Gaming Industry And Game Consumers On A Collision Course Over Loot Boxes

from the down-their-throats dept

If you're a gamer, you know all about loot boxes. We haven't covered them or the associated controversy here, as both are slightly outside of the usual topics we cover. But we do in fact cover digital marketplaces and how companies and industries react to market forces and it's becoming more clear that the gaming industry and the gaming public are on something of a collision course over loot boxes.

As a primer, a loot box is a digital randomized thing, typically purchased in-game and resulting in a random reward of in-game content. Some content is more valuable than others, leading to some referring to loot boxes as a form of gambling, particularly when some of the game content can provide benefits to players in multiplayer settings. Overwatch popularized loot boxes somewhat in 2016, although mobile games have used some flavor of this kind of monetization for pretty much ever. The gaming public never really liked this concept, with many arguing that it breaks in-game competition by giving players willing to pay for loot boxes an advantage. But the loot box fervor hit its pique after the release of Star Wars Battlefront 2, with EA being forced to massively alter how its loot boxes worked in game. Since then, loot boxes are a topic of consumer backlash as a general rule.

Making it somewhat strange, therefore, that the gaming industry seems to want to embrace loot boxes as its dominant business model.

With all the controversy, scrutiny, and international regulation randomized video game loot boxes are facing these days, you might think the practice of charging players for a chance at unknown in-game items might be set for a precipitous decline. On the contrary, though, one analyst sees spending on loot boxes increasing by over 62 percent in the next four years to become a $47 billion piece of the industry. By then, loot boxes will represent over 29 percent of all spending on digital games, the analyst said, up from just under 25 percent currently.

In a newly published forecast of the global game market, Juniper Research concedes that developers are "effectively encouraging a form of in-game gambling" with loot boxes and using that addictive potential to "extend both the lifecycle and engagement of games titles to their audience." These kinds of non-traditional money-making techniques are a practical necessity for developers squeezed by increasing costs and stagnant or declining up-front game prices, Juniper says.

Whatever your opinion of loot boxes, it should be clear that there is trouble on the horizon. Individual opinions will vary, but it seems clear that the majority of gamers are strongly against loot boxes, and that majority is very, very loud. Put another way, the vocal reaction to loot boxes is almost universally negative, with barely anyone at all praising their use in games. The market is sending the gaming industry a very clear message and the industry has apparently decided to place an awful lot of poker chips in dismissing that message.

Even governments are getting in on the backlash, actually, for a variety of reasons. Some seek to protect consumers from blatant attempts to extract more revenue from them by gamemakers, while others want loot boxes regulated as a form of gambling.

Yet the gaming industry is so all-in on this that Juniper thinks both the public and governments will allow loot boxes to exist merely because gamemakers are making so much money off of them right now.

"Whilst some restrictions may be put in place by government and regulatory bodies, the practice is unlikely to be banned outright simply due to the effect it would have on the games industry as a whole," Juniper writes in a recent white paper on the subject. And while platforms like Steam have recently cracked down on third-party "skin gambling" sites, Juniper argues they've resisted calls to ban skin trading altogether for the simple reason that they make too much money from their five-percent transaction fee.

That all works at the governmental level, where regulatory capture is indeed a thing and monied interests likely will indeed sway politicians, but the market forces in the public are another matter. Already the public has thought of loot boxes as generally abusive of the industry. Free to play mobile games are one thing, but the moment EA tried this in a paid-for console game, the shit hit the fan.

Loot boxes aren't the only business model available to the gaming industry, but they are fairly unique in how disliked they are. If the gaming industry doesn't correct course soon, we could easily see a slowdown in an industry otherwise primed for massive growth.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 9 May 2018 @ 2:22pm

    "Free to play mobile games are one thing, but the moment EA tried this in a paid-for console game, the shit hit the fan. "

    I think this was the most outrageous example. If I pay for a goddamn full game ($60 an all) I want the goddamn full game. They've been pulling DLC shenanigans out of their arses for a few years now easily quadrupling the original $60 if you want to have the complete thing, specially if the DLC gives some sort of advantage rather than pure cosmetics.

    I don't see a solution in the short term. They are exploiting human brain failures to induce and profit from addiction and this is specially problematic when you are talking about children, teens that are not as well experienced to protect themselves.

    I've come to despise many game makers for the shenanigans they have been pulling non-stop. Nowadays a company that builds a freaking COMPLETE game that I can play to completion with myself actually differentiates itself from the garbage out there. As a gamer I'm very disgusted by how the gaming industry has been developing. And before the usual moron comes with the "but 100 million games and piracy!" idiocy I have your reply: don't spend 100 million. You don't need bleeding eye graphics and quality for a good game. Good plot lines, soundtrack, controls, mechanics will work with pixellate 16-bit stuff as GOG is there to show us.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 9 May 2018 @ 2:47pm

      Re:

      "Good plot lines, soundtrack, controls, mechanics will work with pixellate 16-bit stuff as GOG is there to show us."

      Not just GOG. Rimworld and Stardew Valley leap immediately to mind....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Moo (profile), 9 May 2018 @ 5:08pm

      Apart from these customer-unfriendly nickel-and-diming techniques, by not charging $60+ for the base game, they'd increase sales, reduce piracy, increase customer satisfaction, and end up with more profit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ShadowNinja (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 10:01am

      Re:

      I think this was the most outrageous example. If I pay for a goddamn full game ($60 an all) I want the goddamn full game.

      Yeah, and that's the craziest part of the Star Wars mess. It was estimated that you'd have to play the game for over 40 hours to unlock iconic characters like Darth Vader & Luke Skywalker.

      Like seriously, who the hell are you playing as if even the most iconic characters are locked up behind a paywall?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 12:27pm

      "Season Pass"

      To this day, I see the presence of a season pass to mean the release version is the Incomplete Edition, and I wait for the Complete Edition (Typically it is released as Game of the Year Edition or Gold Edition or something).

      To be fair, in the old days, games often might get an expansion. Zero Hour for example was the expansion for Command and Conquer: Generals though since the expansions were made later after user feedback, they often bridged gaps and fixed play imbalances that were reported from the original product.

      These days DLC is something of a gamble itself, and can be a swanky new campaign...or a crappy new campaign. Having been enjoying the open-world play of Homefront: The Revolution the discovery that all the DLCs are story based corridor shooter mini-campaigns was disappointing, considering the story was the weakest part of the game.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 9 May 2018 @ 3:41pm

    I recall a story where a game developer, thanks to newly installed games immediately pulling updates from his server, found that something like 98% of his game installs on the Android platform were pirated.

    And so for Android you needed in-game ads, purchases and other sources of revenue. That wasn't true so much for mobile platforms, but it was the next logical step regardless.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Cho Seung-Hui, 9 May 2018 @ 3:51pm

    and gambling leads to cheat

    "esports" are a worse example. Dota 2 has so many gambling issues (even has a name for matchfixing involving bets, 322) that Steam features (not Dota 2 itself but the whole Steam portal) was locked trying to stop cheaters, affecting other games in the way.

    Despite that, farming cosmetics and trading in bad ways still easy, thanks to lack of moderation in game.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2018 @ 3:51pm

    Loot boxes were generally tolerated by consumers as long as the consumer could put them out of mind, or they were in free to play games where there is an expectation that they need to make money somehow. Overwatch took off fine with their cosmetic loot boxes, and most other full priced titles with loot boxes had took a similar approach. The few controversial titles in the Fall, leading up to the grand controversy with Battlefront 2, ran into problems that the developers did what they could to try and make it so a typical player of those games would be forced to run into loot boxes and see them as a necessity rather than a luxury with things like costumes.

    Of course though, now that it is on a political radar and being treated like gambling, the industry is going to be on thin ice. The industry may be confident in their ability to avoid regulation, but in most jurisdictions, most things which end up with a "gambling label" ends up restricted, and even if it is allowed it typically ends up with relatively strict regulations (especially with regards to age). Daily Fantasy sports makes a good comparison, it went from mostly unregulated to being regulated in the majority of US states in a couple years once it got onto the political radar, despite the industry not being shy about throwing money around. At the moment, loot boxes have found a ton of success in titles which have ESRB ratings of E through T and PEGI ratings of 3+ through 12+ (FIFA, Rocket League, and Overwatch as a few examples), and all other potential regulations aside age requirements on such titles would greatly limit the appeal of such "family friendly" titles. It also puts self regulation in a bind, as if the industry ran ESRB were to considered loot boxes into their ratings, it would significantly hamper what the industry can get away with now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Cho Seung-Hui, 9 May 2018 @ 4:09pm

      Re:

      After facing kids in the 322 scheme, good if this happens.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2018 @ 8:53pm

        Re: Re:

        Careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

        322 had nothing to do with loot boxes. It had everything to do with a player deliberately throwing a game to win a bet he placed against his own team. That has nothing to do with loot boxes.

        That being said, I do not support loot boxes that contain actual gameplay content that can affect whether you win or lose a game. That's just wrong and definitely skirts the line on gambling, if not crossing over it. Case in point, EA and Battlefront 2. Players who didn't pony up for loot boxes were severely hamstrung and EA rightly got their asses handed to them for it.

        I don't have a problem with loot boxes that contain purely cosmetic items that have zero impact on gameplay. Rocket League and Overwatch are excellent examples of this. Their loot boxes contain purely cosmetic items that merely change the look of your character and don't impact gameplay at all.

        One is borderline gambling because it gives you something of value based on luck, chance, and money you pay, the other gives you fun stuff that has no value other than amusement or personal preference.

        To say that the gaming industry as a whole should be heavily scrutinized because of an unrelated incident, I think is very dangerous. If you deem all loot boxes as gambling, then you have to answer the question (as another commenter put it) are card packs also gambling? What about in MMOs where killing monsters gives you random loot? Is that gambling too? Because that's essentially loot boxes.

        Let's address the stuff that's actually gambling and not hit the nuclear option that no one is going to come out of happy.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          vexer6 (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 7:41am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Personally i'm not OK with ANY kind of microtransactions in full-priced games, the whole "it's just cosmetic
          " argument is total BS and people blindly defending it is how we got here in the first place.

          Jim Sterling single-handedly destroyed that asinine argument here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce5CDrq4dGg

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 11:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I suggest you watch the videos from Extra Credits. While they don't provide all the solutions, they do at least explain the realities of the situation.

            Why do games cost so much?
            https://youtu.be/ypZZTIOR__Q

            Designing an ethical loot box
            https://youtu.be/-Uha5c7hJdA

            Legality of loot boxes.
            https://youtu.be/26ZX7NbOhks

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              vexer6 (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 2:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Those videos are pure BS, EC has been going downhill for years and them blindly defending big publishers is the final nail in the coffin. Jim Sterling expertly deconstructed why their arguments were total nonsense:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kIPNckHDN8

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 5:48pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Microtransactions and DLC are why a large number of games that launched over 10 years ago are still alive. Without them, good luck playing TF2 or LoL or WoW.

