ESRB: Loot Boxes Are Not Gambling

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Megalith, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    Randomness is an inherent aspect of any videogame loot box: maybe there's something good inside, or maybe you get stuck with something you've already got 16 copies of -- but you do get something. This is why the Entertainment Software Rating Board, which categorizes games released in North America from "Early Childhood" to "Adults Only,” does not consider them to be a form of gambling.

    It's an important distinction, because as the ESRB ratings guide page explains, one of the criteria for the AO (Adults Only) rating is "gambling with real currency." Categorizing loot boxes as gambling would open up every game that offers them, including very mainstream stuff like Overwatch, Hearthstone, Destiny 2, and Assassin's Creed, to the dreaded 18-only AO sticker. That doesn't mean much in digital environments like Steam, where ESRB ratings are effectively irrelevant, but in the world of regular retail, it's the kiss of death.
     
  2. Derangel

    Derangel [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Oh please. The ESRB is directly funded by publishers. Or course they're going to defend lootboxes. The ESRB is not at all interested in taking the side of consumers in the industry. Can't remember where I head it, but I saw someone make a really good point towards lootboxes being gambling:

    Lootboxes are like slot machines. When cards are put in a pack they will always have what they have in that pack. The odds will remain the same across all packs and boxes. That is not the case with lootboxes. As with slot machines, studios can tweak the odds on lootboxes anytime they want. If they want to push people towards buying more of them, then they only need tweak the odds so purchasers get more random junk loot instead of the things they want. Or they'll do the opposite and give the purchasers more minor "wins" tricking them into thinking that the odds are better than they really are and encouraging more purchases.
     
  3. JosiahBradley

    JosiahBradley [H]ard|Gawd

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    You don't have to buy them, so who cares? It's juse a way to monetize games for those who like cosmetics. As long as it isn't required to win It's all good and fun even when you "unlock" in a non linear fashion.
     
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  4. SilverSliver

    SilverSliver [H]ardForum Junkie

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    It's absolutely gambling and it's a cancer on video games.
     
  5. Derangel

    Derangel [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Illusion of choice. The boxes are specifically designed to trigger the same emotional response as gambling and winning at a slot machine. Also, go look at EA Battlefront 2. That game is pay2win at this point.
     
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  6. RogueTadhg

    RogueTadhg Gawd

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    Loot boxes make a lot of money for publishers. Making every game that offers loot boxes as AO wouldn't be a very good thing for the image of the brand for one.

    Imagine if Starwars Battlefront 2 had Loot Boxes which made the game AO? I betcha Disney would've been a little put off by that.

    It's hard for me to even want to play games that offers loot boxes anymore. Because you never know if they've designed the game in a way that makes you want to spend your hard earned cash on real items. There's always the thought that the game was made more grindy around selling you shit. I don't have a problem with spending real money on cosmetics that offer no real benefit in game other than to look unique.

    When loot boxes dive into the realm of "You get better gear!" or "You need to buy-in to be able to have a chance everyone else." is when I cry foul and stay the fuck away from the game.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
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  7. MavericK

    MavericK Zero Cool

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    I have no problem with loot boxes using in-game currency that can be obtained at a reasonable pace.

    But real-money loot boxes? The very definition of gambling. The only argument that could be made against is that you always get something, whereas in gambling you may get nothing, but that is semantic because you may still get something that has no value to you.
     
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  8. Krazy925

    Krazy925 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Let's just let kids gamble at casinos LMAO.

    ...shit I shouldn't give these people ideas.
     
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  9. Gigus Fire

    Gigus Fire [H]ard|Gawd

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    I second this. Lets be honest here. Loot boxes are gambling no matter what because of the statistic probability to get what you want.
    Gambling by itself isn't bad. Hell if i play monopoly, i'm gambling every time i roll the dice.

    What's wrong is when you attach real money to loot boxes without disclosing the chances to win an item. How is that any different than a slot machine or playing roulette? At least with in vegas you have the chance to win some money back. With these virtual items you win nothing of value and still get the same feeling of gambling because there's money involved.
     
  10. pgdeaner

    pgdeaner [H]Lite

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    Gambling for kids has been around forever. Anyone have a kid into Pokemon? How many foil packs have you bought to get that one card?
     
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  11. yourgrandma

    yourgrandma [H]ard|Gawd

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  12. Shotglass01

    Shotglass01 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Pretty soon, we'll see Vegas odds on loot boxes!
     
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  13. PhaseII

    PhaseII [H]Lite

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    Paying for an unknown prize that turns out to be shitty seems no different than the grab bags at a county fair (do they still have those?). Would you classify that as gambling?

    Besides, if paying for something with an unknown intrinsic value only to have it turn out to be shitty is considered gambling, you can include half the games my son has purchased. Hell, nowadays picking out a "winning" movie is a gamble.
     
  14. Derangel

    Derangel [H]ardForum Junkie

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    As a kid? None. As an adult? Uhh.....Well I used to buy boxes of Yu-Gi-Oh cards several years ago.
     
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  15. vegeta535

    vegeta535 Gawd

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    Once real world money is involved then it is a form of gambling. It is a rig system too that is nothing but pure profit to these companies. Is you win you still get nothing of real world value and the publisher doesn't lose anything. Just crazy how people spend so much money on this shit. I watched a streamer buy and open 100 loot boxes in over watch and got nothing she wanted out of them.
     
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  16. twonunpackmule

    twonunpackmule Gawd

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    It's gambling and they're wrong. However, I'm not surprised. The money train doesn't want to stop.
     
