boxes that do not adhere to this norm.
The Netherlands Gaming Authority warned of the possible risks of loot boxes as long ago as
November 2017. The concerns about loot boxes that the Netherlands Gaming Authority
received from gamers, parents and care institutions also helped to prompt this study.
Worldwide, numerous supervisory bodies are currently examining the loot boxes
phenomenon. The Netherlands Gaming Authority is in close contact with fellow supervisory
bodies in order to take joint action.
Loot boxes: virtual treasure chests
Loot boxes, also known as ‘crates’, ‘cases’ or ‘packs, are a type of treasure chest containing
items that are being built into more and more digital games. They are intended to make a
game more attractive and/or easier. Loot boxes in games create a mixture of games of chance
and games of skill. Although the outcome of games is determined by skill, the outcome of loot
boxes is determined by chance.
Some loot boxes are free, while the player has to pay for others. In addition, the content of
some loot boxes has a monetary value. This fact gave rise to the question of whether loot
boxes are permitted on the grounds of gambling legislation. The Netherlands Gaming
Authority also wanted to know whether addiction risks are associated with opening loot
boxes.
The analyses that are currently available indicate that all of the loot boxes that were studied
could be addictive. Loot boxes are similar to gambling games such as slot machines and
roulette in terms of design and mechanisms. There are, however, no indications that loot
boxes are being opened on a large scale by problem players and/or addicted players. Socially
vulnerable groups, such as young people, are being encouraged to play games of chance.
Study design
The study of loot boxes comprised various components. The legal permissibility of loot boxes
has been studied by consulting the Guide on Assessing Games of Chance (Leidraad
beoordeling kansspelen). To do so, the functioning of the ten loot boxes that were selected
was analysed, including by opening loot boxes ourselves. The Netherlands Gaming Authority
selected the games in its study based on their popularity on a leading Internet platform that
streams videos of games and players.
While addiction risk was researched by studying the literature, information was obtained
from addiction care and other experts. The game was also evaluated using an evaluation tool
that was previously used to analyse the Dutch gaming market.
Call to providers
Six of the ten loot boxes that were studied do not contravene the law. With these games, there
is no opportunity to sell the prizes won outside of the game. This means that the goods have
no market value and these loot boxes do not satisfy the definition of a prize in Section 1 of the
Betting and Gaming Act.
The Netherlands Gaming Authority therefore calls on providers of this type of loot box to
remove the addiction-sensitive elements (‘almost winning’ effects, visual effects, ability to
keep opening loot boxes quickly one after the other and suchlike) from the games and to
implement measures to exclude vulnerable groups or to demonstrate that the loot boxes on
offer are harmless.
To date, the supervisory body has not been able to establish that providers of the games
implement control measures to exclude vulnerable groups such as minors and to prevent
addiction. The Netherlands Gaming Authority puts the protection of vulnerable groups, such
as minors, first.
Gaming safely in a fair market
The Netherlands Gaming Authority is committed to ensuring a reliable and trustworthy
offering of games of chance in a safe environment. The Netherlands Gaming Authority does
this as a public authority, together with players, providers of licensed games of chance and
government services with which they cooperate. The Netherlands Gaming Authority’s
approach is strong and justified to safeguard the interest of reliable games of chance in a safe
environment.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Thanas » 2018-04-22 10:47am

Loot boxes should definitely be banned, they are a cancer to every game I know.
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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Steel » 2018-04-22 11:44am

Thanas wrote:
2018-04-22 10:47am
Loot boxes should definitely be banned, they are a cancer to every game I know.
I'm 100% on board with banning lootboxes, as well as any purchase of a gameplay affecting item (where the default is that a purchased item is considered gameplay affecting unless proven that it is not, and skipping a timer is absolutely considered gameplay affecting).

This would leave only genuinely optional cosmetic stuff for purchase, and as I give few shits about cosmetics I'm fine with that. Should also wipe out 99.99% of mobile time-waster-skinner-boxes, and again absolutely no loss there.

The issues I see are that:
1. I'm certain any laws would be either badly written, or badly enforced.
2. How could we ban the terrible purchases without also banning legitimate DLCs and expansions? This may be an acceptable loss considering the state of the industry with eternal early access and piecemeal development being the norm. Hearthstone's nickel and diming $400 a year 'expansion' model should die too.