                If they're purely cosmetic, all they do is keep the game profitable for the developers (encouraging more actual features and continued hosting of servers) without unbalancing the game in favor of the "whales" who have the ability to spend hundreds of dollars in order to get the best stuff.

                It also helps to cut down on some of the "EA Sports it's-the-same-game" nonsense where nothing changes from Madden '14 to Madden '15 except rosters. Why waste time making an entirely different game disc, when you can put the next season's rosters and uniforms up as DLC? That's allowed the NASCAR Heat Evolution games, for example, to focus on making a better game for the next year instead of relying solely on the draw of the latest liveries.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  vexer6 (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 6:46pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Nonsense, those publishers are so rich they don't NEED cosmetic stuff to keep their games running, to anyone that actually believes that asinine garbage-i've got a bridge to sell you.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 9:06pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Um, not sure what world you live in but running game servers like the ones for LoL, WoW, or any other online or MMO game costs money. A lot of money depending on how many servers.

                    There's the initial equipment cost, software licensing, IP licensing and royalties for something based off someone else's idea, electricity, datacenter space (either rented or taxes and utilities on your own), hardware and software upgrades every few years, equipment replacement costs for when it breaks, and that's not even covering the costs of paying an IT team to keep everything running, DBA's to make sure the database stays in good shape, developers, testers, community and PR reps, the list goes on.

                    If you think running games like that can be developed and ran indefinitely with no income, I'VE got a bridge to sell YOU.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      vexer6 (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 10:04pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Damn you are so naive it's hilarious, corporations should NOT be pleading poverty when they are avoiding paying millions for taxes via overseas tax shelter laws they themselves created.

                      Even with all that stuff you mentioned, they could easily spend money on all that stuff without microtransactions and not be in any danger of going broke.

                      Once again I refer to Jim Sterling to singlehandedly destroy that nonsense argument that only delusional fanboys and shills for big publishers(i'm guessing you are both) honestly believe:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HM6dNI9v68g

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2018 @ 8:04am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        I've never heard corporations "plead poverty". If you have links, please provide them as I would be interested to read them. Yes they do engage in ways to reduce their taxes, just like every single other business AND private individuals. Tax companies offer to do this for individuals every single year.

                        Even with all that stuff you mentioned, they could easily spend money on all that stuff without microtransactions and not be in any danger of going broke.

                        Do you really understand how much that all costs?

                        All of that costs MILLIONS of dollars PER YEAR. I don't care how rich you are, with that kind of outgoing cash flow you will be broke after a few years if you don't have money also coming in. If anyone ran a business with more money going out than in, they will eventually go bankrupt. That's finance, accounting, and economics 101.

                        Now, if your beef is just with microtransactions, I'd say that's shortsighted but can understand and relate. There are many games that do microtransactions for purely cosmetic items that don't impact gameplay at all. I don't see the problem with that. I can still play the full game and if somebody wants to buy a garishly awful cosmetic skin, I couldn't care less. I do have a problem with microtransactions as soon as they are required to have any kind of competitive edge or chance of winning at all. THAT is NOT ok. Some games have done this (EA's BF2 being a prime example) but most stay away from it, or at least the most egregious forms of it. EA being an exception.

                        Many MMOs have transitioned to a free-to-play model with cosmetic microtransactions and it's been good not only for the game company but also for the players. More players have been able to play, thanks to it being free, and they still don't have to pay-to-win and the game company makes more money than what they would have on just straight up subscriptions.

                        Once again I refer to Jim Sterling to singlehandedly destroy that nonsense argument that only delusional fanboys and shills for big publishers(i'm guessing you are both) honestly believe

                        Yes, I watched Jim's video and even he admits that making a quality video game is extremely expensive. He disagrees with EC as to where and how much they can cut costs, but he still admits (multiple times) that even with cutting more costs, it still costs a LOT of money to make a video game, well into the millions of dollars.

                        There are other issues with Jim's video and things he gets wrong or misunderstands. One of them being his assumption that gamers don't need or want high quality graphics in games, they only think they do because they've been trained to by big publishers. This is demonstrably false.

                        He gives the example of PUBG not having as good of graphics as Destiny or other major AAA games but it's still popular. That's true but it still has pretty darn GOOD graphics. Far better than what was available 5 - 10 years ago. Do you honestly think people really wouldn't care if game graphical quality never got better than what it was 10+ years ago or more?

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          vexer6 (profile), 11 May 2018 @ 8:49am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Yes they have plead poverty countless times, why else would they constantly asking their customers for handouts?

                          You are the most blatant shill i've ever seen, it's pathetic.

                          Here's how they are dodging taxes:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFKnv1YzI3k

                          Jim did not get anything wrong or misunderstand anything, but you sure as hell did. PUGB's graphics are nothing special, certainly does not look very next-gen. There are games from 5-10 years ago that look better(I.E. Crysis)

                          Well graphical quality isn't going to improve that much over time with how realistic things like now.

                          Free to play games having microtransactions is fine, but full-priced games like Overwatch and Destiny 2 having them is just unacceptable. These Fee To Pay games as Jim calls them are exploitative and he perfectly explains why in these three videos:

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqNuS03k6gI

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4UGm29181E

                          https:/ /www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHszeYz5Mi0

                          Like Jim has said, the "it's just cosmetic" is total BS, he perfectly explains why, it DOES affect gameplay because cosmetics are part of the game:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce5CDrq4dGg

                          You don't understand just how much money those big publishers have, they do not NEED microtransactions to be able to afford to make games.

                          Square Enix has no room to beg people for money and then turn around and keep on inventing new engines for every video game when nobody was asking them to do it.

                          You clearly don't know a damn thing about finances.

                          At this rate the big publishers WILL go bankrupt if they keep depending on microtransactions as sooner or later that bubble will burst.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2018 @ 9:57am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            I'm sorry but as a gamer, custom PC builder, and IT professional, all of your points are flat wrong.

                            You still haven't provided any links showing game companies pleading poverty or asking for handouts. Different payment schemes do not equate to poverty handouts unless it is framed as such. I've never heard a single AAA game maker come out and say "We're so poor, please give us money". I've heard them say "Please give us money", but not in conjunction with pleading poverty.

                            Also don't confuse mobile gamers with PC and console gamers. There is some crossover between the two but they are two VERY distinct groups. PC and console gamers, generally speaking, DEMAND high graphical fidelity. If you don't believe me, go ask someone on the pcmasterrace subreddit.

                            I absolutely want graphical quality to increase as computing power increases. If you have the horsepower, use it. And I'm not the only one. I dare you to find one PC or console gamer who thinks graphical quality from the 90s or 2000s is just fine and game companies shouldn't strive for better graphics.

                            There are games from 5-10 years ago that look better(I.E. Crysis)

                            And there are games from 5-10 years ago that don't. What's your point? This is only going to continue as technology improves.

                            full-priced games like Overwatch and Destiny 2 having them is just unacceptable

                            Microtransactions in Overwatch are purely cosmetic, there is ZERO game impact from having them. They don't change the characters abilities or visibility. They literally affect nothing. You can play the entire game content without ever purchasing anything and you can even earn all the cosmetic skins without ever paying for a lootbox. I don't think you understand how this works, and if you're getting your info solely from Jim then he is wrong too. If you have additional info to back up your claims, please provide it, or better yet, try playing Overwatch, then come back and discuss.

                            You don't understand just how much money those big publishers have, they do not NEED microtransactions to be able to afford to make games.

                            I'll agree they likely don't NEED microtransactions. That doesn't mean they shouldn't exist at all though. As even you have agreed, there are cases where they can be useful.

                            Square Enix has no room to beg people for money and then turn around and keep on inventing new engines for every video game when nobody was asking them to do it.

                            So? How they want to run their business is their business and I can't recall them ever begging for money. If you don't like it, don't buy their games. The rest of actually enjoy some of the games they make, regardless of what engine they use.

                            You clearly don't know a damn thing about finances.

                            Since I'm not broke I obviously do know something about it. You can also get some insight into publicly traded game company's finances since all their financial reports are published publicly. Maybe try checking some of those out?

                            At this rate the big publishers WILL go bankrupt if they keep depending on microtransactions as sooner or later that bubble will burst.

                            Unlikely. To my knowledge no game is depending solely on microtransactions for its financial viability. As you implied, you have to buy the game first before you can start purchasing microtransactions.

                            You are the most blatant shill i've ever seen, it's pathetic.

                            I'm not a shill but I doubt there is anything I can say that will change your mind. Personal attacks aren't really going to change anyone's mind.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                            • icon
                              vexer6 (profile), 11 May 2018 @ 10:35am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              Damn you are so ignorant it's almost comical.

                              You are naive if you don't believe the bubble will burst.

                              Did you watch any of the videos I linked? Clearly not, otherwise would not be spewing ignorant garbage and blindly sucking off big publishers.

                              Microtransactions should ONLY exist in free to play games, but they don't belong anywhere near full-priced games.

                              There is not "ZERO game impact in Overwatch, that is total BS, China clearly didn't think there was zero impact considering they passed a law to try and force Blizzard to disclose what the odds of getting items from lootboxes were, but Blizzard being the shady and greedy bastards they are tried to skirt around the law via using loopholes:https://www.polygon.com/2017/5/5/15558448/overwatch-loot-box-chances-china

                              https://www.game sindustry.biz/articles/2017-06-06-blizzard-avoids-chinas-loot-box-laws-by-selling-in-game-currency

                              Yo u are taking things FAR too literally, a company does literally have to say "i'm begging for money" to be begging for money. What I mean these companies are greedily asking customers to spend money on all kinds of crap besides the games themselves, yet they have the gall to claim about how expensive games are when they are all too happy to throw money at stupid marketing stunts nobody cares about(I.E. EA paying to have fighter jets promote Battlefield)

                              How they run their business IS "our business" if they are being greedy bastards and trying to nickle and dime customers for all they are worth.

                              Let me guess you're a Trump supporter right? Only explanation I can find for your painfully ignorant you are with your "capitalism is awesome!" nonsense.

                              Bet you don't give a rat's ass about poor people.

                              There's only so far games can come in terms of looks, we are not going to see nearly as big of a dramatic leap in visuals as we have for the previous few generations. My point is you were full of crap when talking about Jim's videos, PUBG isn't a very good looking game but it's still succesful.