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  17. MavericK

    MavericK Zero Cool

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    Slightly different in that you can buy/sell whatever cards you want on a secondary market. Not so with loot boxes.

    Sort of the same principle as blind-box toys...it does sort of toe the line of gambling though, I agree.
     
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  18. Troz

    Troz Limp Gawd

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    That is why it isn't gambling to the ESRB. Gambling implies the chance at loosing. The ESRB's point is that you *will* get something no matter what. Something you want? Dunno, that is random. but you will get something, you can't buy a loot box and open it and have it be empty. That is the ESRB's position.
     
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  19. ChoGGi

    ChoGGi Gawd

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    Yes ESRB it isn't gambling, but it certainly is stimulating all the chemical responses you get from actual gambling.

    I guess we can just call it "priming under-aged children for a life of gambling addiction" (that'll look just spiffy on the box art).

    Fucking slimy pricks...
     
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  20. Bounty

    Bounty Limp Gawd

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    So it's like when I buy a lotto ticket that's not a winner. I get to keep the paper.
     
  21. SparkedFire

    SparkedFire [H]ard|Gawd

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    Except it appears they are moving to requiring loot boxes to finish the game.
     
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  22. MavericK

    MavericK Zero Cool

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    Yeah...I can understand that to some extent, but the definition of gambling doesn't imply that it has to be a something or nothing scenario. It's basically just, "taking a risk at obtaining a desired result."
     
  23. Semantics

    Semantics 2[H]4U

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    Ofc it's not gambling, with gambling you can actually win with loot boxes you always lose
     
  24. ir0nw0lf

    ir0nw0lf [H]ardness Supreme

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    Dictionary definition of gambling:

     
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  25. twonunpackmule

    twonunpackmule Gawd

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    If you buy several you get a chance at useless dupes!
     
  26. M76

    M76 [H]ardness Supreme

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    No, it's absolutely cancer, it takes away content that is supposed to be part of the game, that you can't get even by paying just trough gambling. Loot box or direct purchase I don't care this shit gotta go
     
  27. Gasaraki_

    Gasaraki_ Limp Gawd

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    But I can use real currency to buy it and what I get is random... That's gambling..
     
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  28. SilverSliver

    SilverSliver [H]ardForum Junkie

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    That's different. You could say the same about baseball cards, or any trading cards. You also have the option to buy that ONE card by itself from a third party market and you could trade the cards you didn't need for other cards, or sell them outright.

    Loot boxes...you don't get to buy the ONE item you need, you don't get to trade what you have, excess, in some marketplace and you can only sell them back to the game for a fraction of the value you spent. Also, a bit different in that you already spent FULL PRICE for the game itself to have content walled/slowed because of the forced reliance on loot boxes.
     
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  29. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

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    What about the CS:GO keys and loot boxes? You can trade the items with others and even sell them on the Steam Market.
     
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  30. Krenum

    Krenum [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Shoot, forget loot boxes, its a gamble just to buy a decent game now days.
     
  31. twonunpackmule

    twonunpackmule Gawd

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    Also, trading cards also leave you with a physical product with actual value. It might not be a mint, but it is a physical thing that one can "trade."

    There is no trading with "loot boxes." At least, Valve lets one trade and cash in their inventory.
     
  32. HeadRusch

    HeadRusch Gawd

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  33. shspvr

    shspvr Gawd

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    Unfortunately it doesn't not meet the legal definition of true gambling your forget one very important different here with lootbox vs gambling "Note: I'm not sure about all game out there", But with gambling when you lose you get nothing in return, with lootbox you always get something and you can re-sell your items that you won for real money in return, In some game you may even be allow you trade up or common know recycle the x number of lootboxs and craft them in to new free skin items or something else, and should also point nobody is twisting your arm to buy them.
     
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  34. shspvr

    shspvr Gawd

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    What you fail to understand is that Gambling is the wagering of money or something of value (referred to as "the stakes") on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning money or material goods so it high risk which is not case with lootbox or crate because that user always win an item no matter what unlike with Gambling.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  35. MavericK

    MavericK Zero Cool

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    Yeah, I mean no one seems to have a real problem with those. I think the whole concept is stupid but at least you can potentially get what you want by trading, like you said.
     
  36. shspvr

    shspvr Gawd

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    Where you been don't you recall CS:GO Lotto and min other which got shut down
     
  37. MavericK

    MavericK Zero Cool

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    I meant the concept of CS:GO loot crates and keys...the gambling site stuff is a different animal.
     
  38. shspvr

    shspvr Gawd

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    I see but min used that type of system and I don't call it gambling by any form.
    After all loot crates and keys in some game can be trade up or common know recycle with x number of lootboxs and craft them in to new free skin items or something else with out every spent a dime.
     
  39. Gigus Fire

    Gigus Fire [H]ard|Gawd

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    it's really the same thing. The only thing that gambling sites based on CS:GO that makes it worse is that they're fixed.
     
  40. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics I don't get it

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    This is the digital version of making candy bars smaller, ice cream containers from 2quarts to 1.5 quarts, and many many many other things out there. The cost of items has risen marginally with inflation so in order for a company to keep making said product available to you at the price you recognize they make the amount you get less, because most people tend to ignore that aspect. Same with games, you want a game for the same cost that games were 20 years ago? You better hope they find way to squeeze a little more money out of the system.

    That said, they're totally gambling. Gacha games are a huge gambling avenue, so much so to the point that Japan made laws to regulate them. Yeah they still exist but they're supposed to state actual odds (sounds a lot like gambling) on how to get said prizes (whether real or electronic)