The crazy thing about all this is that literally less than one in a thousand players is keeping this model afloat. 990/1000 players are spending nothing (but enduring shittier game design), 9/1000 are spending a tiny amount of money, and then that last 1/1000 are continuously spending all of the money on earth, to the extent that they won't even allow normal consumers a chance to pay full price up front for a game not deliberately crippled by exploitative design practices.
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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by bilateralrope » 2018-04-22 12:29pm

Swedish education program warns kids of Lootcrates. (English subtitles) (Youtube). An education broadcast intended to be broadcast in Swedish elementary schools warning about lootboxes.
Thanas wrote:
2018-04-22 10:47am
Loot boxes should definitely be banned, they are a cancer to every game I know.
Agreed. If you want proof of how cancerous they are, look at Battlefront 2:
- After EA removed the "option" to pay for lootboxes, they significantly increased the rate at which they are earned in-game.
- Now that EA is talking about putting microtransactions back into BF2 (paying for specific cosmetics), they are reworking the progression system to a more traditional XP based system.
EA's actions say a lot about how badly lootboxes affect the rest of any game they are included in.

The clock is now ticking. We have a deadline before regulators show their teeth. While no games were named in the study, I'm pretty sure that CS:GO was one of the games looked at. How Valve treats Steam games that weren't looked at in the study, but have lootboxes just as illegal as CS:GO's, will be interesting.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Vendetta » 2018-04-22 02:18pm

Steel wrote:
2018-04-22 11:44am
2. How could we ban the terrible purchases without also banning legitimate DLCs and expansions? This may be an acceptable loss considering the state of the industry with eternal early access and piecemeal development being the norm. Hearthstone's nickel and diming $400 a year 'expansion' model should die too.
If you pay real money, or spend tokens which are acquired with real money, for a random chance of getting something then you must comply with existing gambling legislation.

That doesn't touch DLC or expansions where you get what you pay for. It's purely the random chance that needs legislation because it is gambling, the idea that it is only worth legislation if you can cash out is antequated. The same neurological processes are in play, you have a random chance of getting a thing you value (which also carries the caveat that you probably won't get the valuable thing because that's how they increase "engagement" with the gambling mechanic. It's just as harmful as other forms of gambling to those with a disposition to become addicted to it.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Steel » 2018-04-23 07:38am

Vendetta wrote:
2018-04-22 02:18pm
Steel wrote:
2018-04-22 11:44am
2. How could we ban the terrible purchases without also banning legitimate DLCs and expansions? This may be an acceptable loss considering the state of the industry with eternal early access and piecemeal development being the norm. Hearthstone's nickel and diming $400 a year 'expansion' model should die too.
If you pay real money, or spend tokens which are acquired with real money, for a random chance of getting something then you must comply with existing gambling legislation.

That doesn't touch DLC or expansions where you get what you pay for. It's purely the random chance that needs legislation because it is gambling, the idea that it is only worth legislation if you can cash out is antequated. The same neurological processes are in play, you have a random chance of getting a thing you value (which also carries the caveat that you probably won't get the valuable thing because that's how they increase "engagement" with the gambling mechanic. It's just as harmful as other forms of gambling to those with a disposition to become addicted to it.
I'm entirely on board with that, gambling is gambling.

I would like to see this quashed by broader legislation that bans pay2win, but unfortunately that is much less likely than the already unlikely banning of lootbox gambling.

I don't see a way to really stop lootbox gambling without also banning pay2win, and even pay2win is hard to stamp out in practice.

Consider that in borderlands you have (non-paid) ingame lootboxes that open with some ceremony and fanfare and spew out prizes. Same back down the ages for looter games like Diablo and even older ones.

If you ban the current absurdly obnoxious lootbox purchases they move to lootbox keys. Then you ban the keys and they sell you a DLC level that is a special dungeon that has an ingame lootbox at the end - now how do we ban this without banning all DLC where an RNG is ever called? You could buy DLCs for Borderlands which had extra levels that contained ingame lootboxes - how can we eliminate the exploitative ones without eliminating the legitimate ones? Even introducing an element of skill wont differentiate, because the rubbish ones will just have a sign on the wall saying "Press X to not die".

We can both know that it is "obvious" that one sort is ok, and another is not*, but bullshit lootboxes are a multi-billion dollar a year industry with teams of arseholes optimising the whole process for maximum milking of vulnerable players. I'm sure they can come up with far better fig leaves to hide their business than me.

Once actual lawyers and judges get involved, thinly veiled skirting of the law does tend to be frowned upon. This does require that interested legal parties do actually get involved, lootboxes are classed as gambling in the first place and then it is actually challenged in court.

* personally, I hate RNG drops where you see a guy with a "giant flamethrower" and all the loot he drops is a "pointed stick"
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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by bilateralrope » 2018-04-23 08:04am

Steel wrote:
2018-04-23 07:38am
I don't see a way to really stop lootbox gambling without also banning pay2win, and even pay2win is hard to stamp out in practice.
Huh ?