                              Publishers certainly are trying to make regular console games more like mobile games and that's no coincidence. Notice how the screenshots of the buy-able currency screen in last year's NBA2K game look virtually indistinguishable from the hundreds of crappy mobile games.

                              You have to be the single most willfully ignorant person i've ever met, you seem to want to fight for publishers to screw off over as many people as possible, people like you are why the recession happened.

                              No most console gamers do not DEMAND super ultra mega good graphics, that's nonsense.

                              I did in fact find a PC gamer who thinks obsession over graphics is stupid and would be just fine with a game that looked PS2 quality-TotalBiscuit, one of the most respected PC gaming critics out there. I'm guessing you've never heard of him though.

                              You are the one that does not understand how Overwatch works, Blizzard wants to manipulate you into blowing all your money, again Jim expertly breaks down why that game's business model is so sleazy:

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWTsJZD3YFQ

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLDid1UNyg8

                              https:/ /www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OyhTKX7i4I

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2018 @ 7:23pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                Ok, this ended up being a way bigger post than I originally intended. Sorry in advance but I wanted to make sure I addressed all your points.

                                You are naive if you don't believe the bubble will burst.

                                As long as companies do microtransactions ethically, there isn't even a bubble to burst. That said, I do think there is some blowback coming because of shenanigans some companies engage in, like EA and BF2. But there is no way microtransactions will go away entirely. And all microtransactions are not lootboxes.

                                Many games have stores where you choose exactly what you get, for example I pay two bucks to get xyz hat. There's nothing wrong with that as long as you don't have to buy them to win the game or be competitive. Most PC and console games are like that, the exceptions are the ones you hear about in the news. Now mobile games are different but again, two very different groups, and any time a PC/console game maker tries this in those games, it ends badly for the game maker.

                                There is not "ZERO game impact in Overwatch, that is total BS

                                Then you obviously have never played Overwatch. Try it, it's a fun game. You can play the entire game and never once pay for anything. To say otherwise is proof you do not understand the subject you are talking about and have never played the game.

                                The whole China business is an entirely separate issue. And really, China didn't have a problem with the game or the lootboxes, all they said was if you want to do that, you have to disclose the probability in your algorithms of getting various classes of items in each lootbox. China doesn't have a ban on lootboxes at all. Those two links you provided even state this. You're being disingenuous to state otherwise.

                                Yo u are taking things FAR too literally, a company does literally have to say "i'm begging for money" to be begging for money. What I mean these companies are greedily asking customers to spend money on all kinds of crap besides the games themselves, yet they have the gall to claim about how expensive games are when they are all too happy to throw money at stupid marketing stunts nobody cares about(I.E. EA paying to have fighter jets promote Battlefield)

                                Ah, now I see. You don't like how greedy they are and so are claiming this is the same as begging for money. Sorry, the definition of begging doesn't really match up with what they do. Intense and over the top soliciting, sometimes bordering on sleazy used car salesman tactics? Sure, absolutely. But not begging. Begging implies being in a worse position than the person they are begging from, I don't think anyone would really say that's the case.

                                How they run their business IS "our business" if they are being greedy bastards and trying to nickle and dime customers for all they are worth.

                                Last time I checked, nowhere in my life am I required to be the moral compass for a greedy company. If I don't like them then I don't buy from them, simple as that. I'm not saying people shouldn't take them to task for being jerks but there's no law against being a greedy jerk.

                                Let me guess you're a Trump supporter right? Only explanation I can find for your painfully ignorant you are with your "capitalism is awesome!" nonsense.

                                I'm insulted you would bring that moron into a discussion about video games. That's all I'll say on that subject.

                                Bet you don't give a rat's ass about poor people.

                                I do care but what does this have to do with anything? If you're too poor to afford a video game, you have other things that should take priority over making sure you've got the latest and greatest video game. Like making sure you have a decent meal, a bed to sleep in and a roof over your head.

                                There's only so far games can come in terms of looks

                                Pretty sure they said the same thing back in the 90s.

                                My point is you were full of crap when talking about Jim's videos,

                                You haven't actually explained why yet. Especially considering I used quotes from his videos to directly contradict you.

                                PUBG isn't a very good looking game but it's still succesful.

                                Not compared to something like Destiny, but it's better looking than the original Tomb Raider. Your point?

                                Publishers certainly are trying to make regular console games more like mobile games and that's no coincidence. Notice how the screenshots of the buy-able currency screen in last year's NBA2K game look virtually indistinguishable from the hundreds of crappy mobile games.

                                You mean the rectangular boxes delineating different price points and packages that has been a standard way to display different objects for sale on the internet that's been around since the 80s/90s? Or were you talking about the gold coins that look like what Mario has been collecting ever since the first Super Mario Bros. game debuted on the original Nintendo? Please, do tell how you would make it look NOT like a mobile game (other than removing microtransactions completely).

                                You have to be the single most willfully ignorant person i've ever met

                                Seeing as how you don't even know how a simple game like Overwatch works, despite having it explained to you multiple times, I'm not really sure I'm the ignorant one here.

                                • you seem to want to fight for publishers to screw off over as many people as possible*

                                Ok, let me take this part to set some things straight. I am in NO WAY fighting in favor of publishers. With some exceptions like Overwatch and Rocket League, this whole lootbox craze is thoroughly disgusting and I hope it bites more publishers in the butt like it did EA. EA deserved what it got and more. The same goes for games that lock up being able to win or be competitive behind a microtransaction paywall. That's got to go. However, just because I think they're a bunch of greedy jerks doesn't mean they don't have legitimate business costs. That's kind of a fact of doing business. And those costs are in the tens of millions of dollars, if not more.

                                people like you are why the recession happened.

                                What? Where...how...I don't even know what to say to this because I can't even figure out what kind of reasoning you had to come up with to make this claim.

                                No most console gamers do not DEMAND super ultra mega good graphics, that's nonsense.

                                Most console gamers disagree with you given that they crap all over any game that doesn't meet the last 5 years standard latest graphical quality, with the exceptions of games like Minecraft or Cuphead that were specifically designed that way. Also, PC gamers definitely demand the best quality. Or did you think we build overly powerful custom beast rigs just to play games on the low setting? Please try to do some basic looking into the claims you make before you make them.

                                I did in fact find a PC gamer who thinks obsession over graphics is stupid and would be just fine with a game that looked PS2 quality-TotalBiscuit, one of the most respected PC gaming critics out there. I'm guessing you've never heard of him though.

                                I have actually heard of him and I have never heard him state that no game should pursue high quality graphics. What I have heard him state is that gameplay is more important than graphics and you have to take into account the intent of the game. He's not against good graphics, what he is against is good graphics for the sake of good graphics that hurts the overall gameplay of a game. There are many games out there that have excellent gameplay AND phenomenal graphics. The two are not mutually exclusive and nowhere have I seen TotalBiscuit state as such. If he did he likely wouldn't have become as popular as he did. Nice try but he doesn't support your case.

                                You are the one that does not understand how Overwatch works

                                Please see above where I actually prove that you don't understand Overwatch. But just to add to this, you could remove lootboxes from Overwatch completely and it wouldn't change how you play the game at all. As I said, they have zero effect, you can even earn every item in the game without paying one red cent.

                                Blizzard wants to manipulate you into blowing all your money

                                Potentially true. But also potentially not true.

                                again Jim expertly breaks down why that game's business model is so sleazy:

                                He also states in that first video you linked, that is his opinion and is not necessarily the opinion of all other gamers and everyone should "do you". He also rates Overwatch a 9 out of 10 DESPITE the lootboxes and says it's one of his absolute favorite games and is "totally in love with it". He even goes so far as to mention that TotalBiscuit (yes, the same one you mentioned earlier) did a rebuttal and video on what a positive thing Overwatch's loot boxes are. This is the same TotalBiscuit whom you held as a shining example to support your point about graphic quality (which I proved didn't actually support your point) and who is now hailing loot boxes in Overwatch as a really good thing, in direct contradiction to your hatred for them. I'm curious as to how you reconcile this.

                                Now, maybe I'm wrong, but it sounds like you agree with absolutely everything Jim says but haven't actually taken the time to do the investigation of his claims for yourself. I would recommend doing this. His technical descriptions aren't wrong, and I agree with him on several points, but as he himself said, his opinions on whether Overwatch's loot boxes are good or bad are just that, his opinions.

                                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                • icon
                                  vexer6 (profile), 11 May 2018 @ 7:55pm

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  Course they won't go away entirely, but at the rate that countries are making laws against this kind of exploitative crap, they won't be in anything but free to play games(at least I hope so)

                                  Jim has played Overwatch and thinks you are full of crap.

                                  Um did I say China banned them? NOOOOOOOOO Who's disingenuous now fool? Also if China "didn't have a problem" with their lootboxes, they NEVER would've made that law in the first place, damn you are naive.

                                  I'm largely echoing what Jim has said, he's claimed many times that these big publishers are pleading poverty and i'm inclined to agree with him.

                                  I'm just stunned at how dumb you are to blindly get taken up the ass by these publishers who only care about making money and exploiting people and nothing else:https://www.gamesradar.com/ultimate-team-is-not-gambling-ea-boss-pushing-forward-with-loot-boxe s-for-fifa-19/

                                  Easy way to make NBA 2K not look like a mobile game-don't have fucking microtransations! Damn you are so think it's almost comical.

                                  I'm insulted at how little you seem to care about consumers and seem to be acting like publishers are being mistreated because customers dare to have a problem with being exploited.

                                  I'm going to save your stupid comments so that Jim can brutally mock them on his show Commentocracy, can't wait for him to make you look like an even bigger moron then you already are.

                                  FYI, console gamers you personally know are not "most console gamers", lots of console gamers I know aren't that big on graphics.

                                  I know how Overwatch works moron, clearly it is you who does not.

                                  Nobody said anything about a "moral compass" idiot, just that is people's concern if companies want to exploit them.

                                  You don't understand Overwatch fool, get lost you pathetic Blizzard fanboy/shill.

                                  Don't give me that "too poor to afford a game" nonsense, that does NOT automatically make it OK for publishers to nickel and dime people, god i'll bet you think everyone on food stamps or welfare is a parasite(and i'll bet you REALLY hate minorities).

                                  If they've got "legitimate business costs" maybe they can stop fucking spending millions of dollars on marketing campaigns that gamers largely do not give a shit about.

                                  The original Tomb Raider was 2-3 generations before Destiny, terrible example.

                                  Jim's opinions of Overwatch has gone down over time, he may have given it a 9 at first, but if you've kept up with the videos and podcasts like I have, you'd realize that Jim's enjoyment of the game lessened over time because of the terrible businesses practices, i'll never understand people who claim to be against lootboxes but bend over backwards to defend Overwatch, that's blatant hypocrisy

                                  Just cause there's no "law against being a greedy jerk" does not automatically make it OK for companies to exploit people for everything they're worth nor does it mean people are not allowed to complain about it, that's nonsense.

