Australian Research Finds That Opening Loot Boxes Is Equivalent to Gambling

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by cageymaru, Sep 17, 2018.

  1. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard as it Gets

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    The Australian Environment and Communications Reference Committee (ECRC) has released the results of a survey conducted on 7,000 gamers to see if there is a connection between gambling and loot boxes. The researchers found that loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling, although they are not sure if loot boxes act as a gateway to other forms of gambling. One of the recommendations is restricting games with loot boxes to players of legal gambling age. The public hearing files can be downloaded here. Previous articles about loot boxes investigations can be found here.

    Problem gambling is characterised by excessive, harmful, and often uncontrollable spending on gambling activities. The key similarities between loot boxes and gambling may lead to gamers who are already problem gamblers spending large amounts of money on loot boxes, just as they would spend similarly large amounts on other kinds of gambling. In this case, loot boxes would not be providing a breeding ground for the development of problem gambling so much as they would be allowing games companies to exploit addictive disorders amongst their customers for profit.
     
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  2. MaZa

    MaZa 2[H]4U

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    Another nail into EA's and Andrew Wilson's coffin.
     
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  3. SixFootDuo

    SixFootDuo [H]ardness Supreme

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    niiiiiiiiiiiiiice.

    Let's get rid of this BS for once and all.
     
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  4. Zepher

    Zepher [H]ipster Replacement

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    It's only gambling when money is involved.
     
  5. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard as it Gets

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    Yes, that is true. Some of the loot boxes like the CS:GO boxes allow you to sell the item that you won to someone else for real money. Then you can buy more video games with the proceeds from the sale. Recently more and more E-Sports organizations are picking up cryptocurrency sponsors that are allowing kids to buy, sell and trade block-chain; aka "bitcoin" for real money winnings. You use the block-chain to place bets on matches ranging from predicting who is going to win to predicting an individual player's performance.

    I see that as the equivalency of betting at the race track. Yes, I know that all block-chain isn't necessarily "bitcoin" as I was just using that as a placeholder for whatever name the E-Sports organizations are calling their product this week.
     
  6. MaZa

    MaZa 2[H]4U

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    And money is involved, you pay EA real money for a gambling machine that actually does not give you anything tangible but gets you hooked just the same. Its actually brilliant, unlike real casinos you do not have to deal with the occasional Jackpot someone wins, its all 100% win for the house.
     
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  7. ir0nw0lf

    ir0nw0lf [H]ardness Supreme

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    Jim Sterling should be pouncing on this shortly. He's been pretty good about keeping up with this lately from the various countries.
     
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  8. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Gambling wasn't always controlled. There wasn't always a Gambling Commission or Gaming Board. In the day, gambling was seen as something that needed control mostly because of organized crime, not because it was bad for a person. Oh that's the story they want to tell people, it's for us. It's not. It's all about seizing control of gambling from organized crime and taking a fair cut for the States that allow it.

    The other organized crime syndicate.

    So when you say it's only gambling if money is involved you are completely correct from one point of view. But from the other point of view, the social scientists and mental health types. The same mental hooks are being jumped through and the same psychological buttons are being pushed and families are still suffering from what they view as an addiction.

    We have a few people in this country that have very different views on what the government is and isn't supposed to be doing. The people that think that the government is supposed to look out for all of us and our mental welfare think that gambling is a problem. The people who think the government has pushed the 10th farther than it should have, they think we are all big boys and girls and if we can't look out for ourselves it's not anyone else's problem but our own.

    Your comment doesn't mean the same thing to all of these groups.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
  9. DrLobotomy

    DrLobotomy [H]ardness Supreme

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    This is obviously biased. It is a known fact that being in Australia is in itself a gamble, which in turn, changes the perspective of the researchers.

    Let people spend their money the way they see fit. Everything in life is a gamble.
     
  10. SixFootDuo

    SixFootDuo [H]ardness Supreme

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    And, money is involved.
     
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  11. Zepher

    Zepher [H]ipster Replacement

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    only if you buy the loot boxes. Overwatch is a game with loot boxes but you get them free when you level up, or you can buy them.
    I've gotten over 1500 loot boxes in the game and haven't paid for any. the only only money used was to buy the game itself.
     
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  12. MaZa

    MaZa 2[H]4U

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    Good for you. Though to be honest, Overwatch is not exactly the biggest offender here since they deal in cosmetics only. Its EA and 2K games that are going way overboard with questionable tactics, and of course CS:GO because apparently there is a real 3rd party gambling circle going around in that game.
     
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  13. Zepher

    Zepher [H]ipster Replacement

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    my point is, it's only gambling when money is used to buy the loot boxes.
     
  14. SixFootDuo

    SixFootDuo [H]ardness Supreme

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    What I hope happens is companies are forced to re-name, clearly tell people what is what.

    While you may get loot boxes for free, and I have too ... loot boxes are still very heavily regarded / connected to something you buy. The gamble aspect comes from the money for a random item ( gambling )

    If it's a free box of stuff ... then find a different name.

    Loot boxes carry a lot of stigma now.

