FTC Will Investigate Loot Boxes

joobjoob

Gawd
Joined
Jun 29, 2004
Messages
546
Warframe, a freemium game has NONE loot boxes. Yet games I have already spent 60-100$ on to "buy" do.

That's my loot box rage. Shadow of war and battlefront 2 have been my most infuriating cases. It has changed my default attitude toward "new" games from interested to not interested.

I'm an old but decent sized whale. Doubt i'm the only one.
 

filip

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 15, 2012
Messages
2,592
Well if it is gambling then the problem is that minors can gamble. If it is not considered gambling it is some bullshit, is a skewed RNG algorithm with no real odds just like in slot machines.
 

tetris42

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 29, 2014
Messages
4,518
Baseball cards have been around for 100 years.

Where were they when I was spending my allowance on Magic the Gathering cards?

This could crush CCGs and kill revenue that supports AAA development costs. Will be interesting to see where you goes.
Exactly, baseball cards have BEEN AROUND for 100 years, meaning, they're something you OWN. Same for MTG cards. They not only can have value, but moreover, you're not renting them from a company which can take them away at a moment's notice. This is my issue with lootboxes, they're encouraging people to spend money on something where it's assured you'll lose everything after enough time passes. If somebody bought cards years ago, they still have the cards and can use them. There's no such guarantee for lootboxes, they'll last only as long as the parent company wants to run the servers.

If you are arguing that loot boxes of digital goods have no value, that would actually be an argument against it being gambling, as it has to be something of value.
It's not quite as black and white as that. They have value within the game, then, once the company decides to shut off the server, all your value is removed. You may have a point that it's an argument against gambling, since at least in gambling you get to KEEP your winnings. I think it's more an argument for fraud. You're given no guarantee how long your purchase lasts and you don't get to keep it. They're basing their monetization / advertising model off an established CCG model of OWNERSHIP, without the actual ownership.
 

JosiahBradley

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 19, 2006
Messages
1,791
I enjoy loot boxes in Overwatch as an achievement of leveling and find the cosmetics to be fun. I don't buy them, but if I did I'm an adult and am allowed to do plenty of harmless things with my money. The problem here are once again parents giving their kids access to credit cards or buying shit for them without knowing what it is they are buying. As for gambling there is no monetary gain from a lootbox so it doesn't meet the classic casino, street cup ball definition. From https://definitions.uslegal.com/g/gambling/ : "A person engages in gambling if he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome" Because the items in the loot box have no value themselves, they aren't gambling but the same as buying a mystery shirt from a vendor. You pay in an exact predetermined value and in exchange get a item of indeterminate decoration with the same intrinsic makeup as any other shirt etc. while the cloth itself has value you did not gain any additional real value in material from the chance of getting a different shirt, only a perceived non monetary value of the decoration.

But alas this is the internet and people go crazy over optional game components. Just don't buy them if you don't like them. And please don't buy them for your children. [Rated M for 'loot boxes']
 
D

Deleted member 184142

Guest
Exactly, baseball cards have BEEN AROUND for 100 years, meaning, they're something you OWN. Same for MTG cards. They not only can have value, but moreover, you're not renting them from a company which can take them away at a moment's notice. This is my issue with lootboxes, they're encouraging people to spend money on something where it's assured you'll lose everything after enough time passes. If somebody bought cards years ago, they still have the cards and can use them. There's no such guarantee for lootboxes, they'll last only as long as the parent company wants to run the servers.

It's not quite as black and white as that. They have value within the game, then, once the company decides to shut off the server, all your value is removed. You may have a point that it's an argument against gambling, since at least in gambling you get to KEEP your winnings. I think it's more an argument for fraud. You're given no guarantee how long your purchase lasts and you don't get to keep it. They're basing their monetization / advertising model off an established CCG model of OWNERSHIP, without the actual ownership.

I can agree with that to a point. However lots of things can or will lose value, it doesn't change the value at the time of the "bet" however, which is really all that matters. You could make the argument that fiat money at some point loses value as well, but that point in time is unknown, just like the game. Defining value would be very hard, as it can be very subjective, and the oddest things can have huge value to just a single person and no one else.
 

TAP

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 29, 2016
Messages
236
So the one issue of pay to win, people should just choose not to play or pay for it.....But RNG loot boxes need government regulation? Why don't people just choose not to buy them as well?

You also understand gambling is not illegal right? It's just that the government, if they can try and define it as gambling, means they get a cut of the income. And if people want to gamble, who are you to say other wise?

Gambling is not legal for children or adolescents.
 