                                  I don't agree with everything Jim says(he's not that big on open world games and I quite enjoy them, also I like the Xbox One more then he does) but when it comes to microtransactions and lootboxes, i'm with Jim 100%

                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                  • identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2018 @ 9:12pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    Ok, this is getting kind of ridiculous. You aren't actually refuting any of my points, you're just stating your claims (which I've used logic and facts to contradict) over again and adding insults to them and somehow that proves you right and me wrong?

                                    I'll try to keep things shorter this time.

                                    Jim has played Overwatch and thinks you are full of crap.

                                    I couldn't care less what Jim thinks of me but I highly doubt Jim even knows I exist, therefore he likely doesn't think anything about me. Crap or otherwise.

                                    Um did I say China banned them? NOOOOOOOOO Who's disingenuous now fool?

                                    I never said you, specifically, did but you did seem to be implying that China didn't allow loot boxes and Overwatch somehow skirted the law to still get them in the game in the country. The only way I know of to not allow loot boxes is to ban them. That's not what happened. China said you can have loot boxes, you just have to be up front about the odds. So that's what Blizzard did. There was no skirting anything, China said here's how you do it and Blizzard said ok.

                                    Easy way to make NBA 2K not look like a mobile game-don't have fucking microtransations! Damn you are so think it's almost comical.

                                    Did you miss the part where I said "OTHER THAN REMOVING THEM ENTIRELY" since we both apparently agree they aren't going anywhere?

                                    I'm going to save your stupid comments so that Jim can brutally mock them on his show Commentocracy, can't wait for him to make you look like an even bigger moron then you already are.

                                    Please do. I would actually be interested in hearing his rebuttals to my points. That is assuming you have enough pull with him to actually get them on his show. Somehow I doubt this.

                                    FYI, console gamers you personally know are not "most console gamers", lots of console gamers I know aren't that big on graphics.

                                    You realize you just did the exact same thing you accused me of doing right? Just because the console gamers you know aren't that big on graphics, doesn't make them "most console gamers". You're also still forgetting about PC gamers since most console games are also released on the PC nowadays. How good the graphics of games are has been a mainstay topic in the gamer world since video games were first invented. If you don't know this, you don't actually understand video games and the culture surrounding them.

                                    But just because I'm tired of arguing this point with you when you very obviously have no idea what you're talking about, here: https://www.cinemablend.com/games/75-Gamers-Say-Graphics-Do-Matter-Purchasing-Game-64659.html

                                    That's just the first result that came up in a quick Google search, there were many others. And some reports have that percentage climbing in the intervening 4 years as well as gamers now saying it's the MOST important decision in buying a game. (I don't subscribe to this, gameplay is still, and will forever be, the most important factor for me)

                                    If they've got "legitimate business costs" maybe they can stop fucking spending millions of dollars on marketing campaigns that gamers largely do not give a shit about.

                                    Marketing is a legitimate business cost whether you want it to be or not. If you don't tell people about your product (video games or otherwise) no one will know they exist and you won't sell anything. And while gamers may not LIKE marketing campaigns, the campaigns are effective, otherwise companies wouldn't spend so much money on them.

                                    The original Tomb Raider was 2-3 generations before Destiny, terrible example.

                                    It's actually a perfect example. It's an iconic game that wouldn't be nearly as successful today as it was back then if the graphics stayed the same.

                                    Just cause there's no "law against being a greedy jerk" does not automatically make it OK for companies to exploit people for everything they're worth nor does it mean people are not allowed to complain about it, that's nonsense.

                                    I don't necessarily disagree with this. By all means, complain away. Just don't claim that it's "my business" as a person to do anything about it myself. I will complain and object as I see fit.

                                    I'm going to lump all your Overwatch statements into one here because they all basically just accuse me of not knowing how Overwatch works despite me having actually played the game and you not.

                                    Overwatch is an FPS game with 4 classes of heroes, all with varying abilities and attributes, played over varied maps corresponding to different game types such as escort, CTF, king of the hill, and command point capturing. Heroes can be swapped out at will in the middle of a match, usually on death, to attempt to change team composition to better counter the opposing team. As you play you gain experience based on whether you won or lost, how well you did, and other factors. This experience levels you up but does not change the skills and abilities of the heroes. Instead it's mainly used as part of a matchmaking system whereby the system attempts to match players of a particular skill level to other players of that same level. (As a side note, this is something Jim fails to mention in his rant against the leveling system so he fails on that point)

                                    Quick play and arcade generally make use of your level and some other stats to match you up. This is why normally in Quick play you'll see all the other players are around the same level you are, with some exceptions like higher or lower level players who happen to be in a group with players of your level. Competitive mode relies more on your competitive SR ranking and other stats than your numerical level. In comp you're more likely to see oddball numerical levels show up, like an insanely skilled level 30 or very poorly skilled level 100. These are the basics of Overwatch.

                                    Loot boxes are gained automatically when you reach the next level, given out for special events, and earned in Arcade every three wins for 9 won games in a one week period. The items contained in loot boxes DO NOT AFFECT ANY of the gameplay mechanics I described in the previous paragraphs. All they do is change the look of your character. That's it. If players really want to, they can purchase additional loot boxes for real world cash, but they are not required to, nor do they have to to retain a competitive edge in the game. If all you play Overwatch for is the actual pew pewing, then having or not having loot boxes is completely irrelevant to you. In addition to that, Blizzard doesn't make any effort in the game to trick or tease you into buying loot boxes. The only way you even know that you can buy loot boxes in the game is there is a "Shop" button down at the bottom of the loot box menu. That's it, there's nothing else. No fancy wording after every match saying "hey! buy more loot boxes!", or anything else like that. Just a very plain, unremarkable shop button.

                                    So, I think I have a pretty good handle on how Overwatch works. What do you think? Can you dispute (With facts! Not just saying "you don't understand Overwatch".) anything I have said about the game?

                                    Finally, I'm not saying game makers deserve every cent they get. They don't. What I am saying is they do have very real, very large production costs. Saying they can make games for a fraction of what they claim is not based in reality. Less than they claim? Sure. But probably not enough to make people like you happy. And ultimately, game makers exist to make money, that's kind of their unstated goal. That's the ultimate goal of any business.

                                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                    • icon
                                      vexer6 (profile), 11 May 2018 @ 9:30pm

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                      Wow you just keep getting dumber and dumber.

                                      Clearly you don't know Jim well at all, it's not about needing "pull" to get comments featured on the show, Jim has a specific email address where viewers can send him comments they see on the internet, and it's purely up to chance whichever comments he picks, though i'm sure he'll definitely be interested in yours, your exactly the kind of person he despises, can't wait for Jim to give you the thorough ass-reaming you so rightfully deserve for blindly defending capitalism.

                                      Again you are being too literal, I don't mean stop marketing all together, I mean you don't need to spend millions of dollars on things that don't actually sell your game very well. Jim gave a very good example in this episode about how Square Enix couldn't stop fucking with Deus Ex(basically SE spent untold millions on something on Youtube called DXTV which was supposed to help promote Deus Ex, but barely anyone even knew the damn thing existed, so SE wasted a whole lot of money for nothing, same deal with EA paying fighter jets to promote Battlefield 4 that nobody even fucking noticed):https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVbj4GuuZTA

                                      Blizzard DOES make effort into tricking you into buying lootboxes, you have to be willfully ignorant to not see that, a game does not have to beat you over the head with microtransactions for it to be a bad business model, as Jim has said multiple times, microtransactions that are more subtle and sinister in nature(like Overwatch and Destiny 2) can be worse in many ways.

                                      Actually no your example is terrible, some games hold up, others don't, few will disagree about Crysis still holding up today.

                                      Polls can easily be very misleading, one poll from one website means fuck all in the grand scheme of things, here's another poll that shoots your pathetic little theory to shreds:https://www.giantbomb.com/forums/general-discussion-30/how-deeply-do-you-care-about-the-graph ics-in-a-vid-1445714/

                                      Your posts are not based in reality, you assume that corporations are people's friends and can never ever be truly evil(at least not when it comes to video games)

                                      Just cause "all games to exist to make money" does not make money-grubbing business models OK, you are seriously think-headed and narrow-minded if you cannot grasp that.

                                      Cosmetics ARE part of the gameplay because players want to look good, and when Overwatch pulls something like that bullshit they did with those limited-time-only summer olympic skins, only a true moron or delusional fanboy could possible believe Blizzard were not being manipulative in any way.

                                      You have to be one of the dumbest motherfuckers on the planet with all the mental gymnastics you are doing to defend Blizzard.

                                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                      • identicon
                                        Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2018 @ 10:40pm

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                        Wow you just keep getting dumber and dumber.

                                        And you still have nothing to actually refute me with other than insults and facts that don't mean what you think they mean.

                                        Clearly you don't know Jim well at all, it's not about needing "pull" to get comments featured on the show, Jim has a specific email address where viewers can send him comments they see on the internet,

                                        You're right, I don't watch him at all other than the videos you linked to. This doesn't mean I can't disagree with him and provide facts to prove him wrong.

                                        i'm sure he'll definitely be interested in yours

                                        Ok, sounds good. Shoot me the link when it goes live.

                                        your exactly the kind of person he despises, can't wait for Jim to give you the thorough ass-reaming you so rightfully deserve

                                        And I care why? You seem to think Jim is sure going to show me. I've already stated I don't watch his show and I'm not likely to start. So unless you send me the link to when he "might" rip me, I'll never see it. So again, why do I care?

                                        Again you are being too literal, I don't mean stop marketing all together, I mean you don't need to spend millions of dollars on things that don't actually sell your game very well.

                                        Then learn to speak English better and communicate what you mean more clearly. Regardless of that, multi-million dollar marketing campaigns do work and are effective. Though there is a school of thought that says they are becoming less effective as people get used to them.

                                        Blizzard DOES make effort into tricking you into buying lootboxes, as Jim has said multiple times, microtransactions that are more subtle and sinister in nature(like Overwatch

                                        Just saying it doesn't make it true. I've provided first hand account of what goes on in the game. This is verifiable by watching any video of Overwatch, including Jim's footage. If you have screenshots or footage to prove me wrong, link to it. Otherwise you are spouting hot air.

                                        Actually no your example is terrible, some games hold up, others don't, few will disagree about Crysis still holding up today.