Lootbox gambling is easily defined. It's when players are paying real money (maybe through intermediary currencies) for a randomised output. So that's easy to ban.

Pay to win without the randomisation, like buying a playable character that's more powerful than the free ones, will be completely untouched. Using Star Trek online as an example:
- Purchases of spend $x worth of the microtransaction currency, get ship a (or ships a, b, c) will still be allowed.
- Purchases of keys to open the lootboxes that might contain a ship won't be.
Both are pay to win. But only one is a lootbox.
Consider that in borderlands you have (non-paid) ingame lootboxes that open with some ceremony and fanfare and spew out prizes. Same back down the ages for looter games like Diablo and even older ones.
I've bolded the important part. You can't pay money to get more lootboxes. So they won't be banned.
If you ban the current absurdly obnoxious lootbox purchases they move to lootbox keys. Then you ban the keys and they sell you a DLC level that is a special dungeon that has an ingame lootbox at the end - now how do we ban this without banning all DLC where an RNG is ever called?
The big difference between the dungeon DLC and a lootbox is that you can purchase multiple lootboxes, while a DLC can only be purchased once. So that is the distinction any law will rely on.

The dungeon DLC won't be addictive because it's not a repetitive purchase.
We can both know that it is "obvious" that one sort is ok, and another is not*, but bullshit lootboxes are a multi-billion dollar a year industry with teams of arseholes optimising the whole process for maximum milking of vulnerable players. I'm sure they can come up with far better fig leaves to hide their business than me.
I'm not so sure about that. Once thing I've noticed about the flood of lootboxes is that they lack creativity in the mechanics. Plus the representative the ESA sent to Hawaii to argue against legislation there seemed rather unaware of the facts. They even tried a fig leaf: The Hawaii legislation proposes a label to disclose if a game has lootboxes. The ESA's attempt to say that the legislation was unnecessary was a label on all games with microtransactions.

Also consider that we are talking about gambling laws. I'm not aware of any casinos or lotteries successfully dodging the law by disguising what they are. So I assume that gambling laws already have provisions to deal with such 'fig leaves'.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by TheFeniX » 2018-04-23 11:21am

bilateralrope wrote:
2018-04-23 08:04am
Lootbox gambling is easily defined. It's when players are paying real money (maybe through intermediary currencies) for a randomised output. So that's easy to ban.
Yea, I don't understand how people are confused (even those who've never touched a video game) on what lootbox gambling is.
Pay to win without the randomisation, like buying a playable character that's more powerful than the free ones, will be completely untouched. Using Star Trek online as an example:
I still think those should be very clearly labelled. There's more than enough games released that have no money on top of the original expenditure to make the distinction between DLC and microtransactions. Or to at least narrow the definition of DLC. I'd even break out into "This game sells you code you can't access without an additional payment." Fucking Capcom and Bioware... Jesus.

Honestly, at this point, I wouldn't care if paid lootbox games (P2W or Cosmetic) were labelled as AO (Adults Only) since gambling is freaking gambling.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by bilateralrope » 2018-04-24 12:51am

Lootboxes vs not lootboxes is an easily defined distinction.

Cosmetic vs pay to win, not so much. One thing I've heard about Battle Royale games is that the color of your clothing directly affects how hard you are to see. For example, a green shirt means a sniper might not see you while you're crossing an open grass area, a red shirt means a TOS reenactment. Leading to the dinosaur suit is so popular in Fortnite because it's green. Possibly accidental pay to win.

But, even if you could find a reliable distinction between cosmetic and pay to win, cosmetic lootboxes still need to go. Especially the ones that are already illegal (eg, CS:GO).

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by TheFeniX » 2018-04-24 02:46am

That benefit isn't a given though. It might make an easier target, a harder target, or make no difference since some players are tied more to movement than anything color related. The thing is: you can't really prove that shirt is an advantage, you end up arguing something along the lines of "in certain situations." Even Heroes has a kind of advantage with Nova's Novazon skin since it turns her extremely distinctive sounding snipe noise into a "thud" as the ability becomes a knife throw.

Meanwhile, "Green Shirt (+10 Armor)" has an easily definable, even by someone who knows nothing about the system, benefit over "Red Shirt (0 Armor)."

At some point, you're going to have to accept some things are going to slip through. Trying to make a distinction between the benefits of cosmetics is going to be a bad time. Them's the breaks. It's still gambling though.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Steel » 2018-04-24 03:28am

bilateralrope wrote:
2018-04-23 08:04am
Steel wrote:
2018-04-23 07:38am
I don't see a way to really stop lootbox gambling without also banning pay2win, and even pay2win is hard to stamp out in practice.
Huh ?