D

Deleted member 184142

Guest
Gambling is not legal for children or adolescents.

Has not been ruled to be gambling yet. Games are not exclusively played by children or adolescents.

The people I am replying to are wanting an out right ban on loot boxes, many using the excuse that it is pay to win. Of which banning loot boxes would not stop, it would just move on to one of the many other forms.
 

Nobu

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
8,959
It's not actually. Not until it is ruled as such. We are talking about legal action and regulation, not what you "feel". So until such time as the government declares it to be gambling, for all legal reasons (the topic of this thread), it is not.
Iow, I'm arguing about the topic of the thread, but I'm getting ahead of myself somehow?
 

NWRMidnight

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 23, 2010
Messages
352
I enjoy loot boxes in Overwatch as an achievement of leveling and find the cosmetics to be fun. I don't buy them, but if I did I'm an adult and am allowed to do plenty of harmless things with my money. The problem here are once again parents giving their kids access to credit cards or buying shit for them without knowing what it is they are buying. As for gambling there is no monetary gain from a lootbox so it doesn't meet the classic casino, street cup ball definition. From https://definitions.uslegal.com/g/gambling/ : "A person engages in gambling if he stakes or risks something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under his control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that he or someone else will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome" Because the items in the loot box have no value themselves, they aren't gambling but the same as buying a mystery shirt from a vendor. You pay in an exact predetermined value and in exchange get a item of indeterminate decoration with the same intrinsic makeup as any other shirt etc. while the cloth itself has value you did not gain any additional real value in material from the chance of getting a different shirt, only a perceived non monetary value of the decoration.

But alas this is the internet and people go crazy over optional game components. Just don't buy them if you don't like them. And please don't buy them for your children. [Rated M for 'loot boxes']


Overwatch is a good example of loot boxes done right. When you are rewarded with a loot box, you do not have to purchase anything to open them and receive the reward. Most of them like CS:GO require you to purchase a key to open the boxes. Spending real cash for a chance at getting something worth value. We are talking about cosmetic items with some having real currency value of over $1000+ on third party markets. Overwatch's way is not gambling, as it is a reward that the user has to put no money forward to receive such reward. The other's are gambling, as you are spending real money to gamble if you will get anything of value.

Loot boxes will not go anywhere, even if they are deemed gambling or illegal, which the only ones that can be deemed gambling are those that require you to purchase a key to open. Devs will just turn loot boxes into rewards the way Overwatch has their's set up with no key being required to purchase to open. Now, most of these places, (cough, cough, valve) have markets where items can be sold, and money will still be made from loot boxes, but thru e-commerce: IE: buying and selling of such cosmetic items. If this happens, and there will be no cost to open loot boxes, the dev's will increase the rareity of specific items, making them even harder to get, which in turn increases their value, and they will make up the money thru those that sell such items, as spending real money on something YOU KNOW what it is, such as a AWP skin, is not gambling, as you know before hand what you are purchasing. It is not a gamble of "IF" you will get something of value like when you have to purchase a key to open a box.


Lets put it in different terms: You pay $2 for a Powerball ticket, with a chance of getting nothing of value, or something with value (hard cold cash).

Loot boxes (most of them): You pay $2+ for a key, with the chance of getting nothing of value (nothing of value is an item worth less than the price of the key), or something with value (a cosmetic skin that is worth hard cold cash above the price of the key).

Please explain the difference?
 
Last edited:

Aireoth

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 12, 2005
Messages
6,016
Some stuanch aholes in this thread defending what primarily amounts to introducing and even addicting children to gambling.

If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, I don't need the damn FCC or any other body to tell me it's a damm duck.
 

Darunion

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 6, 2010
Messages
4,633
Some stuanch aholes in this thread defending what primarily amounts to introducing and even addicting children to gambling.

If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, I don't need the damn FCC or any other body to tell me it's a damm duck.

Doesn't look like people are defending it. It just is a waste of resources. You essentially are going to just play whack-a-mole. If loot boxes get labeled gambling because you pay real money for them. Then youll see things like in game currency is what buys them, but you can pay for in game currency. So now it skirts the regulation.

Or maybe they will just sell the dlc items directly, now at inflated prices they deem correct. You will still have the cash flowing into the game for digital items that will vanish.

Or they will just put a disclaimer screen first "please enter your birthday to verify you are at least 18 years or older". Because those work....


My drug out point is, this won't make it go away, just change it to something else possibly worse.
 

