Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

GEC: Discuss gaming, computers and electronics and venture into the bizarre world of STGODs.

Moderator: Thanas

User avatar
TheFeniX
Sith Marauder
Posts: 4732
Joined: 2003-06-26 04:24pm
Location: Texas

Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by TheFeniX » 2019-01-31 08:23pm

SCRawl wrote:
2019-01-31 07:10pm
I haven't read the whole thread, but it seems to me that a compromise for Belgian video game enthusiasts would be for EA to offer their premium content at its expectation value cost. In other words, if the drop rate for a thing is 1%, and the cost to buy a ticket for a random thing is 1 point, then sell the thing for 100 points. Or maybe 120 points.

Or is the worry that everyone would want access to that deal as well?
That would add "value" to the system which is what the lootbox system is specifically designed not to do. Basically, it's going back to the old system (which sadly is preferable in comparison) of "I want X skin/mod/upgrade: I will pay X EA bucks for it." The newer system is designed to instead sell you a box with a 1% chance to drop what you want that costs X/10 EA bucks. Once you GET that "upgrade" it's done. You can move on to the next. It has the added benefit of "oh man, John got lucky and pulled Y out of his box, let me get in on that."

Long story short, if they offered that: yes, everyone would want it. Because if you think about it, especially in a game that has direct stat upgrades, anyone is going to spend the money upfront to get the best stuff. This then leaves only the people who will NOT spend money as the Have-nots. And they don't matter. But if you can make someone who WILL spend money continue to spend money on a 1% droprate item vs selling it to them for even a stupid amount of money more, if they can buy the shiny, they will.

bilateralrope
Sith Marauder
Posts: 4116
Joined: 2005-06-25 06:50pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by bilateralrope » 2019-01-31 08:27pm

SCRawl wrote:
2019-01-31 07:10pm
Or is the worry that everyone would want access to that deal as well?
That's likely the EA's real reason. Give Belgium players a better system and players in other countries will want it.

Give Belgium players a crappy system and that might get players resisting any attempts other countries make to regulate lootboxes under gambling laws.

User avatar
SCRawl
Has a bad feeling about this.
Posts: 4191
Joined: 2002-12-24 03:11pm
Location: Burlington, Canada

Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by SCRawl » 2019-01-31 10:03pm

Well I don't see how EA has a leg to stand on here: the thing is clearly gambling. If you're selling a product, either you expect to get what you pay for with a reasonable level of certainty as to the thing you're buying and its purchase price or you're setting up a lottery, which is clearly gambling. I suppose there is then an argument that this means that packs of baseball or Pokemon cards are also a lottery, the answer to which is...yeah, I suppose they are. The only question remains is about whether or not any of these product models present a problem, and if they do, then they need to be regulated.
73% of all statistics are made up, including this one.

I'm waiting as fast as I can.

User avatar
TheFeniX
Sith Marauder
Posts: 4732
Joined: 2003-06-26 04:24pm
Location: Texas

Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by TheFeniX » 2019-01-31 10:26pm

You may want to read the thread then, arguments have been made both ways. Where (IMO) things like Magic differ from straight gambling is that there is always a "payout." You buy a pack and you get X commons, Y Uncommons, and a Rare. Sometimes you get a foil or Legendary. Though the VALUE of those varies, the payout is set. You aren't going to open a pack and get nothing but land cards (something wildly given out for free at near any card shop I ever went to).

There's also the difference in a physical product. I still have ALL my Magic cards and I can still look at them and play the game any time I want. Therein lies the problem. You'll end up with a lot of duplicates when playing Magic, but those duplicates aren't by nature useless (you can have 4 of a single card in a deck) and some duplicates can be worth money and/or you want multiple decks.

But the EA model as well as a lot of mobile trash is setup that the chance is stupidly high you will "lose," as in get something that is totally worthless. The win rates are incredibly low. Like in this trash Injustice 2 mobile game I play when I'm bored. The drop rate on the most expensive loot crate is 60% for 5 shards, 26.5% for 10 shards. Neither of those will even unlock a Basic Gold Hero at 3 stars (where they START becoming "not useless") as that takes 160 shards. So, it's a barely incremental gain towards a hero that costs like, I dunno $3? for the box. The chance to unlock 160 shards? 1%. Long time players say to new players: "Loot boxes are a scam, save your shards for guaranteed payouts." Such as the "offers" you get to auto promote heros for X Fakecurrency.

And that's just for heroes in a game I can't DO anything with. I can't handle them or even do something stupid like export the model assets. I just MIGHT get some electronic data to mess with until they pull the plug on the server.

User avatar
Formless
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3754
Joined: 2008-11-10 08:59pm
Location: the beginning and end of the Present

Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Formless » 2019-02-01 12:26am

There is also the fact that Wizards of the Coast officially does not recognize the existence of the secondary market for Magic: the Gathering and their employees specifically avoid referencing it. They (officially) do not make decisions about what to print or reprint or how large their print runs will be based on expected or existent market values. Indeed, in the most recent set, Ravnica Allegiance, the common card persistent petitioners is worth almost a dollar on the secondary market while most rares in the same set are worth half that much money or less. In fact, the current design paradigm explicitly ties rarity to design complexity, not just power, resulting in some rares (even some mythics) being essentially glorified uncommons with more rules text than normal.