    Hoping companies just go to a visual upgrade sort of model if they want to earn additional income.
     
  15. SixFootDuo

    SixFootDuo [H]ardness Supreme

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    I've never played Overwatch. Can't stand the run and gun button mashing type of games.

    Can you buy loot boxes in Overwatch? If you can, it needs to get gone.
     
  16. Zepher

    Zepher [H]ipster Replacement

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    Yes, you have the option to purchase Loot Boxes. Everything is only cosmetic, no weapon or skill upgrades in the boxes, just skins, sprays, emotes, etc..

    this is a compilation of mine from last year playing Pharah, a hero that flies around and fires rockets,
     
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  17. MaZa

    MaZa 2[H]4U

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    In that case I misunderstood you, sorry.
     
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  18. Spidey329

    Spidey329 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Not necessarily. Since Nevada is a huge gambling state, I like to reference their definition of it.

    Loot boxes would fall under "game played with electronic device for any representation of value."

    The representation of value does not mean money. If I bet a pink slip against a pink slip (cars), it's still gambling as it has a value. Iirc, this all ties back to sweepstakes court cases and why they always have a free option.

    The argument is whether what you obtain/stake (digital goods) has value. The thing is, the game developers usually assign value to it by having an in-game currency that can be purchased with real world currency.

    Subtract the real-world currency and it may no longer meet the definition. That of course would defeat the purpose of it and they'd just remove loot boxes altogether.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
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  19. raz-0

    raz-0 [H]ardness Supreme

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    To expand on your theme, by having unregulated gambling, and it gets organized, you basically create the tools for those organizaing it to create money supply out of thin air. Governments historically frown on competing unofficial currencies. They also frown on end runs around their banking regulations that aren't novel and don't make the politicians rich.
     
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  20. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    You sound like a fellow graduate of the Al Swearengen School of Shady Business


    p-deadwood-ian-mcshane.jpg


    It was "vipers" wasn't it? In reference to the politicians in Yankton or Washington somewhere.
     
  21. Zepher

    Zepher [H]ipster Replacement

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    The Loot Boxes in Overwatch have no value, they are given to you free when you happen to level up, or when you play in the arcade modes and get 1 loot box for every 3 wins (limited to 3 loot boxes per week).
    The only time they have "value" is when you buy them. And your loot boxes and the loot in them is yours only, can't transfer or give them to anyone.
    So, to me, Overwatch Loot Boxes are only considered gambling if you buy them.
     
  22. Dwayne

    Dwayne n00b

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    I am all for letting people spend their own money on what they want. They want to buy a box of virtual nothing with real money, more power to you. You want to grind in a game to get boxes, more power to you. All this "gambling" nonsense is just cover for the nannies in power to exert control over something, for the peoples' own good, of course.

    Pay to win, people love it because they have money and don't want to grind. Big deal.
     
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  23. SmokeRngs

    SmokeRngs [H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2008

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    I only care about lootboxes because they tend to ruin otherwise decent games. I don't really care if someone spends $2000 on gambleboxes in a $20 game. I do care when the game is designed around the gambleboxes mostly in the form of "rewarding" people with anything which can affect gameplay.

    I don't care how much people spend on a game because I'm not them and they can go to hell for all I care; I do care about the game is affected to promote spending on gambleboxes.
     
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  24. Dion

    Dion 2[H]4U

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    That's the thing.. There is a market of people who want pay2win games.. It's been going on for ages.. Games like Magic the gathering are still a thing and its pure pay2win.

    While most of us don't care for the loot box or want them. ( myself included ) There is a market that DOES want them.
     
  25. primetime

    primetime [H]ardness Supreme

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    I myself tend to shy away from purchasing or spending any money with games with pay to win options or loot boxes
     
  26. Dwayne

    Dwayne n00b

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    I don't play any pay to win games, or games with loot boxes for that matter. But I also don't care if someone wants to throw real money at virtual stuff. Let them throw it! I hate that every government feels it is necessary to protect people from themselves.
     
  27. A Little Teapot

    A Little Teapot Limp Gawd

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    Good to see more research supporting this finding. These games are nothing more than an evolved version of a slot machine - one that utilizes peer pressure, and layers of obfuscation between the act of gambling and spending actual money. They can dress it up all they want but a variable ratio schedule is what it is, no matter how many layers of bright colours and noises it's hidden behind.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
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  28. Icon_Charlie

    Icon_Charlie [H]Lite

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    It always has been a slot machine mentality. One of these days I'm going to be telling the COLD... HARD... TRUTH about the video gaming industry.

    It is not for the faint of heart.
     
  29. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    Thank God for Jim
     
  30. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    Don't worry, Trump won't let them regulate their right to rip people off.

    2018-03-05-Donald-Trump-Loot-Boxes-720x340.jpg
     
  31. Lith1um

    Lith1um 2[H]4U

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    That opening loot boxes is equivalent to gambling would not even be questioned if not for the influence of MONEY.
     
  32. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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  33. Chupachup

    Chupachup Limp Gawd

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    So, are Christmas presents akin to gambling? Most of have paid the price, being good, doing well in school, helping out around home, etc, all in the hope that Santa will reward us. December 25th arrives and it's a box of socks and underwear, a bike you can't ride until summer and the slingshot you were dreaming of.