NWRMidnight

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 23, 2010
Messages
352
Doesn't look like people are defending it. It just is a waste of resources. You essentially are going to just play whack-a-mole. If loot boxes get labeled gambling because you pay real money for them. Then youll see things like in game currency is what buys them, but you can pay for in game currency. So now it skirts the regulation.

Or maybe they will just sell the dlc items directly, now at inflated prices they deem correct. You will still have the cash flowing into the game for digital items that will vanish.

Or they will just put a disclaimer screen first "please enter your birthday to verify you are at least 18 years or older". Because those work....


My drug out point is, this won't make it go away, just change it to something else possibly worse.


How can you not see the difference? In game currency that you earn by playing the game, does not cost you real money, just time of playing the game, hence it is a reward, that you get to chose how it is used. DLC's you KNOW what you are buying before hand. You don't go buy a DLC with the "Chance" to get the items listed, as you know that you are getting all items listed in the DLC. when you purchase a key that is required to open a loot box in most games, you don't know what you are getting. You are just buying a chance to get something you just don't know what it will be.. How can you not see how one is a gamble, and one is not.
 

Nytegard

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 8, 2004
Messages
3,767
Let's be honest for a moment, it's not just "Evil" EA. Practically every company is at fault here. For example, with Call of Duty, usually after a couple months, weapons are locked behind loot boxes. Oh, and as for working for them? With the latest game, you get one loot box an hour (of game play, not just having the game open). The items are limited in time when you can find them. And there are over 900+ items. While you do get 1 free item a day, to get them through playing, that's over 35 days worth of playing, which, given down time, is pretty much 100% of the time from when those items become available you need to be playing the game.
 

tetris42

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 29, 2014
Messages
4,518
I can agree with that to a point. However lots of things can or will lose value, it doesn't change the value at the time of the "bet" however, which is really all that matters. You could make the argument that fiat money at some point loses value as well, but that point in time is unknown, just like the game. Defining value would be very hard, as it can be very subjective, and the oddest things can have huge value to just a single person and no one else.
That's a much more nebulous argument for what's a very concrete situation though.

-Many things CAN lose value due to force of nature, market forces, etc. This isn't one of those situations. Here, the issuer is forcibly removing ALL value at an undisclosed point in the future. For example, say I bought cards to a CCG that never became popular and is all but worthless now. In that scenario, I still possess the cards, so they may still retain personal value to me, plus that was a market force that no one could predict with certainty. Lootboxes would be as though the CCG came to my house and took the cards back from me at an unspecified date.

-For your fiat currency example, there's some more distinctions:
1. The currency is backed by the government that issued it. If it becomes worthless, that likely means the government issuing it collapsed, thus everyone loses. The issuer has an active vested interested in ensuring the item remains valuable as long as is humanely possible. This is not how gaming works. EA does not file for bankruptcy if they decide to shut down a game. They'll even shut them down while people are still playing them. Unlike gambling, the risk is entirely one-way if you purchase a lootbox.

2. Even the near worthless currency may retain some value as a collector's item. You are literally left with nothing after a game is shut down as your purchases are completely inaccessible.

3. As in the earlier example, if a fiat currency loses value (but isn't rendered insolvent), that's simply a market force. That's a totally different situation from understanding it may lose value v. having access forcibly removed from you.


That's an enormous difference from "things can or will lose value" v. outright taking your money, then removing access to what you paid for with no guarantee as to when. It's incredibly anti-consumer, I don't know if there's any other real world analogy to it.
 

Darunion

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 6, 2010
Messages
4,633
How can you not see the difference? In game currency that you earn by playing the game, does not cost you real money, just time of playing the game, hence it is a reward, that you get to chose how it is used. DLC's you KNOW what you are buying before hand. You don't go buy a DLC with the "Chance" to get the items listed, as you know that you are getting all items listed in the DLC. when you purchase a key that is required to open a loot box in most games, you don't know what you are getting. You are just buying a chance to get something you just don't know what it will be.. How can you not see how one is a gamble, and one is not.

I didn't say such a thing you misunderstood.

The point I was making is that kids are paying money to get fun things in a game (mostly their parents money). They are addicted to this. One way to do it is in game currency (which I said could also be bought) so it would still be the same. The other way is you just buy the items directly, kids will still be addicted to buying these digital items that will vanish.

People are going after the gambling concept and my thought is that isn't going to fix anything. So instead of spending money on booster packs, they spend money on the items. The problem is the same. The addictive nature of having to have the newest thing.

I would argue that if there is no redeemable value of the items from the box, I would not consider it gambling (now I am saying that).