If you ask Wizards whether the value of a booster pack depends on what you draw from it, the official answer is a firm "no." And arguably, that's semi-true. Its well known among Magic players that if you want to construct a deck you should really just buy singles rather than packs (ironically, since Wizards doesn't sell singles, you have to go through the secondary market...). Unless a set happens to have a valuable uncommon (like the infamous Fatal Push) you are rarely expecting to pull a card worth more than 2$ from a given pack. But whatever you find in your pack, you will most likely find some use for, because commons and uncommons remain the majority of cards used in the game. And if you are playing in a draft, then its true by default.

Now, granted, to my understanding a big reason for this policy has little to do with gambling and more to do with the Reserved List, which in hindsight they consider a mistake. But there are apparently some arcane laws that collectors could theoretically sue them under because they originally phrased it as a promise to their customers. They can't even print functional reprints of those cards (that is, new cards with different names but the same effects and so forth). They only place where they have come close to being reprinted is in digital formats, which technically the promise does not extend to. So the one time they acknowledged the secondary market officially they ended up tying the hands of the development team for the rest of the game's lifetime, or until Hasbro decides to suck it in and see if the collectors dare sue them over something nearly everyone who actually plays Magic hates and wants to at least see revised, if not abolished.
"Still, I would love to see human beings, and their constituent organ systems, trivialized and commercialized to the same extent as damn iPods and other crappy consumer products. It would be absolutely horrific, yet so wonderful." — Shroom Man 777
"To Err is Human; to Arrr is Pirate." — Skallagrim
“I would suggest "Schmuckulating", which is what Futurists do and, by extension, what they are." — Commenter "Rayneau"
The Magic Eight Ball Conspiracy.

User avatar
Steel
Jedi Master
Posts: 1101
Joined: 2005-12-09 03:49pm
Location: Cambridge

Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Steel » 2019-02-01 06:59am

If they rebalanced the game in Belgium to have better gameplay, that would be a very blatant admission that they deliberately made the game miserable to play in order to sell loot boxes. Additionally, they would be admitting they knew a specific different balance would actually be more fun to play if they couldn't sell lootboxes.

I don't think they want to make those kinds of admissions (again).
Apparently nobody can see you without a signature.

houser2112
Padawan Learner
Posts: 426
Joined: 2006-04-07 07:21am
Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by houser2112 » 2019-02-01 08:00am

Not only would they not want to offer that deal to anyone, but more importantly they wouldn't want to publish the odds.

User avatar
Civil War Man
NERRRRRDS!!!
Posts: 3751
Joined: 2005-01-28 03:54am

Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Civil War Man » 2019-02-01 03:04pm

TheFeniX wrote:
2019-01-31 08:23pm
That would add "value" to the system which is what the lootbox system is specifically designed not to do. Basically, it's going back to the old system (which sadly is preferable in comparison) of "I want X skin/mod/upgrade: I will pay X EA bucks for it." The newer system is designed to instead sell you a box with a 1% chance to drop what you want that costs X/10 EA bucks. Once you GET that "upgrade" it's done. You can move on to the next. It has the added benefit of "oh man, John got lucky and pulled Y out of his box, let me get in on that."
That actually brings up a good point. If they made it so Belgian players could buy certain cards for a set number of points, it could actually strengthen the legal argument that the loot boxes are gambling, since it indirectly assigns a concrete monetary value to the item being purchased. You could then use that to calculate the equivalent monetary payouts of the loot boxes, and show that loot box A handed out the equivalent of $X worth of stuff, while loot box B, which cost the same number of points to purchase, handed out $Y.

User avatar
Vendetta
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 10623
Joined: 2002-07-07 04:57pm
Location: Sheffield, UK

Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Vendetta » 2019-02-03 10:22am

Civil War Man wrote:
2019-02-01 03:04pm
That actually brings up a good point. If they made it so Belgian players could buy certain cards for a set number of points, it could actually strengthen the legal argument that the loot boxes are gambling, since it indirectly assigns a concrete monetary value to the item being purchased. You could then use that to calculate the equivalent monetary payouts of the loot boxes, and show that loot box A handed out the equivalent of $X worth of stuff, while loot box B, which cost the same number of points to purchase, handed out $Y.
If everything in them also has an up front price, and the loot box costs the same as the cheapest thing in it, then the gambling nature of lootboxes is massively undercut because your best case outcome is a discount on a thing you could have bought anyway.

The only ones I know of that work like that are Path of Exile's though.

User avatar
Lost Soal
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2491
Joined: 2002-10-22 06:25am
Location: Back in Newcastle.

Re: Belgium Considering Ban Loot Box Gambling

Post by Lost Soal » 2019-02-03 07:26pm

They won'y rebalance or change anything because the hope Belgian gamers complain to get the law changed or FIFA exempted. Plus they don't want to give the rest of their playerbase the idea that this gameplay mechanic is utter shit and theres a better way.
"May God stand between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk." - Ancient Egyptian Blessing

Ivanova is always right.
I will listen to Ivanova.
I will not ignore Ivanova's recommendations. Ivanova is God.
AND, if this ever happens again, Ivanova will personally rip your lungs out! - Babylon 5 Mantra

There is no "I" in TEAM. There is a ME however.

Post Reply