                                        You missed my point but I'm not surprised. I'm saying if Tomb Raider wasn't made years ago, and was only first introduced today, 2018, with the original graphics, it wouldn't be the smash hit was back then because the graphics suck. Back then it was some of the best graphics available. Not so much today.

                                        Polls can easily be very misleading, one poll from one website means fuck all in the grand scheme of things, here's another poll that shoots your pathetic little theory to shreds:https://www.giantbomb.com/forums/general-discussion-30/how-deeply-do-you-care-about-the-graph ics-in-a-vid-1445714/

                                        Really? A forum poll of less than 200 random internet users is your rebuttal? You obviously didn't read my link, it's not a random forum poll. It's scientifically based market research querying potentially thousands of confirmed gamers. But whatever, fine. Here's another more recent link: https://www.tweaktown.com/news/57199/gamers-care-graphics-shooters-reign-supreme/index.html

                                        And this still ignores the MASSIVE amount of gamers who are constantly talking on the internet about how to eek out the best possible graphics quality from their PCs. Or the MASSIVE amount of game reviews detailing the games with the absolute best graphics. It also ignores the fact that game graphics is one of the first things to get reviewed about a game, followed or tied by gameplay. Not to mention Nintendo's consoles continually get blasted for having sub-par graphics compared to Sony and Microsoft. Please tell me you're just trolling and you aren't that blind.

                                        Your posts are not based in reality, you assume that corporations are people's friends and can never ever be truly evil(at least not when it comes to video games)

                                        Nowhere did I say that, in fact I said quite the opposite, multiple times. You claiming I did is a flat out lie. As for being based in reality, I've provided my logic and reasoning and several links with data from primary sources to back up my claims. You quote Jim and random internet polls and throw insults. You really want to talk about posts being based in reality?

                                        Just cause "all games to exist to make money" does not make money-grubbing business models OK, you are seriously think-headed and narrow-minded if you cannot grasp that.

                                        Again, nowhere did I claim this and in fact made statements to the opposite effect.

                                        Cosmetics ARE part of the gameplay because players want to look good

                                        Part of the game? Sure, I can buy that. Part of the gameplay? No. Nobody buys Overwatch because of the cool skins. They buy it for the gameplay and get the skins as a side effect. Removing the skins wouldn't change the gameplay or the core game of Overwatch. Anyone who plays the game knows this, even Jim.

                                        when Overwatch pulls something like that bullshit they did with those limited-time-only summer olympic skins

                                        You realize that's a seasonal event that happens every year so if you miss a skin one year you can get it the next, right? Or are you going to say that limited time sales at grocery or department stores are also "manipulative bullshit"? Because there really isn't any difference.

                                        only a true moron or delusional fanboy could possible believe Blizzard were not being manipulative in any way

                                        Not saying they aren't being manipulative in any way. Just not in the way you seem to think they are because you haven't actually played the game.

                                        You have to be one of the dumbest motherfuckers on the planet with all the mental gymnastics you are doing to defend Blizzard.

                                        Again, insults with no facts to back it up. Really, you're not helping your case.

                                        My original point that started all of this was simply that to keep making new games and keep old game servers online and running, takes a LOT of money and without continued incoming revenue, those old game servers would get shut down and the quality of new games would decline. Obviously there is a balance to be struck and AAA game makers are typically on the wrong side of that balance, but your claims that "publishers are so rich they don't NEED cosmetic stuff to keep their games running" is just not true.

                                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                        • icon
                                          vexer6 (profile), 11 May 2018 @ 11:35pm

                                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                          Clear you are just spouting random gibberish in a pathetic attempt to sound smarter then you actually are.

                                          You're not helping your case by blindly defending publishers right to screw customers over.

                                          It IS fucking true, these publishers are so rich they don't need microtransactions, they get along without just fine for decades before, don't be so fucking naive.

                                          Even if it is seasonal it's still manipulative as fuck cause you know Blizzard is counting on people panicking and buying as many lootboxes as possible to get those rare skins.

                                          The skins ARE part of the gameplay in Overwatch, might not be the main reason why people bought the game, but you are foolish if you think they have ZERO impact on the game, they do, deal with it dumbass.

                                          You are the only spouting flat out lies here dumbass.

                                          You sure do love your false dichotomies don't you?

                                          Plenty of reviews don't obsess over graphics you brain-dead POS

                                          None of your asinine posts are based in reality.

                                          Scientific my ass.

                                          Game reviews are getting more and more irrelevant now, lots of gamers are basing their purchases on Youtubers, who don't obsess over graphics nearly as much as website reviews do.

                                          You communicate like shite, you sound like a PR shill.

                                          So you admit to not watching Jim's show? Clearly then you've not watched any of the links to his show i've sent you, which makes your statements disproving him a bunch of bullshit, all you've proven is how dumb you are.

                                          You've done fuck all to refute me beyond blathering a bunch of nonsense PR buzzwords that mean nothing to anyone except soulless execs.

                                          Not watching Jim does mean you can't prove him wrong since you have no fucking clue what he was even talking about, goddamn that's some insane troll logic right there.

                                          Like Jim has said, we need less of these "live services" and more game variety, these live services are going to fail inevitably because nobody is going to have time to play more then one of those types of games at a time. No way Anthem isn't going to be a major flop.

                                          Servers don't need microtransactions to support them moron, goddamn you have severe brain damage if you believe that.

                                          You stupid to admit you are wrong about anything.

                                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                          • identicon
                                            Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2018 @ 8:26am

                                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                            The skins ARE part of the gameplay in Overwatch, might not be the main reason why people bought the game, but you are foolish if you think they have ZERO impact on the game, they do, deal with it dumbass.

                                            Please explain how they are part of the of the actual shooting and online matches of the gameplay and what effect they have on your character's skill and abilities during a match.

                                            So you admit to not watching Jim's show? Clearly then you've not watched any of the links to his show i've sent you

                                            Well considering I provided you with direct quotes from the videos you linked, obviously I did watch those links.

                                            Not watching Jim does mean you can't prove him wrong since you have no fucking clue what he was even talking about, goddamn that's some insane troll logic right there.

                                            One, I did watch the links you posted, so there's that. Two, you have told me exactly what is in his videos so there is no need for me to watch them since you've already stated what he says in them. Watching the videos is redundant as I'll get no new information.

                                            Servers don't need microtransactions to support them moron

                                            No, but they do need money. Microtransactions are one way to get that money.

                                            You stupid to admit you are wrong about anything.

                                            I'll gladly admit when I'm wrong but there is no evidence in this thread that I am wrong.

                                            You've done fuck all to refute me beyond blathering a bunch of nonsense PR buzzwords that mean nothing to anyone except soulless execs.

                                            Which PR buzzwords were those again? And where is your evidence I'm wrong? Because you haven't given anything but insults and ironic statements like this that show you don't actually know anything about video games, other than what you hear from Jim.

                                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                            • icon
                                              vexer6 (profile), 12 May 2018 @ 8:35am

                                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                              You have to be a CEO of these publishers to be this fucking thick, get lost Patrick Wilson you greedy piece of shit.

                                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                              • identicon
                                                Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2018 @ 8:52am

                                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                Ah, the classic response of someone who has been backed into a corner and has no evidence to even meagerly back up his claims.

                                                It's been a pleasure debating you. If you ever want to actually try playing a video game, I can suggest a fair number of excellent ones for beginners such as yourself.

                                                Stay frosty!

                                                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                                • icon
                                                  vexer6 (profile), 12 May 2018 @ 10:05am

                                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                  Ah yes the classic response of someone who is severely brain-dead, bet i've played more games then you ever moron, go back to sucking off Milo.

                                                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                                  • identicon
                                                    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2018 @ 10:31am

                                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                    Believe what you wish, that won't make it true. Especially considering that brain death means you can't even breathe on your own, much less have the mental capacity to operate a computer and respond to comments on a public forum. Since I obviously can respond to you, I'm not brain dead.

                                                    How many games have you played then? And can you prove that you've actually played them?

                                                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                                    • icon
                                                      vexer6 (profile), 12 May 2018 @ 12:11pm

                                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                      You are the dumbest human being alive.

                                                      Brain-dead is a figure of speech you moron, damn you must take EVERYTHING literally.

                                                      Can you prove your not completely full of shit?

                                                      Didn't think so.

                                                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                                      • icon
                                                        Uriel-238 (profile), 12 May 2018 @ 2:01pm

                                                        "Dumbest human being alive"

                                                        Our dear President has set an profoundly high bar for that standard.

                                                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                                                      • identicon
                                                        Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2018 @ 5:22pm

                                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                                        Brain-dead is a figure of speech

                                                        Well actually it's a medical condition. It's pretty serious actually, you can read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_death

                                                        Can you prove your not completely full of shit?

                                                        Well I just pooped so I'm pretty empty right now. As proof I can send you a stool sample.

                                                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          Uriel-238 (profile), 11 May 2018 @ 1:13pm

                          "MILLIONS of dollars PER YEAR"

                          Left 4 Dead servers run by Valve / Steam were / are being run for several years without problem. In fact, once they invented hats for TF2 they all but stopped bothering making more games.

                          Most of Valve is goofing off aka research and development.

                          We've talked about this with F2P models that target whales. If your business model requires antagonistic features or exploiting your client base, it's a bad business model. It's the kind that damages the society and economy as a whole.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 6:36pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I watched Jim's video and I now agree that cosmetics do matter. Not to me personally, but I can understand why people want to customize. And he is correct that that type of stuff used to be in-game content released with the game.

                All game development companies need to make money so they can continue producing games. While the price for a triple A game is still roughly 60 bucks, the value of the dollar has not stayed the same. So $60 will not pay for as much as it used to.

                Personally I think EA is one of the more scummy game publishers that have no problem abusing their players. So anything that they think they can get away with they will do. Because of their rep I will never purchase a game from them again.

                When WoW first came out I decided that board games were a better option to pursue because you are not as susceptible to abuse, unlike always online games. Also at that point I decided that I will never pay for something in a game that either has a recurring fee, microtransactions, loot box, or DLC. If the game is pay-to-win, I don't even bother looking at its other features.

                Now if a company wants to release a sequel or expansion, I will look at it to see if there is enough content to justify whatever price is placed on it.

                But I also understand that not everyone will respond to game abuse in the same manner.

                I am for loot boxes only if you can get them through playing the game or unlocking achievements or something like that. If there is any way to pay to get more boxes then it is gambling.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 10:01pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Please explain why they are completely wrong, other than you think the channel is going downhill.

                I watched Jim's video and he didn't actually refute any point EC made. In fact, several times he stated that video games are VERY expensive to make. The only thing he disagrees with is their ability to cut costs, claiming they're just greedy. But even Jim admits that they need all those expensive costs to produce high graphical fidelity games.

