Lootboxes are bad and silly

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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Pocket (?) » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:09 pm

A new challenger appears!


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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Pocket (?) » Wed May 08, 2019 4:42 pm

It's begun. A Republican Senator has introduced a bill aimed at outright banning lootboxes from games marketed at minors.



:scheming:

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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Madeline (?) » Sat May 18, 2019 11:22 am

This is an incredibly good thread about how f2p mechanics are specifically designed to prey on a relatively small number of people with gambling addictions, inspired by this now-deleted tweet from Unity:

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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Pocket (?) » Sun May 19, 2019 8:22 am

Uncoincidentally, the company behind Unity went public recently.

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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by W.T. Fits (?) » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:03 pm

So, surprising absolutely nobody, EA is doubling down on being utterly shitty about loot boxes "surprise mechanics" in video games: https://kotaku.com/ea-our-loot-boxes-ar ... 1835662012
EA’s Kerry Hopkins made those comments as part of an oral evidence session with the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee today (via PCGamesN). Scottish National Party MP Brendan O’Hara said that evidence suggests a “close” link between loot boxes and gambling, especially among adolescents. He then asked Hopkins, as well as a representative of Epic Games, who was also in attendance to talk about Fortnite, if they considered loot boxes to be an “ethical” feature.

“We don’t call them loot boxes,” Hopkins began her response, adding that EA instead refers to them as “surprise mechanics.”

She then elaborated on what exactly that means and why so-called “surprise mechanics” are just like blind-packed toys. “If you go to—I don’t know what your version of Target is—a store that sells lots of toys, and you do a search for surprise toys, what you’ll find is that this is something people enjoy. They enjoy surprises. And so, it’s something that’s been part of toys for years, whether it’s Kinder Eggs, or Hatchimals, or LOL Surprise. We do think the way that we have implemented these kinds of mechanics in FIFA—[which] of course is our big one, our FIFA Ultimate Team and our packs—is actually quite ethical and quite fun. Enjoyable to people.”
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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Octavia (?) » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:47 pm

Yeah one thing kids love is getting a blind bag toy and opening it to find out they already have that one. :unenthused:
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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Gloomy Rube (?) » Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:38 pm

There are ways to do 'surprise mechanics' that don't involve spending money or gambling, for pete's sake.

I mean, Destiny 2 didn't charge for letting you hear the Strike system break down and issue the code name "Baby Dog" and yet it's a surprise when you get it! I mean, literally anything with a chance to happen is a surprise mechanic, for pete's sake. Grinding for lobster butts in an MMO involves 'surprise' when you get it, or for whatever rare mount.

They might argue "But those aren't -really- a surprise since you know you'll eventually get the thing you want" WELL THAT'S THE WHOLE THING THAT MAKES WHALES SPEND TONS OF MONEY ON LOOT BOXES YOU BIG TWIT aaaarrgh
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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by SlateSlabrock (?) » Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:33 am

If there's one thing I love about blind-bag toys, it's spending $60 just to have the privilege of spending more money on blind bags.

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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Davyinatoga (?) » Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:11 pm

SlateSlabrock wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:33 am
If there's one thing I love about blind-bag toys, it's spending $60 just to have the privilege of spending more money on blind bags.
and only be allowed to enjoy them in the restricted methods of someone's else's design.
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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Pocket (?) » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:29 pm

Blind bag toys are dumb and bad and they are a form of gambling and I wouldn't at all mind seeing them banned.

And, hot take incoming, I think that includes card packs for CCGs. Change my mind.

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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Fizzbuzz (?) » Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:41 pm

Blind bag toys and collectible cards at least don't restrict what you do with the thing afterwards. There's some value in them since you can sell them to other collectors, assuming there's a market for them (card games, yes; toys, not so much). There's also no audio or visual effects meant to enhance your anticipation and crank up the thrill of getting something rare, so gambling addicts will have a bit less to get hooked on.

Still, there's the fact that you are paying for something where you don't quite know exactly what you will get. Is it possible to ethically produce such goods without exacerbating the problem of gambling addiction? If you're buying them then ideally you're buying with full understanding of what's going on and part of the value to you is the thrill of potentially getting a powerful card or a toy of your favorite character, but maybe it just isn't possible to provide that thrill without also taking advantage of the people who can't be responsible for their purchasing of those products.
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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Octavia (?) » Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:21 pm

Also I remember with pony blind bags, you could look at the serial number and determine which one was inside without opening it.
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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Princess Flufflebutt (?) » Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:55 pm


$170 dollars to hit people with an axe instead of fists :-I
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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by diribigal (?) » Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:28 am

Princess Flufflebutt wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:55 pm
$170 dollars to hit people with an axe instead of fists :-I
Well I think it's 170 to get the extra special axe by getting all of the special main lootbox prizes from that sequence. I assume there are nonspecial axes in the game.
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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Princess Flufflebutt (?) » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:59 am

As far as I can tell, no.

There's a special knife for one character though
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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Pocket (?) » Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:46 pm



Worth noting that in the US, a movie would get a PG rating just for depicting a slot machine in use. And here it is right in the trailer of a PEGI-3 game.

EDIT: I have also been informed that Pokémon games have been slapped with PEGI-12 ratings for depictions of gambling, so this really is amazing.