My problem is this actually the selling of digital goods that have a limited life span to begin with and this is an unknown variable. We already could argue digital games,movies,music have the same problem. This model of making a game and then intending to make more buy slowly selling crap and then discontinue it is getting out of hand. The usage model is changing to damn near subsciption like for these games because they want to make money daily instead of just sell the game.

I am not defending them, I just don't want to see wasted attempts at it. The more it gets ruled on the safer and more defined it will be and you will see more of it come up.

I want this to go away personally, I just feel going after them for gambling isn't going to do that. It will just make an age gate at the login screen at best.
 
D

Deleted member 184142

Guest
That's a much more nebulous argument for what's a very concrete situation though.

-Many things CAN lose value due to force of nature, market forces, etc. This isn't one of those situations. Here, the issuer is forcibly removing ALL value at an undisclosed point in the future. For example, say I bought cards to a CCG that never became popular and is all but worthless now. In that scenario, I still possess the cards, so they may still retain personal value to me, plus that was a market force that no one could predict with certainty. Lootboxes would be as though the CCG came to my house and took the cards back from me at an unspecified date.

-For your fiat currency example, there's some more distinctions:
1. The currency is backed by the government that issued it. If it becomes worthless, that likely means the government issuing it collapsed, thus everyone loses. The issuer has an active vested interested in ensuring the item remains valuable as long as is humanely possible. This is not how gaming works. EA does not file for bankruptcy if they decide to shut down a game. They'll even shut them down while people are still playing them. Unlike gambling, the risk is entirely one-way if you purchase a lootbox.

2. Even the near worthless currency may retain some value as a collector's item. You are literally left with nothing after a game is shut down as your purchases are completely inaccessible.

3. As in the earlier example, if a fiat currency loses value (but isn't rendered insolvent), that's simply a market force. That's a totally different situation from understanding it may lose value v. having access forcibly removed from you.


That's an enormous difference from "things can or will lose value" v. outright taking your money, then removing access to what you paid for with no guarantee as to when. It's incredibly anti-consumer, I don't know if there's any other real world analogy to it.

Except you are applying a possible future loss in valve at some random time interval that may or may not happen. It remains the same, and again, as the law is written, future value or possession does not matter, only current value does. The game it self could be considered the same, as it could at some point close down and lose all value, that does not mean at the time it did not have a value or use. You also do not own the game or items, you have a license to use them, it is why you can be banned from a game at any time for any reason without a refund.
 

Derangel

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 31, 2008
Messages
20,132
I equate loot boxes to baseball or MTG cards. I mean, it's not gambling in the sense that you can walk away with nothing, but it does encourage you to keep buying until you get that rare.

If you outlaw loot boxes then you need to outlaw collectible cards.

That said, I don't like them in games because game play elements are built around them and I will never buy them.

They're not going to be outlawed. The FTC does not have the power to make laws. If the FTC rules loot boxes as gambling then they will be subject to the guidelines following other legalized forms of gambling, which means they will not be allowed in kids games and it will allow the FTC (and other groups) more room to inform parents about the danger of them to kids. There will also be heavy fines imposed on companies that violate the rules and it would get various state gaming commissions involved in regulating loot boxes and the like.
 

NeghVar

2[H]4U
Joined
May 1, 2003
Messages
2,643
One could take the same principle and apply it to CCG's such as Magic The Gathering or Hearthstone. If you spend money to buy packs of cards (real or digital) and there is nothing of value in that pack. One could argue that you spent money hoping to get something new and useful, but what you got is useless to you. It could be used against any game of chance in which skill is irrelevant. Even ones which are not money in money out. A successful case under this principle could have significant collateral damage.
 

Derangel

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 31, 2008
Messages
20,132
One could take the same principle and apply it to CCG's such as Magic The Gathering or Hearthstone. If you spend money to buy packs of cards (real or digital) and there is nothing of value in that pack. One could argue that you spent money hoping to get something new and useful, but what you got is useless to you. It could be used against any game of chance in which skill is irrelevant. Even ones which are not money in money out. A successful case under this principle could have significant collateral damage.

It really wouldn't have as much impact as people seem to believe. If loot boxes are ruled as gambling it would just apply to loot boxes. The FTC would have to do an investigation of the CCG industry first before anything would happen and that would also require a lot of complaints being sent into them. Given how the CCG industry has managed to keep itself in check over the years and mostly handle self-regulation it is highly unlikely this investigation would have any effect on them.
 

Wiffle

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 2, 2011
Messages
292
Gambling requires some form of loss... you always stand the chance to lose. Loss is critical, because its the "thrill" of the possibility of losing that creates them impulse gambler.