Lootbox gambling is easily defined. It's when players are paying real money (maybe through intermediary currencies) for a randomised output. So that's easy to ban.
So literally every game and DLC purchase qualifies as a lootbox under this definition. You pay money, some RNG happens, and rewards happen in-game.

As informed gamers, and human beings, identifying lootboxes is trivial, but not for the law.

Of course we both know what lootboxes are, but just like with defining pornography vs art, "I know it when I see it" can't be the extent of the law if we want to get anything positive done.
The big difference between the dungeon DLC and a lootbox is that you can purchase multiple lootboxes, while a DLC can only be purchased once. So that is the distinction any law will rely on.

The dungeon DLC won't be addictive because it's not a repetitive purchase.
This is a good point, but I have played MMOs where you could only play a dungeon every X hours. Just set the cooldown on your lootbox corridor DLCs to 11 years, but be really kind to players and offer a practically infinite number of them for purchase. And we're back to purchased lootboxes.
Pay to win without the randomisation, like buying a playable character that's more powerful than the free ones, will be completely untouched. Using Star Trek online as an example:
- Purchases of spend $x worth of the microtransaction currency, get ship
...
How do you ban lootbox keys, but not buying a weapon that kills enemies (as most games have RNG in combat and loot drops in normal play)? We can even give the weapon limited durability (another common mechanic) while also giving it regenerating durability so it technically isn't a consumable (just so slow you probably won't use it again before the servers go down).
The representative the ESA sent to Hawaii to argue against legislation there seemed rather unaware of the facts
The ESA are supposed to be the ones regulating the scumbag game companies, so them being morons is entirely consistent.

This was also the opening salvo against massive entities that have not yet shown their full hand. I actually have more faith that consumer backlash will lead to positive change than well crafted legislation. (So slim chance consumers actually win, some chance of bad legislation banning all games or any programs containing PRNGs as a whole).
Also consider that we are talking about gambling laws. I'm not aware of any casinos or lotteries successfully dodging the law by disguising what they are. So I assume that gambling laws already have provisions to deal with such 'fig leaves'.
Games have a fundamental problem in that a lot of things in them are random in normal gameplay: mainly combat and loot drops. How do we kill off the lootboxes without killing a) all games or b) all pay2win?

In summary, I'm not saying spotting lootboxes is difficult for players, but any regulation must be well crafted and unambiguous or it will fail to achieve the desired effects. We can't rely on volume of outcry, or a bad actor can just hire a call centre to sink their competitors and defend their product and still make money off their cash cow.
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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Vendetta » 2018-04-24 05:23am

Steel wrote:
2018-04-24 03:28am
bilateralrope wrote:
2018-04-23 08:04am
Steel wrote:
2018-04-23 07:38am
I don't see a way to really stop lootbox gambling without also banning pay2win, and even pay2win is hard to stamp out in practice.
Huh ?

Lootbox gambling is easily defined. It's when players are paying real money (maybe through intermediary currencies) for a randomised output. So that's easy to ban.
So literally every game and DLC purchase qualifies as a lootbox under this definition. You pay money, some RNG happens, and rewards happen in-game.
You're inventing complications where none exist.

It's actually fucking trivial to discern between gambling and games with RNG elements. If you get a limited number of attempts per real money purchase, it is gambling, if you can repeat the RNG element as many times as you want for a single purchase (like buying an expansion to Diablo) it is not.

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Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Steel » 2018-04-24 08:28am

Vendetta wrote:
2018-04-24 05:23am
You're inventing complications where none exist.

It's actually fucking trivial to discern between gambling and games with RNG elements. If you get a limited number of attempts per real money purchase, it is gambling, if you can repeat the RNG element as many times as you want for a single purchase (like buying an expansion to Diablo) it is not.
I agree that this is a good distinction, but I don't think it is a sufficient one to completely eliminate effectively paid lootboxes.

1. You can just put a rate limit so that while in principle there is no limit to the number of attempts, there is a practical one
2. You can have the lootbox portal be real-money-free, but cost earnable ingame currency and make the need to grind for so long that people will buy the earnable ingame currency to get into it.

Or some other system that distances the actual purchasing from the lootboxes, yet uses existing mechanics of the game.

I think that it might be sufficient from a psychology perspective introduce extra distance between the "pay money" and "get shiny thing" steps such that vulnerable people no longer feel compelled to buy lootboxes, but it won't be sufficient eliminate them in law.
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