    How is that any different than paying a few dollars for a box of random crap, generally made up of one out fit for a single character character, two spray-ons and a a character statement?

    Of course it like gambling in that the rewards release endorphins the same as the effects of pulling the lever on a slot machine (gateway to blackjack and strip poker). Video games in general do the same.

    Are these the same "Australian researchers" who have written papers telling us dogs do not like to be hugged and many of the common actions of man's best friend aren't what we think they are (yet dog owners know otherwise)?

    This research would be best put to use up the back of the researchers thick skulls!
     
  34. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardness Supreme

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    leymwyW.png

    You don't see a whole lot of people who have completely ruined their lives because they felt an uncontrollable compulsion to buy every video game on Steam. Video games certainly can provide an unhealthy form of escapism, but pathological gambling is clearly something else. It's an infinite money pit exacerbated by various known cognitive biases as well as pleasurable impulsive and risk-seeking behavior. Video games didn't press those buttons until this loot box and micro-transaction crap came along.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
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  35. SnowBeast

    SnowBeast [H]ard|Gawd

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    Bullshit. "Rolling the dice" whether it's in fucking loot box or "crate" is still "rolling the dice" which is gambling on whats in the box. (Forms of RtD go back since man was a caveman, roll the bones anybody?) When you have more than 2 options and no choice on said options or what the out come is, it's gambling. And regardless of how people perceive it, when you trade a "level up" for a "loot box" there is your very definition of gambling. If the loot box just said "weapon X-15" inside than it's trading level for said item not gambling on a "game of chance, whats in the box".

    Ever heard the term "Gambling with your life"? Not monetary is it? Games like Dice's new Star Wars Battlefront absolutely were ruined by this bullshit. All Dice had to do was put a nice, new coat of paint on the original BF series and let people shoot and throw grenades at each other without all the customization, loot crates, buying super star crystals or whatever the fuck those were. We just wanted an unlocked, all characters playable from the start Star Wars game. Couldn't do it, had to get greedy. And Dice is just as bad as their EA overlords, they could have had an independent distributor.
     
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  36. Chupachup

    Chupachup Limp Gawd

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    And while I am fully on board that gambling addiction is real, is a problem and the game industry moving to micro-transactions versus simply giving us a complete experience for a decent price is bullshit. You didn't disprove my thoughts on the issue. There is no need for government intervention except as a parochial exercise in futility.

    And so are relationships, marriage, buying a home and having children. You cannot equate loot boxes to the same wide level of deep dysfunction that IS true gambling addiction, i.e., online or brick-n-mortar casino style/sports betting. Especially, when it's clearly stated what type of irrelevant stuff will generally come in any loot box.

    If you do, then you run the risk of declaring the quarter operated vending machines at various truck stops and restaurants, dispensing random temporary tats, mini hairy troll dolls, etc., a gaming device- as you pay money and run a high risk of not receiving THE ONE you really wanted- "Try again by asking your Dad for six more quarters":confused:

    And if you say, "It's to protect the kids"? I ask you, "Where are the parents when their children are online? Why are they allowing their children unfettered access to ANY form of payment? Why aren't they monitoring their children's online activities- social, apps and games?" The environment is no different than taking them to the state carnival in how much, as a parent, you should be watching and protecting them.

    My son can only buy something for his Playstation "habit" one of two ways. Either he uses game cards he receives for his birthday/Christmas or he must come ask me to access my account, that has my credit card on it, to make a purchase. He's known from an early age, if he uses up his cards on stupid crap- it's gone! And if he comes to me, it means he'd better have raided his allowance stash and have an explanation as to why I should use my card. People say the game is "cool" but the rating has me saying, "No!"

    It teaches him to be an educated consumer and be able to explain his position for what he wants while allowing me to know what he's involving himself in. Setting and monitoring his game times and peeking at what's been installed on his devices is also a a vital part of being an active parent in the modern age.

    If no one in the family, but the child, is capable of navigating a console or computer and willing to actively monitor the child's activities, then maybe the child isn't ready to be allowed online much less given the ability to also make purchases.

    The adults in the room seem to not want to accept responsibility!
     
  37. MaZa

    MaZa 2[H]4U

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    Personally, I would not care that much either what people do with their money. But where I draw the line is when developers design the game around those lootboxes and make the grind so tedious that its no longer fun just to drive more people into their lootboxes scam. Good example of this would be original version of Battlefront 2, where someone calculated that if you wanted to unlock everything you had to grind the game few thousands of hours. Not even as a kid did I have that much time to spend into a single game, much less as a working adult. Yeah technically it was still possible to get everything via gameplay but in real world anyone with half a brain can see that its impossible to do and why it is designed so. Lootboxes ruin games, that is the prime reason why they need to go, the gambling aspect is second to me.
     
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  38. MaZa

    MaZa 2[H]4U

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  39. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yeah, like responsibility for putting gambling mechanics into video games rated for teenagers.
     
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  40. Darkstone

    Darkstone n00b

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