Loot Boxes do not follow this criteria, as you always gain something. You just have a chance to gain a greater amount. This actually creates a logic loop hole, especially in children, because in your mind you never lose. Kiddies hate losing, its usually not until you are older that you learn to appreciate the thrill of "losing it all". This is why gambling tends to be something older adults have issues with. Loot boxes and similar in-game purchases should not be in games aimed at younger children.

While I do believe loot boxes are a plight, banning them outright is not the course, because then some future asshole will use that ban as a legal precedent to get something else banned. Management of who is allowed to purchase lootboxes, and similar in-game purchases is the better solution.

I would definitely treat it like gambling, or at the very least require that in-game purchases be made by verified adults.

Right now, there is zero regulation, and some games that have these services only require payment info once, after which any child is allowed to rack up the bill as much as they want. In part its the parents fault, but some of these games are not implicit about how their info is being handled.
 

Advil

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 16, 2004
Messages
2,103
If you don't get the item you want or you get a junk low tier item it's a loss. I hate regulation but if we don't let kids gamble then we have to keep kids out of games with loot boxes. Game makers will stop making loot boxes if half their market gets axed by age restriction. If the market is all adults... then loot on.
 

StoleMyOwnCar

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 30, 2013
Messages
2,380
Except you are applying a possible future loss in valve at some random time interval that may or may not happen. It remains the same, and again, as the law is written, future value or possession does not matter, only current value does. The game it self could be considered the same, as it could at some point close down and lose all value, that does not mean at the time it did not have a value or use. You also do not own the game or items, you have a license to use them, it is why you can be banned from a game at any time for any reason without a refund.

Look you people are getting into "beside the point" territory. No one ever said that baseball card booster packs or trading card games were actually "okay", when compared ethically to loot boxes. There isn't any point in arguing differences. Even if there were no differences, society simply decided that they weren't detrimental enough to bother fixing. They were physical goods that required parental consent to purchase, generally, and you got a physical product out of it. Loot boxes are a bit different. The payment methods are virtual, the flow of money is virtual, and they provide very real effects in the world the game set up. For psychological reasons this causes a catastrophe on another level. No one cares about morality here. There was no okay to begin with. This is utilitarian argument, looking at the end results of a different sort of psychological tampering.

ie:

Loot Boxes do not follow this criteria, as you always gain something. You just have a chance to gain a greater amount. This actually creates a logic loop hole, especially in children, because in your mind you never lose. Kiddies hate losing, its usually not until you are older that you learn to appreciate the thrill of "losing it all". This is why gambling tends to be something older adults have issues with. Loot boxes and similar in-game purchases should not be in games aimed at younger children.

Loot boxes in general are like a Skinner box type of thing but even more psychologically predatory. That includes all of the stupid gacha games that Japan gas going on right now. Basically when you bought baseball cards or pokemon cards or what have you back in the day, maybe you used a debit card. Maybe you used cash, whatever. You went out and you had to very intentionally realize you were gambling for cards, or that your child was doing so.

Loot boxes, like I said, you're basically throwing money out and living in a virtual environment. It feels disconnected. It hits our brain in different ways. It destroys inhibitors that would have normally stopped us. Whenever you're opening a box, there's something you probably want and something you probably don't want. It's the same for cards. Likewise when you're gambling there's a result you want and a result you don't want. Both have probabilities for either one, the difference is simply in execution. One is regulated, one is currently not. No one said that its unregulated alternatives were okay because the existed before. They were just never under any scrutiny, perhaps due to surrounding factors.
 
Joined
May 5, 2016
Messages
682
Loot boxes are like forum threads about loot boxes: open one up, a lot of duplicates, mostly uninteresting stuff with only a rare gem now and then. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: GT98
like this

Armenius

Extremely [H]
Joined
Jan 28, 2014
Messages
36,122
FCC will demand a bigger cut for uncle Sam and it will be fine.
FTC, not the FCC...
Aww Yeah, Ajit's gonna get a new mug.
Ajit Pai is head of the FCC, not FTC...
Some stuanch aholes in this thread defending what primarily amounts to introducing and even addicting children to gambling.

If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, I don't need the damn FCC or any other body to tell me it's a damm duck.
Again: FTC, not FCC. Other than that, I agree. But since the industry is refusing to self-regulate in this instance the government has to step in.
 

Aix.

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 30, 2010
Messages
1,959
Or maybe they will just sell the dlc items directly, now at inflated prices they deem correct. You will still have the cash flowing into the game for digital items that will vanish.