                Jim goes on to argue that we gamers don't need the best graphics, they've just been trained to think that way by greedy corps so they can spend more to make more. And to some extent that's true, Minecraft was not a graphically intensive game, but it had other things going for it that made it so popular AND I guarantee you that there are very few gamers who would be totally satisfied with all games having the same graphics quality as Minecraft. I'm sorry but that's just not true, and it's not because gamers have been "trained to believe that". It's like saying everyone should be expected to be just fine with Middle Ages fashion and no one needs jeans and t-shirts. Progress is still progress.

                So to summarize, both EC and Jim Sterling freely admit that games are extremely expensive to make. The only point they disagree on is the extent of that expensive price tag. None of which invalidates EC's point that it costs a ton of money to make a video game.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  vexer6 (profile), 11 May 2018 @ 8:46am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Um yes he did, you are blind if you think he did not.

                  Plenty of gamers don't care that much about graphics, the popularity of mobile games certainly proves that.

                  Publishers HAVE tons of money already, they don't need microtransactions to be able to afford. Plus these games wouldn't cost so much if publishers didn't waste untold millions on things like marketing.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2018 @ 10:06am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Um yes he did, you are blind if you think he did not.

                    So I just hallucinated the part right at the beginning where he literally says "don't get me wrong, making video games does cost a lot of money"? (not an exact quote but can't access the video right now to get exact wording) Never mind that he repeated similar statements throughout the entire video?

                    Plenty of gamers don't care that much about graphics, the popularity of mobile games certainly proves that.

                    Mobile gamers and PC/console gamers are two VERY different groups. PC and console gamers pretty much DEMAND high graphical fidelity. If you don't think they do then you really don't understand PC and console gamers.

                    Publishers HAVE tons of money already, they don't need microtransactions to be able to afford.

                    True, and they likely don't NEED microtransactions, but that doesn't make ethically implemented microtransactions a bad thing. There are many games I've played that I wouldn't have because microtransactions reduced the cost for me to play.

                    Plus these games wouldn't cost so much if publishers didn't waste untold millions on things like marketing.

                    And if you don't market your game, how are you going to sell it? Grassroots and word of mouth only goes so far. There are hundreds, if not thousands of games released every year. With some few exceptions, no one has ever heard of most of them and they make very little money. The ones you do hear about and that do make money are the ones who invest in some solid marketing.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2018 @ 4:30pm

    TRT w/ TLB

    Not a gamer, but I wonder if a "loot box" is that much-maligned method that allows certain opponents in multi-player games to achieve super powers and completely dominate normal players?

    And speaking of loot boxes, it would be funny if Techdirt's Resident Troll bought a Techdirt Loot Box so he could freely post using the First Word / Last Word paid-post function without worrying about it being voted off the page -- or are First Word posts dependent on the post not being flagged?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 May 2018 @ 9:15pm

      Re: TRT w/ TLB

      Not a gamer, but I wonder if a "loot box" is that much-maligned method that allows certain opponents in multi-player games to achieve super powers and completely dominate normal players?

      They aren't always, but they certainly can be, and in fact that was one of the main reasons the whole thing blew up in the industry's face. Star Wars: Battlefront 2 tied character progress to what you got from loot boxes rather than game progress and playtime, such that someone could easily dump a bunch of money and be much more powerful than someone who had played a bunch but who hadn't dropped a bunch of money into the game.

      'Pay to win' isn't always tied to lootboxes, someone it's tied to purchases that you know the contents of(weapons, armor, stuff like that), but the most egregious examples of lootboxes can and have certainly involved that.

      And speaking of loot boxes, it would be funny if Techdirt's Resident Troll bought a Techdirt Loot Box so he could freely post using the First Word / Last Word paid-post function without worrying about it being voted off the page -- or are First Word posts dependent on the post not being flagged?

      That would require them to not only create an account but to give money to the hated TD, so while theoretically possible, it's very much not likely. As well whether or not a first/last word shows up is dependent on whether or not it's flagged if memory serves; if it's hidden in the comments then it doesn't show up up top/down below.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Reima Zadet (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 5:06am

      Re: TRT w/ TLB

      There was a blog that showed how overpowered you would become if you paid for loot boxes in Battlefront 2. The blog bought the $100 package and completely dominated the game for a few hours. It was to the point that they were pretty much invulnerable to non paying players.

      Someone did the math and the cost to purchase the locked heroes and items was something like $2500. If you wanted to unlock them through game play it was about 100 hours per hero and over 6000 hours to unlock everything.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2018 @ 4:30pm

    Loot boxes inherently clash with how I like to play games. I love mods that expand and alter game features. I love cheating to minimize features I don't like. I'm an adult with a day job and a life who isn't going to spend an extra several hours trying to master one small part of a game if I can just cheat or mod and move on with the story. Loot boxes are like paying for cheats that may or may not be helpful. They're monetizing features that used to be inherent in the games.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2018 @ 5:28pm

    I don't particularly like loot boxes for many of the reasons described in the articles and comments, but I struggle to conclude that it's gambling. If it is, then so is buying a pack of Magic: The Gathering cards hoping for a mythic rare foil.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2018 @ 5:59pm

      Re:

      "If it is, then so is buying a pack of Magic: The Gathering cards hoping for a mythic rare foil."

      Yeah, I'd say that's the same and also gambling.

      These kinds of purchases aren't exclusive, meaning they're not like raffles where everyone has an equal chance of getting one exclusive item of value. One person could buy one loot box and get the super magic best shiny item and another person could buy a hundred and never get anything of significant value. But a psychological principle is being exploited.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2018 @ 7:57pm

        Re: Re:

        Oh, a psychological principle is definitely being exploited. However, I still don't think it's gambling.

        Compare, for example, to a lottery scratch-off ticket. There are X tickets, and A, B, C, D, E many winners of various values. If you spend $200 in tickets and don't win anything, the paper you have is worthless. If you do win, the value of the ticket is precisely equal to the revealed prize.

        If you buy a booster box of M:TG cards, you might not get a mythic foil rare. However, you are still in possession of cards with which you can play the game. Any cash value associated with said cards is a result of the secondary market. That mythic rare foil isn't intrinsically worth a certain dollar amount, and some players don't care what a card's value in the secondary market is. Similarly, even in older cases like baseball cards where each card was the same rarity, you weren't at a loss if you didn't unwrap a particular year's star. You still had the baseball cards.

        Now, at the risk of sounding inconsistent or contradictory, I believe that the stock market is much more like gambling than a loot box or a pack of MTG cards.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 7:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The rare foil does have immediate value -- the value traders put on the card. Primary or secondary market doesn't matter if the object can immediately be traded for real cash value.

          Lottery tickets are no different. They have an immediate cash value in an amount the secondary market agrees upon. Money is just a pile of printed (or electronic) denominations. Its value is only that which others agree it is worth.

          MTG cards, Steam game loot boxes, lottery tickets; All exactly the same thing.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2018 @ 6:02pm

      Re:

      Those are physical loot boxes, yes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 10:09am

        Re: Re:

        I think you have this backwards, we are the loot boxes and the publishers are the ones gambling on which 'sucker' is going to pay out the most for that shiny set of ones and zeros (that's all that's in every single loot box in every single game out there).

        And yet we keep giving them money and complaining about it... Please mam may I have another?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2018 @ 6:07pm

      Re:

      To a degree. My understanding is that MTG skirts around the issue by stating that in each pack you will get x commons, x uncommons, x rares, with a 1 in x chance that the rare will be replaced with a mythic rare, etc.

      Contrast that with loot boxes in video games where there isn't a set "you will get x rarity per box". Not to mention that with loot boxes the odds are not disclosed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 12:57am

      Re:

      That's a tired example that crops up every time in these discussions. Basically, not the same things because:

      - The odds of getting such a card are fairly clear (it's stated how many common, uncommon, rare, etc. you can expect in an average pack)
      - The odds are also fixed (some games have been found to change odds according to the player)
      - You therefore have a known minimum value for the contents of the pack (lands + minimum value for each rarity, loot boxes can sometimes give you nothing of any worth)
      - There is a vibrant secondary market for the cards (you don't have to buy lots of packs to get a specific card, you can buy it outright)
      - While such cards can give you a competitive advantage, they're not required to win (whereas with videogames, often it's hard or impossible to beat people who have already got the best gear).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 1:09am

        Rare cards and then foils.

        I don't know if Mtg did something with superrares. When I was playing it was only common, uncommon and rare. Boosters were fifteen cards including one rare and three uncommons. After Mirage no lands were in boosters, only in starters.

        The thing is many of the rares were not particularly valuable and then a few of them were super valuable, specifically because they were essential for key strategies. So a Jester's Cap would sell for $30. A Shivan Dragon was always a cool $12. But most rares would not fetch $1.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 1:44am

        Re: Re:

        The odds of getting such a card are fairly clear

        The odds are also fixed

        Both of these are true for lottery scratch-offs, and those are definitely gambling.

        You therefore have a known minimum value for the contents of the pack

        No you don't. The value comes from the secondary market, and is therefore variable. I can't go to Wizards of the Coast, give them a rare from a predefined list, and get a dollar. If WOTC inserted cards that did that, then I would consider it gambling.

        loot boxes can sometimes give you nothing of any worth

        It's my understanding that you get something out of every loot box. Whether it has any value is defined by the players. A piece of gear might be considered garbage today but in 3 months when the meta changes, all of a sudden it's overpowered.

        There is a vibrant secondary market for the cards

        There could be a vibrant secondary market for the contents of loot boxes too, if the game developers created a way for it to exist. If game A's loot box contents can be traded but game B's can't, does that mean that game A's boxes are not gambling but game B's are?

        While such cards can give you a competitive advantage, they're not required to win (whereas with videogames, often it's hard or impossible to beat people who have already got the best gear)

        I don't see how that's relevant to whether or not the loot box is gambling. Even if I open a box and get the UberGun 5000, it's not going to help me much if I suck at the game and routinely get headshotted 5 seconds after I respawn. It's not suddenly gambling if I arbitrarily have a level of proficiency that means having the gun will matter to my gameplay.

        I don't support what game companies are doing with loot boxes and DLC. I just don't think it should be classified as gambling.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 2:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Both of these are true for lottery scratch-offs, and those are definitely gambling"

          Largely because you're playing for money. If you put money into one of those machines that has balls containing toys, it's not considered gambling just because you might not get the specific toy you want.

          "The value comes from the secondary market, and is therefore variable."

          Variable, yes. Unknown, no.

          "I can't go to Wizards of the Coast, give them a rare from a predefined list, and get a dollar."

          But, you can go to thousands of other places and do that.