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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Fizzbuzz (?) » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:27 pm

Pocket wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:46 pm
EDIT: I have also been informed that Pokémon games have been slapped with PEGI-12 ratings for depictions of gambling, so this really is amazing.
And that was over a decade ago, for a slot machine minigame stashed off in a single building in a single city in each game's world up until then, with the slot machines themselves always having been completely skippable. Tightened regulations on depictions of gambling in Korea and Europe made Nintendo and The Pokemon Company decide to remove them partway through the fourth generation of the games rather than risk a rating any higher than completely kid-friendly. Honestly, I'm not really sure what happened to foreign rating boards in the years since, or if their standards on gambling are still tight and lootbox-using publishers do not give a shit anymore.

(On the bright side, the game that briefly replaced the slot machines in 2010 was very cool, enough that its lack of use since should be considered a mark of shame against the Pokemon series.)
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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by DaikatunaRevengeance (?) » Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:56 am

i think PEGI is run the same way as the ESRB, by video game companies, so it's probably really easy to influence them.
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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Venusy (?) » Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:00 pm

IIRC, PEGI's criteria on what constitutes gambling is fairly rigid. The Virtual Console releases of Pokémon RBY and GSC run into them because in-game currency is paid with a chance of failure or gaining more currency.
Super Mario Odyssey has some slot machine like elements, but no in-game currency is paid, so it isn't gambling by PEGI's definition.
A Hat in Time has a slot machine that you have to put tokens into, but there's a prize every time - and the prize can never be more money.

Looking at the trailer, the only way I can see this getting round it is either if there's no in-game currency paid, or more likely, if this mode is included with the day 1 patch and subsequently out of scope for what gets rated. Still, :starity:

(As someone with a Japanese copy of SoulSilver - Voltorb Flip is neat, but HGSS's slots were the best in the series both from a gameplay perspective and musically. Also, they removed the ability to purchase coins, which made redeeming prizes much harder.)

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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Pocket (?) » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:37 pm

Venusy wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:00 pm
Looking at the trailer, the only way I can see this getting round it is either if there's no in-game currency paid, or more likely, if this mode is included with the day 1 patch and subsequently out of scope for what gets rated.
It's probably the first one. Every other type of loot box has only ever given out items or characters. Or "players", I guess in this case.

Actually, there's a thought. LeBron James has always made a big deal about charity and kids and giving back to the community and stuff; maybe there should be a campaign to bring this to his attention and get him to make a stink about it, since his name and likeness is in it and all.

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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Venusy (?) » Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:59 pm

PEGI has officially responded - and yes, it would appear that it's relying on the nothing wagered part.

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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Fizzbuzz (?) » Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:08 pm

At least they're (hopefully) reconsidering it. The presentation here really forces the issue on whether lootboxes are gambling or not, so if PEGI does pull the trigger and give the game a higher rating, I expect that to have repercussions for other such games even if they don't present the lootboxes the same way NBA 2K20 did.
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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Davyinatoga (?) » Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:18 pm

"We use a help text to clarify this in more detail: This refers to types of betting or gambling for money that is normally played/carried out in casinos, gambling halls, racetracks. This does not cover games where betting or gambling is simply part of the general storyline. The game must actually teach the player how to gamble or bet and/or encourage the player to want to gamble or bet for money in real life.
This is literally "For/From Moondancer" all over again.

Just because real money isn't the prize for this mode of gambling, it shouldn't dissuade the group from labeling at such since it costs real money. Apparently according to PEGI, "gambling" is only "gambling" when it can feed back into itself perpetually, which is far from the source problem with lootbox mechanics (though it is a legitimate point that exacerbates the deliberation). This skews the perception of gambling into sketchy territory, where something like Dragon Quest 11's casino is considered more dangerous to society compared to NBA 2k20 despite the facts that it A) doesn't cost real money to participate, B) actually lowballs the displayed odds to increase the chance of winning, C) offers significantly less in-game payout value, and D) is part of a single player game that lacks a competitive necessity to drive players towards flooding the slots.

I do notice that this seems to be the only line in this statement that's ambiguous in this manner; every other one more clearly states that the prize has to be proper money to be officially recognized as "gambling." Ironically, I consider this particular statement to be the only correct statement on the matter, if read with a slightly different implication. "Gambling" is not for (re: earning) money, it's for (re: costing) money.
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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Pocket (?) » Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:30 pm

New development: UK's House of Lords is trying to get lootboxes reclassified as gambling and regulated under the current regulations. This isn't a proposed law, so on one hand, there's no need for that complicated legislative process, but on the other hand the relevant ministry can just tell them to shove it. And probably will, given who's in charge these days.

Now, it might be irresponsible of me to just repeat something I saw in a Youtube comment, but one viewer of Jim Sterling's video about this brought up a very interesting point. According to him, if a video game gets classified as a game of chance, it will be illegal to sell to the public, full stop, and be legal only to use inside public establishments where slot machines and the like are allowed.

So yeah. Gonna want to keep an eye on this one.

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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by DaikatunaRevengeance (?) » Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:04 pm

Hah, i'd love to see that. They'd all scramble to remove it faster than you can say gambling.
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Re: Lootboxes are bad and silly

Post by Pocket (?) » Fri Jun 04, 2021 10:21 pm



In case you were wondering, yes, having imaginary gambling still merits an automatic Teen rating while sports games that let you gamble for real using real money can still be rated E.

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