At that point you're just selling a product where the price is up front: if the company wants $50 for something they deem to be a "rare" item and I am willing to pay $50 then I pay them the money and get the item.

In the loot box world, the company deems an item "rare" and makes it a rare event to unbox one. Players then purchase loot box after loot box hoping to get the rare item - someone might get it from one box purchase, while someone else might buy 100 boxes and still not get it. This is not behavior that children - undisputedly a huge target market for videogames - should be introduced to as even adults have been shown to not understand concepts like Gambler's fallacy and Sunk Cost fallacy.

The options to simply not play at casinos or not play lotteries exist, obviously, but those organizations also require controls in place to ensure minors don't play; so far nothing of the sort exists for these loot boxes and often there's nothing to indicate up front that loot boxes will even be available as part of a games experience.
 

tetris42

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 29, 2014
Messages
4,518
Except you are applying a possible future loss in valve at some random time interval that may or may not happen. It remains the same, and again, as the law is written, future value or possession does not matter, only current value does. The game it self could be considered the same, as it could at some point close down and lose all value, that does not mean at the time it did not have a value or use. You also do not own the game or items, you have a license to use them, it is why you can be banned from a game at any time for any reason without a refund.
You say "possible future loss", whereas the industry has been overwhelmingly clear about games getting shut down. Something like 99% of games that have an online requirement give you no way of playing the game after they shut down the servers. You ARE going to lose any items you purchase with a lootbox, the only variable is when, which is not disclosed. You say only current value matters, not the future. Fine, how long is "current"? One day? One year? 3 months? To say only the here and now matters is dodging the point. People buy the item with the expectation they are going to be use the item. How long is that? Lawbreakers was shut down after a year and was selling lootboxes 3 months before it was shut down. Do you think the people who bought their lootboxes did so only for the "here and now" or had an expectation it would last longer?

There is NO GUARANTEE how long most games will last, there is NO STANDARD for how long they do in reality, and there is NO PENALTY to the company for shutting down a game customers paid for. No other industry would that be legal in.

Meanwhile, the customer EXPECTATION of how long they should have access to their items is indefinite. There were still people playing when Asheron's Call got shut down after 18 years. People play retro games all the time with the expectation they can play them indefinitely.

Now you say people don't own the game or the items in it. That's actually a grey area legally that hasn't been defined well (hence the reason Bethesda is currently being sued for not offering refunds on Fallout 76). However, that's besides the point, fine, let's assume the customer has no ownership for sake of argument. Well, they're using a business model that IMPLIES ownership in an industry that's traditionally HAS ownership, yet doesn't offer any. Again, in no other industry is that legal.

Look you people are getting into "beside the point" territory. No one ever said that baseball card booster packs or trading card games were actually "okay", when compared ethically to loot boxes. There isn't any point in arguing differences. Even if there were no differences, society simply decided that they weren't detrimental enough to bother fixing. They were physical goods that required parental consent to purchase, generally, and you got a physical product out of it. Loot boxes are a bit different. The payment methods are virtual, the flow of money is virtual, and they provide very real effects in the world the game set up. For psychological reasons this causes a catastrophe on another level. No one cares about morality here. There was no okay to begin with. This is utilitarian argument, looking at the end results of a different sort of psychological tampering.
I'm not arguing against with what you're saying, however what I'm saying it's not "besides the point" territory, I'm saying it's also fraud ON TOP of what you're saying. Basically everything you don't like about card boosters is also true of lootboxes AND you're left with nothing of value once the game is shut down, which you're given no guarantee on. It's as anti-consumer as it gets.
 
Last edited:

Hakaba

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 22, 2013
Messages
1,038
Yeah... I rather the not have the Government involved, if people want to spend their money, let them.

I do my best generally not purchasing any games that have loot boxes, however, I have purchased games with loot boxes but will never purchase them or a key to unlock the box.
 

StoleMyOwnCar

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 30, 2013
Messages
2,380
I'm not arguing against with what you're saying, however what I'm saying it's not "besides the point" territory, I'm saying it's also fraud ON TOP of what you're saying. Basically everything you don't like about card boosters is also true of lootboxes AND you're left with nothing of value once the game is shut down, which you're given no guarantee on. It's as anti-consumer as it gets.

And you can argue that, but on their (them being the person you started this argument with) part I'm simply saying that it's kind of a diversionary issue. It never needed such a strong definition in order to be regulated against and have rules imposed upon it. That is regardless of the outcome of your debate with them on this issue, it never needed to be that negative to begin with in order to for this regulation to be justified. Providing extra justification is fine, but IMO simply unnecessary. Not that I disagree.
 