          "It's my understanding that you get something out of every loot box"

          Irrelevant. If every spin on a slot machine gave you a minimum of a penny back, that wouldn't suddenly make them not gambling.

          "There could be a vibrant secondary market for the contents of loot boxes too"

          But, there's often not, and that's part of the point. If you want a specific item, you either have to play for thousands of hours, or spend an unknown amount of money to get it from a loot box with unknown odds, that some developers have admitted tailoring to individual players. You can't just say "I'll spend $5 on that item", you have to say "I'll keep buying loot boxes until it appears".

          "If game A's loot box contents can be traded but game B's can't, does that mean that game A's boxes are not gambling but game B's are?"

          Not necessarily, but it changes the paradigm. There's a huge difference between being able to buy an item individually if you want it, and only being able to obtain it through an unknown number of random drawings.

          "I don't see how that's relevant to whether or not the loot box is gambling."

          Then you really don't understand the entire issue. This wasn't anywhere near as much of a problem in games which only had cosmetic items in the boxes.

          "I just don't think it should be classified as gambling."

          Then we disagree. These things clearly prey on a minority of people who will spend vast amounts of money on a chance to have a competitive advantage in a game. People who will spend money they cannot afford to spend, and would not spend so much if the items were freely available outside of the loot boxes. That's the same as gambling addicts, whether or not you want to use that term.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 3:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            odds, that some developers have admitted tailoring to individual players.

            Well that's just all kinds of BS and should absolutely be called out.

            If you put money into one of those machines that has balls containing toys, it's not considered gambling just because you might not get the specific toy you want.

            Response 1 - Machine = game. Ball = loot box. Toy = in-game item. Substitute: If you put money into one of those games that has loot boxes containing in-game items, it's not considered gambling just because you might not get the specific in-game item you want.

            I don't see a difference between your original statement and the substituted one.

            Response 2:

            But it also doesn't become gambling just because everyone thinks the green toy is cooler, or is twice as big, or someone is willing to pay you $5000 if you happen to get the green toy, or if my intended purpose before dropping my first coin into the machine is to get that green toy for the purpose of selling it for that $5000. I paid money, I got an item. Not gambling.

            With a loot box, you pay a certain amount of money, and you get something in exchange for it. That one possible something happens to have greater secondary market value or in-game utility than another something doesn't make your purchase gambling. You'd just have to decide if the least desirable result was still worth the money spent for the purchase. If it's not, you shouldn't make the purchase.

            If you want the candy bar solely because there might be a Golden Ticket inside, then buying candy bars isn't suddenly gambling, even if you can't get a Golden Ticket any other way. You still bought candy bars... you just didn't get the candy bar you wanted. It's not gambling if you buy one candy bar - it's not gambling if you buy 500 candy bars. You bought a loot box - you got items... maybe you didn't get the item you wanted, but it's still not gambling if you bought 500 boxes and got 500 things that weren't what you really wanted.

            These things clearly prey on a minority of people who will spend vast amounts of money on a chance to have a competitive advantage in a game.

            Yes, they do. I don't dispute that. Casinos take advantage of people with addiction behaviors. Loot boxes take advantage of people with addiction behaviors. Packs of M:TG cards take advantage of people with addiction behaviors. But out of Casinos, Loot boxes, and M:TG cards, only one of those three is actually gambling.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 3:58am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Well that's just all kinds of BS and should absolutely be called out."

              It is being called out, and it's one of the reasons why there's moves to have these things regulated as gambling. There are restrictions specifically to stop them doing stuff like that with other forms of gambling, they've just been able to get away with it in loot boxes so far.

              "I paid money, I got an item. Not gambling."

              I paid money into a slot machine. I got money back, even if it's just a penny every time. Not gambling.

              Hmmm... that just seems ridiculous, doesn't it?

              "Packs of M:TG cards take advantage of people with addiction behaviors"

              Not really. People have the option to buy exactly what they want, or they can buy packs to have the random chance element. Some people might go overboard, but there's no reason they can't go to any of a thousand places and buy the exact card they want off the bat. Some might have a problem buying the boosters, but it's not a requirement to take part.

              That's the major differentiator - the games designed around non-cosmetic loot are designed to favour the people who spend the most money on loot boxes. They have chances at the larger prizes, but the fact they get a consolation prize if they don't win the big one doesn't mean that they are not gambling. If that's all it took, every casino game and slot machine would give a minimum payout every turn to circumvent regulations. There's a lot of other factors involved, but that's the main one.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 8:44am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I paid money into a slot machine. I got money back, even if it's just a penny every time. Not gambling.

                Hmmm... that just seems ridiculous, doesn't it?

                People pay 51 cents at Disneyland to get a penny pressed into a souvenir. Not ridiculous, and not gambling. But then, the thing they get for their 51 cents isn't really a penny anymore, now it's a hunk of metal with an impression on it that the buyer felt was worth 51 cents. If there was an element of randomness to that penny-pressing machine where certain impressions had a value in a secondary market, that 51 cents doesn't suddenly become a wager.

                Paying a dollar to get nothing other than a penny would be ridiculous. Paying a dollar for a soda and a penny isn't. Paying a dollar to get a card, a toy, or an in-game item isn't either. You got something. That you didn't know precisely what you were getting before you got it doesn't make it gambling (a bad purchase, perhaps, but not gambling). If you didn't decide that the worst possible item you could get in return for your dollar was worth said dollar, then you shouldn't buy it.

                Would you feel that paying a dollar for a soda and a penny would be gambling if you didn't know which soda you were going to get in advance? Would knowing that you could resell a Pepsi for $5 but a Coke would only get you $.50 turn your soda purchase into gambling if it wasn't before? What if you didn't care about the resale value, and just wanted to drink a random soda? Does your intent for the purchase factor into whether it's gambling? If I go to a casino and spend $500 on slots but feel that the time I spent playing was worth it for the experience, does that mean I wasn't gambling?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 9:36am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "People pay 51 cents at Disneyland to get a penny pressed into a souvenir"

                  Yes, they choose to pay money for entertainment and a unique physical souvenir. What does that have to do with this?

                  "Paying a dollar to get nothing other than a penny would be ridiculous."

                  Yes, but many would still do that if they were in for a chance of getting much more than the penny. Hence, gambling.

                  "If I go to a casino and spend $500 on slots but feel that the time I spent playing was worth it for the experience, does that mean I wasn't gambling?"

                  Of course not. Likewise, if you spend $500 trying to get a specific item from lootboxes, it still is gambling.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 7:54pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    >if you spend $500 trying to get a specific item from lootboxes, it still is gambling.

                    I don't think we're going to reach common ground here. Your above statement implies that any purchase with an element of chance in determining what you get for that purchase must be gambling. This would include the toy-in-ball machine, and the only reason you say it doesn't is simply because nobody feels that the toys have any secondary market value. It seems to me that if the toys did have a secondary value, you'd consider the machine gambling at that point.

                    Meanwhile, if this line of reasoning were legislated, we'd have to tell all those 10 year old kids who want Pokemon cards that they can only buy specific cards from the secondary market, because buying sealed packs of random cards is gambling and they aren't old enough to do that.

                    Still, I did enjoy the debate, I feel you made some good points, and it wouldn't surprise me if loot boxes do get some form of regulation.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 11 May 2018 @ 2:59am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "Your above statement implies that any purchase with an element of chance in determining what you get for that purchase must be gambling."

                      Only if you don't read it properly.

                      "It seems to me that if the toys did have a secondary value, you'd consider the machine gambling at that point"

                      Then, again, you would be wrong and you're not understanding what I'm saying for some reason.

                      "it wouldn't surprise me if loot boxes do get some form of regulation."

                      As they absolutely should, due to their nature as gambling products.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 9:00am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                If that's all it took, every casino game and slot machine would give a minimum payout every turn to circumvent regulations.

                But that's exactly what the toy-in-ball machine does, and you already stated that it isn't gambling.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 9:47am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  For the reasons I already specified. Sorry this is so complicated for some people, it really is clear cut and it's rather tiring to see the same arguments repeated over and over when it's obvious that loot boxes are causing people to have gambling problems (which, to my knowledge, nobody has ever had an issue with in regard to toy vending machines).

                  Having worked in the gambling industry, it's very, very obvious that lootboxes are keying in on the same things that traditional gambling does and as such need to be regulated in the same way. Trying to wave it away with "but what about X" doesn't change the reality of why these are being considered gambling. Nobody's trying to take your little boxes away, but it's obvious that left unregulated some companies are placing easy profit above the reasonable welfare of some players in the same way that unscrupulous casinos would be if allowed.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 7:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Gambling isn't defined as "may reward you with money". It is defined as "giving something of value for the possibility of receiving something of greater value". That applies to loot boxes universally regardless of whether the object received has any monetary value. You wouldn't spend the money on them if the potential reward held no value, value which may simply take the form of making you more powerful in the game.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      vexer6 (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 7:43am

      Re:

      The difference is with Magic you can always sell or trade cards you don't need. But for the most part you can't really do that with in-game items you get via microtransactions(CS:GO being an exception).

      It's not gambling, it's FAR worse then gambling because it does not have the same kind of oversight and laws that real gambling does, Jim Sterling expertly made that point.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 9 May 2018 @ 5:59pm

    As a recovered victim of MtG addiction...

    ...I have no love for loot boxes and steer clear of any game that uses them.

    But then again, I avoid MMOs and MMO-lites that require persistent online connections.

    Curiously, this has not really dwindled my game-playing options yet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 11:55am

      Re: As a recovered victim of MtG addiction...

      It would if what you want is an MMO experience.

      Just because it's not your cup of tea doesn't make it good or bad. If others want to waste money on a gamble, they can; but the gamble should still be done ethically.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 12:35pm

        MMO experiences

        That's true. And I've avoided MMOs because they're so easy to lose months over, also the ongoing payment plan.

        On the other hand Borderlands (any of them) use a listen server hosted by one of the players for co-op play. The Division can do the exact same thing, but rather likes to pretend it's an MMO for sake of DRM. As such it severely restricts item trading even though open trading combined with its crafting system would make a really great way to connect players.

        So far, for me, the disadvantages of mandated persistent online connections, even when justified by the nature of the game, have outweighed the advantages.

        Of course that could be because I lived in the US in regions that have a poor selection of internet options. If I could get cheap and consistent fiber, I might feel differently.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2018 @ 11:12pm

    OT: Patreon raffles = illegal gambling

    I've noticed a number of Youtubers that occasionally offer some kind of raffle giveaway for their financial contributers, which is technically illegal under both state and federal laws here in the US. They could easily legalize such giveaways by turning them into some kind of game of skill rather than chance, or offer the prize to non-Patreon-members in such a way that few people will enter the contest.