Exavior

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Dec 13, 2005
Messages
9,700
if loot boxes are gambling then so is random drops in games like diablo.
 

Boscoh

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 25, 2003
Messages
1,159
Good grief. If you hate loot boxes so much, stop buying the games. Stop giving your kids your credit card. Stop auto funding your Playstation wallet. If they disobey, take the PC or console away from them. I can't remember who the publisher was (EA?) that plainly said 'we continue to put them in because people buy them'.

I abhor government trying to tell me that a personal choice is somehow detrimental to my well being. I don't care what it is, and to those saying they hope this is gambling because they hate loot boxes ... Plenty of people hate that kids have access to sodas, porn, pot, alcohol,and super sized fast food meals. Guess how you stop that? You don't keep it around, you don't buy it, you don't let your kid buy it, and you talk to your kid if you don't want them partaking.

Be a grown up. This isn't a government problem. It's a lack of self control and lack of parenting problem.
 

Aioeyu

Weaksauce
Joined
May 24, 2017
Messages
71
I hate loot boxes, but I love them too. They let me know what games to never play. Loot boxes are gambling plain and simple, and should be taxed as such. Taxing them doesn't solve the problem of having gambling in games, but it does make parents aware of them, and brings penalties for letting those under 18 purchase them. Having a social stigma added to lootboxes would probably be enough to curb them.

I've watched co-workers spend thousands of dollars on loot boxes, IT job means a lot of random down time where people play phone games.

Loot boxes can be a gambling addiction, one that destroys relationships and people. They sure do earn a lot of revenue that could be sin taxed, though.
 

lironmiron

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 7, 2016
Messages
269
Be a grown up.
That's good advice, but it only works if you are, indeed, a grown up.

This isn't a government problem. It's a lack of self control and lack of parenting problem.
Well, yes, but we know that bad parents are a very very large minority of parents. So, do we, as a society, step back and allow the kids of bad parents to get messed up for profit (which will negatively affect the country's future productivity ), or do we set up a law forbidding the sale of gambling, in all its forms, to the children of people irresponsible enough to let them gamble?

It's not the kids' fault that they have bad parents. It's not the kids' fault that they are kids and, so, are not capable of making responsible adult decisions. So, yes, I think we the people do have a responsibility to forbid this to minors (through our elected representatives).

Grownups, of course, can decide for themselves, but like with all addictive "things" being sold to them, they deserve to be warned that the thing is addictive.
 

Guarana [BAWLS]

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 3, 2001
Messages
1,952
If you are arguing that loot boxes of digital goods have no value, that would actually be an argument against it being gambling, as it has to be something of value.

I believe they do have value, but would depend on the game, as some have market places that allow buying the items with actual money, while other games have strict TOS that state items are not to be exchanged for physical goods or money. This could be another work around devs could use it they do end up finding loot boxes to be gambling depending on verbiage they end up using.

In a specific game, the lootboxes do have "value." That value, however, is not related to the item itself, as the item itself is ephemeral. It's related to it's usefulness/rarity in the game itself. But, since nothing can be taken outside of the game, it can't be said to be valued objectively, since it's existence is at the whim of the game operator.
 

rudy

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 4, 2004
Messages
8,704
The difference is you can buy individual cards or even trade with others, whereas in many cases the only way to get certain game content is by chance in a lootbox.

first of all that is also true of lootboxes items in various games like many valve titles. But that then creates a new problem that is you can now profit from the lootboxes. Ask anyone in gaming who doesn't have some extreme bias and most will tell you the real gambling is done in valve games like CSGO where people have the chance of turning a profit on lootboxes.

So the question is does the difference you pointed out make sports cards better or worse? To me the real danger is gambling is when you have the possibility of a big payout, this is what we saw with sports cards and the companies worked it into them, special edition cards rare cards and so on. When you have the possibility of a payout that's when people start putting lots of money into it and it really becomes a problem.

I am of the mindset that its all a form of gambling. I just don't care cause I think at some point people, humans need to just learn how to control their emotions and keep their gambling at a low enough level it doesn't destroy their lives.
 

Boscoh

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 25, 2003
Messages
1,159
So, do we, as a society, step back and allow the kids of bad parents to get messed up for profit

Yes. Plenty of kids with bad parents have grown up to be amazing people. As a society we can give a damn about our neighbors and not depend on a nanny state to do it for us.