    One of these years there's bound to be a big crackdown, and hopefully it will be by Patreon or Youtube rather than by the FBI or local police.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Madd the Sane (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 12:13am

      Re: OT: Patreon raffles = illegal gambling

      Yeah, I was a watcher of a gaming stream where they would do a fundraiser for the local (to them) Big Cat Rescue and used to only offer raffle rewards to those that donated. She explicitly said that she changed it to anyone who entered because otherwise "That'd be gambling."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 5:52am

        Re: Re: OT: Patreon raffles = illegal gambling

        The usual legal dodge for things like candy bar wrappers was to tell people they could mail in a self-addressed stamped envelope to receive their game ticket, with the stipulation that each request had to be mailed in separately, which of course would cost more than simply buying the candy bar with its free one inside. And of course the obligatory "void where prohibited."

        Apparently few people complain or point out that contributors for whatever cause are not allowed to 'win' anything of substantial value back, and it's surprising that Patreon, as big as that service has become, does not inform people of this, considering how popular raffles seem to have become among organizers.

        Patreon, like Paypal years earlier, has already started banning people and organizations that participate in legal but controversial activities and speech, so it's already far from the blind, unmoderated money-transfer service it started out as -- even if the company is blind to the gambling going on.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 12:17pm

          "Enter as often as you like" so I am.

          This lead to the amusing (but fictional scenario) in which Lazlo in Real Genius built an automated system using old vector plotters to mechanically fill out thousands of postcards to take advantage of such a loophole.

          In the movie he won a lot of the prizes. Dunno how it would work out IRL. But the tech was there to do it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 1:09am

    "But the loot box fervor hit its pique after the release of Star Wars Battlefront 2, with EA being forced to massively alter how its loot boxes worked in game."

    ....and I still haven't bought the thing despite having enjoyed the first game, which I bought on the day of release.

    "Making it somewhat strange, therefore, that the gaming industry seems to want to embrace loot boxes as its dominant business model."

    Not particularly strange, as it hinges on the same thing that is often stated here - you don't need to sell to a million people, just a few hundred big fans who are willing to pay you more. The problem is that this depends on the "big fans" being gambling addicts who are willing to pay thousands for a chance to get a specific item. The issue is that while most people won't spend an extra penny, or will buy a couple of items, some people will pay much more money than they can afford.

    "Free to play mobile games are one thing, but the moment EA tried this in a paid-for console game, the shit hit the fan."

    Not quite. The problem was a perfect storm of issues - loot boxes on a full priced game, loot boxes that contained items that gave the player an advantage (other full priced games with cosmetic-only prizes didn't cause the same backlash), no way of obtaining the prizes individually, ridiculous amounts of gameplay required to earn the prizes without buying loot boxes, and a big-name licence with big stakes for other companies (Disney came down hard on the issue due to the tie-ins with the new movie).

    Any one of these issues alone would have been fine, but EA screwed themselves by combining all of the above.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 3:10am

    If you don't think a loot box is worth it's price, don't buy them. If you think a game is bad (for lootboxes or something else), don't play it. Play something else that's better instead. That's all it takes. Nobody's forcing you to play Star Wars or whatever.

    Games have always had random rewards and some of those rewards have always been more rare or advantageous to gameplay. It's no more "gambling" to buy loot boxes than to beat some raid boss a bazillion times to get its 1% drop. Or indeed trading card packs, easter eggs with toys in them, etc.

    But some people just aren't happy unless they're ruining it for someone else. If they don't like loot boxes, nobody else should be allowed to, either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 3:42am

      Re:

      "If you don't think a loot box is worth it's price, don't buy them."

      The problem is that some people do think they're worth the price. So much so that they're actually spending hundreds or thousands of dollars that they can't afford. This is why it needs to be treated as gambling, because the same issues are present.

      It's not about whether or not you want to play the new Battlefront, it's that they decided to make some elements of the game favour the people who spent the most money on random chance - and that some people don't know when to stop spending.

      "Games have always had random rewards and some of those rewards have always been more rare or advantageous to gameplay."

      Yes, included in the game. It's being expected to pay for that privilege that's the problem.

      "It's no more "gambling" to buy loot boxes than to beat some raid boss a bazillion times to get its 1% drop."

      Yes, it actually is. The external factors are the important thing. This is why casino games that use an internal currency aren't generally considered gambling, but the same game using real money is.

      "But some people just aren't happy unless they're ruining it for someone else."

      Those people being the leeches at the large publishers who found a new way to fleece their more vulnerable players using the same tactics used in gambling. Given this, they should be regulated as such.

      The presence of loot boxes isn't a problem in and of itself. But, if they're acting as gambling they need to be regulated as gambling.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jinxed (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 5:34am

    "If the gaming industry doesn't correct course soon, we could easily see a slowdown in an industry otherwise primed for massive growth."

    Nope. Never going to happen because gamers will not change their behavior.

    Almost every game known for having loot boxes continues to climb in sales.

    Doesn't matter if the gamer actively buys loot boxes are not, the game is selling.

    If consumers want loot boxes to go away, stop buying the damn game.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 9:32am

      Re:

      Sigh... another article about gamers, another idiot attacking them as if they're a hive mind who all do the same thing.

      You're the true idiot if you actually think that. Especially since you're attacking people on the most likely forum for them to be informed and act as you wish.

      (For the record, I didn't but SW:BF2 for this exact reason - and a lot of other people also boycotted it, which is why EA have been scrambling to regain players since release. Perhaps instead of attacking people, you should pay attention to what they are actually doing)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 12:14pm

        Long running boycots

        I ceased purchasing EA games after they mandated the Origins client and its (still) draconian TOS.

        The effect is that, yeah, I've been sad because some of my favorite franchises are EA (and now Star Wars) but on the other hand, all their more recent stuff has veered further away from what made them great.

        And now, EA is determined to treat its customers / clientele as adversarial entities from whom they need to bleed money by manipulation and coercion.

        In this case, by putting my foot down early, it seems I've saved myself big heaps of woe.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 4:08pm

          Re: Long running boycots

          I too long ago put EA on a short list of gaming houses I would no longer buy games from. I see EA on the cover, I walk.

          EA has been responsible for some of the shadiest business practices and unless absolutely forced will continue in that bent. Their crapping on gamers who like to game for the sake of more money came to a head and resulted in my boycott of everything EA. I have no doubt over the years it's cost them dearly to be assholes.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 11 May 2018 @ 3:04am

          Re: Long running boycots

          "I ceased purchasing EA games after they mandated the Origins client and its (still) draconian TOS"

          Lots of people did. Some switched to only using sites like GoG to buy their games. Some switched to purely indie titles. Some used it as a reason to abandon PC gaming altogether.

          That's my point - every time some drooling idiot comes in here to attack gamers as if they're a single entity, they are actually attacking lots of people who are doing exactly as they demand. It's strange how it's only ever gamers who get this kind of vitriol - I've never seen people attacking movie watchers as a single entity because of something distasteful Hollywood is doing.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 12:10pm

      "gamers will not change their behavior."

      a) Presumptive.

      b) As it is with gamblers, addicts and voters, that doesn't mean there isn't a problem or it can't be resolved.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John85851 (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 2:37pm

      Re:

      Yes, exactly: stop buying the game.

      Sure, people can protest and say how evil loot boxes are, but game companies will *never* change their behavior until it affects their bottom line. And as long as people buy the games with loot boxes *despite* the protests, game companies will keep doing it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    OeeOh, 10 May 2018 @ 6:18am

    How much do devs and publishers donate to political campaigns?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      OeeOh, 10 May 2018 @ 6:20am

      Re: How much do devs and publishers donate to political campaigns?

      Oops.
      Anywho, you have to pay to be able to affect legislature. How important the industry feels lootboxes are doesn't have a damn thing to do with whether governments will prohibit them. Unless you pony up the cash, you don't get to write the laws.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 9:27am

    hit its pique?

    Helmeted One, how the hell did you end up using the word "pique" instead of "peak"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    David (profile), 10 May 2018 @ 2:34pm

    EA is the leader of horrible consumer interaction.

    EA used to be my goto for many games. That has changed. Of course, so has gaming on PC/Consoles. First the increase in graphics and processing power means more effort to create the game, and that entire snowball of escalating costs.

    Then mobile started up and the gaming industry had to take notice. It is important to note that EA, and many publishers, are run by suits. The suits are cash focused and are risk adverse. The dearth of originality in AAA games is directly tied to people that don't understand gaming. To produce a successful game they believe that their game must check off the exact same checklists as the recent popular game. Popular standing in for the real phrase, huge sales.

    Mobile gaming is largely free 2 play. And they do microtransactions to the max. That is what is noticed by EA suits. If they can transition away from their fan base to the mobile-like market heavy with micro-transactions and loot boxes they will.

    Mobile gaming is the new cash cow. The games are much cheaper to produce. The graphics are lower quality and rudimentary at best. Compared to PC/Consoles that is. The entire customer base understands and supports many games with micro-transactions which includes loot boxes.

    Loot boxes are here to stay until regulators get clued in on the fact that they are gambling. In every sense of the word. Regardless of their fancy footwork & bald faced lies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2018 @ 5:57pm

      Re: EA is the leader of horrible consumer interaction.

      The critical part is that it was a full-priced game, with free-to-play cash methods.

      If you play a game with built-in multiplayer for free, regardless of platform, it's pretty much expected that you'll have to either grind for a week or pay $10 to unlock that cool thing you want. It's what allows everyone else to play the base game.

      But if you have to pay a full-price entry fee, there's no need for that. You're footing your own bill just by showing up.

      It's like the difference between buying a car and renting a car. You can rent a car for a tiny fraction of the cost of buying a car, you just might have to pay extra for the miles you put on it. Nobody's got a problem with that. But if you're buying a car for $20,000 and then you still have to pay the dealer a buck a mile, you'd probably be pretty pissed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 12 May 2018 @ 4:01pm

    I never got into online gaming. Back when playing online just meant setting up multiplayer matches in a game after you'd finished the single player campaign, I was never really sure how to do it, how to find game servers online, etc. When online only games like World of Warcraft came out, I didn't have an updated enough system to play them, plus I didn't want the expense of having to pay a monthly subscription.

    Now, after reading about loot boxes, paying for DLC to give you an advantage and all the other crap associated with online games today, I don't even want to play them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 12 May 2018 @ 4:53pm

      Multiplayer: Oldies but goodies.

      Borderlands and Left 4 Dead do it right. Saints Row 2,3 and 4 if want to play with a (one) friend.

      Granted, these are titles that either invented co-op play or were intended to make co-op a central feature, and happened before TF2 got busy with hats.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.