(which will negatively affect the country's future productivity ),

Conjecture. You're making a big assumption that this 1) an epidemic, AND 2) the kids never learn from their mistakes, AND 3) this will have any impact whatsoever on the country's productivity.

or do we set up a law forbidding the sale of gambling, in all its forms, to the children of people irresponsible enough to let them gamble?

Prove it's a kid making the transaction.They have their parent's credit card, or wallet info. How are you going to prove it and thereby stop it? Do you expect them to be truthful when the system asks for their birthday?

You've just created another useless law that gets enforced on an extreme minority of legitimate cases, yet you've created an expansion of government (funded by you the tax payer) and government oversight on your civil liberties.

No difference between this and Johnny Rocket Jr taking dad's credit card to a porno site and signing up. Also illegal. Also hard to prove the kid did it.
 
Last edited:

lironmiron

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 7, 2016
Messages
269
Conjecture.
Yes it was. I apologize and thank you.



Prove it's a kid making the transaction.
We don't have to. I think we have to provide a reasonable measure of protection, but we can't go all 1984 about it and force people to let us protect them.
One thing is a company introducing gambling elements in a product for kids and the kid falling prey to them without even realizing that it's not just a game element like any other. Another thing is a kid intentionally using tricks and sneakiness to access materials that are clearly not meant for them. If it's the 2nd, we just have to let it be because the key to any government action is that it has to be rational.

What we have to do is put on the AO stamp on the game and not sell it directly to kids (I'm OK with funding that rule; it doesn't need additional personnel). If they trick the system to access it anyway, they're not victims and we don't need to try to detect or prevent that.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
13,305
Oh, will somebody just think of the children!

No, lootboxes will be the end of gaming, that's what I care about. Lootboxes and microtransactions can and already are ruining decent games.
 

Krazy925

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Sep 29, 2012
Messages
6,503
Yes it was. I apologize and thank you.




We don't have to. I think we have to provide a reasonable measure of protection, but we can't go all 1984 about it and force people to let us protect them.
One thing is a company introducing gambling elements in a product for kids and the kid falling prey to them without even realizing that it's not just a game element like any other. Another thing is a kid intentionally using tricks and sneakiness to access materials that are clearly not meant for them. If it's the 2nd, we just have to let it be because the key to any government action is that it has to be rational.

What we have to do is put on the AO stamp on the game and not sell it directly to kids (I'm OK with funding that rule; it doesn't need additional personnel). If they trick the system to access it anyway, they're not victims and we don't need to try to detect or prevent that.
I like this suggestion. Any game with a loot box should be rated AO. That’ll end this trend immediately.
 

tetris42

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 29, 2014
Messages
4,518
Good grief. If you hate loot boxes so much, stop buying the games. Stop giving your kids your credit card. Stop auto funding your Playstation wallet. If they disobey, take the PC or console away from them. I can't remember who the publisher was (EA?) that plainly said 'we continue to put them in because people buy them'.

I abhor government trying to tell me that a personal choice is somehow detrimental to my well being. I don't care what it is, and to those saying they hope this is gambling because they hate loot boxes ... Plenty of people hate that kids have access to sodas, porn, pot, alcohol,and super sized fast food meals. Guess how you stop that? You don't keep it around, you don't buy it, you don't let your kid buy it, and you talk to your kid if you don't want them partaking.

Be a grown up. This isn't a government problem. It's a lack of self control and lack of parenting problem.
I get the nanny state argument, you don't want interference in something adults enjoy, but can be harmful to kids, since it interferes with your life then. But here's the thing about lootboxes:

NOBODY FUCKING WANTS THEM

If you're a gamer, you don't like seeing that shit, it cheapens the game and interferes with you just fucking enjoying the game.
If you're a gambling addict, this feeds into a vulnerability you had in a space it didn't previously exist.
Even if you're a whale buying this shit, you'd probably prefer to just pay one price up front and get everything, like how games used to work.
If you're a parent, you don't want to have to monitor games you thought were okay for actual gambling also.
If you're a developer, this means compromising any vision you had to ram cheap mechanics in.

Basically, we have a situation where likely 99% of the people involved DO NOT WANT LOOTBOXES, but they're incredibly profitable anyway, so it's becoming the new norm, even though it's skimming up against existing gambling laws. It's one thing to be against government overreach. It's another to be against solutions to an obvious market failure.

For those that still don't get it: say 100,000 people play your game with lootboxes. 99,500 never buy a lootbox and hate them. The remaining 500 people that do spend a total of 5 million dollars on them. Therefore, lootboxes stay, regardless of the actions of 99.5% of the playerbase.
 
Top