MidnightDragon

FTC to investigate lootboxes

68 posts in this topic

They might as investigate trading cards and subscription boxes like Loot Crate, Doki Doki, and ButcherBox. 

It's truly pedantic at this point. 

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What about the countless mobile games out there that charge you an arm and a leg for most of their microtransactions, including offering their own lootboxes?

 

They might as well accept these because they are not going away. The mobile game industry is making a killing these days getting gullible parents and kids to pay hundreds if not a thousand dollars for lootboxes, microtransactions and whatever else these companies see as fancy.

 

With Fallout Shelter still being fairly popular I hope it doesn't get worse.

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9 minutes ago, Senor_T_Dub said:

It’s not the same thing. Trading cards and such provide a tangible product that can be resold and are typically purchased for a specific hobby/reason, they are not pushed or marketed in a way that resembles gambling to minors.

 

Aside from the subscription services. A TCG offers the same concept of gambling to children as a loot box in a game does. The ability to resell the contents of a trading card pack gives it MORE of a gambling incentive than digital goods have.  

 

Also, "think of the children" is a dumb concern in this day in age when digital devices all have parental controls that can stop children from buying or adding funds to anything without their parents permission. So long as a child has money they can go to a store and buy as many trading cards as they can afford. 

 

The government is wasting my tax dollars and their time because you gamers raised silly and poorly thought out non-issues.

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14 minutes ago, TJ_Solo said:

A TCG offers the same concept of gambling to children as a loot box in a game does.

 

Just look at the pricing of Modern Masters. 

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I see someone brought up Loot Crate. Are we going to place them in the same category as game loot boxes? Serious question. You do get physical items at least.

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15 minutes ago, skateak said:

I see someone brought up Loot Crate. Are we going to place them in the same category as game loot boxes? Serious question. You do get physical items at least.

Then what about CDs versus MP3s?

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Are we going to place them in the same category as game loot boxes?

 

I brought up subscription boxes. I didn't say they were the exact same. However, I did comment that the concept of gambling is a shared trait regardless of one being physical and the other digital.  Nothing is being said about value, pricing, or other direct comparisons. The concept of gambling the game whether it's being doing with virtual or physical good.

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51 minutes ago, Phil said:

I'm surprised anybody still has doubts of the impact loot boxes in video games has on individuals with addictive personalities. Since when did this ever have anything to do with kids? The majority of large proponents for loot box regulation point towards the fact that it's gambling, which it is. The esrb clearly states that gambling mechanics in games automatically gives the game an AO rating, which they should. Since they have failed to impliment their own system, governments world wide will step in. I think the game industry has been given enough time to self regulate. They refuse to since this is a huge cash cow for them. Their own fault. 

 

Also, yes, this should apply to mobile games as well. If the United States government steps in, you bet your ass they'll have every hand they can put in every pot.

 

 

Who said it had no impact? Loot crates are just another way for businesses to make money. If they make money then they continue with similar ideas.

Who said it had anything to do with kids? The entire campaign against BattleFront II was sent to governments framed under the guise of how harmful it is to introducing children to gambling. The Senator from Hawaii(a 0 gambling state) had several press conferences where he told stories about kids stealing their parents' credit cards for digital purchases. The children angle was just a cheap means to get government attention. 

 

If you're going to bring up the ESRB ratings then be honest about them and don't skim over facts. Professionals don't mince terms when creating rules or guidelines. Your casual usages of gambling is not how the ESRB defines it.They would have given DQXI the AO rating if they followed your reasoning. 

 

  • Real Gambling - Player can gamble, including betting or wagering real cash or currency 
  • Simulated Gambling - Player can gamble without betting or wagering real cash or currency

 

 

Quote

 

TEEN

Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

 

ADULTS ONLY

Content suitable only for adults ages 18 and up. May include prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content and/or gambling with real currency.

 
 

 

 

https://www.esrb.org/ratings/ratings_guide.aspx

Edited by TJ_Solo
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1 hour ago, Phil said:

I'm surprised anybody still has doubts of the impact loot boxes in video games has on individuals with addictive personalities. Since when did this ever have anything to do with kids? The majority of large proponents for loot box regulation point towards the fact that it's gambling, which it is. The esrb clearly states that gambling mechanics in games automatically gives the game an AO rating, which they should. Since they have failed to impliment their own system, governments world wide will step in. I think the game industry has been given enough time to self regulate. They refuse to since this is a huge cash cow for them. Their own fault. 

 

Also, yes, this should apply to mobile games as well. If the United States government steps in, you bet your ass they'll have every hand they can put in every pot.

Totally agree, at the very minimum odds of winning need to be disclosed. Not to mention the governments are missing out on the taxes they could be charging, making it a pure cash business for companies. 

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4 hours ago, Bullstomp said:

 Not to mention the governments are missing out on the taxes they could be charging, making it a pure cash business for companies. 

 

 

When I buy a digital currency to buy loot boxes in a game, I pay VAT on that purchase, no?

The companies, in return, pay taxes again on the profits they make.

 

The governments basically already get two times money out of a non-tangible product ...

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6 hours ago, TJ_Solo said:

Who said it had no impact? Loot crates are just another way for businesses to make money.

 

They are not "just another way for businesses to make money". It has been proven time and time again that Loot Boxes make use of the same psychological ticks as gambling.

 

 

6 hours ago, TJ_Solo said:

If they make money then they continue with similar ideas.

 

So just because they make money, that makes the practice good in and of itself? Drug, arms and human trafficking also make a lot of money. That doesn't mean it's not illegal.

Not that I believe Loot Boxes should be made illegal, mind you, just that they should be regulated as gambling.

 

 

6 hours ago, TJ_Solo said:

Who said it had anything to do with kids? The entire campaign against BattleFront II was sent to governments framed under the guise of how harmful it is to introducing children to gambling. The Senator from Hawaii(a 0 gambling state) had several press conferences where he told stories about kids stealing their parents' credit cards for digital purchases. The children angle was just a cheap means to get government attention.

 

Then you should check out this BBC article which reports that, according to a British Gambling Commission study, the number of child gamblers in the UK has quadrupled in the last two years.

 

You know what also happened two years ago? Overwatch came out. Yes, the same Overwatch that popularized the concept of Loot Boxes. The study even names and shames Loot Boxes as a likely cause of this rampant increase.

 

 

6 hours ago, TJ_Solo said:
  • Real Gambling - Player can gamble, including betting or wagering real cash or currency 
  • Simulated Gambling - Player can gamble without betting or wagering real cash or currency

 

You do realize that when you're buying loot boxes, you're buying them with actual, real money, no? Then that makes it actual, real gambling.

 

Simulated gambling is when you're gambling with in-game money. Money that you can only get through gameplay and no other way.


I would recommend you read this blog post I wrote nearly a year ago. It answers a lot of your arguments on the matter.

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Quote

 

They are not "just another way for businesses to make money". It has been proven time and time again that Loot Boxes make use of the same psychological ticks as gambling.


 

 

And? You say that as if gambling is universally illegal. If we go by my country, sorry not checking for yours, then gambling is regulated. Various State governments even run their own lottery.  "Ticking" psychological boxes doesn't counter the fact it is a viable and legal(in many places) means to make money. If your country says gambling is illegal then that's a regional thing that doesn't make it illegal in my country.

 

Quote

So just because they make money, that makes the practice good in and of itself? 

 

I am not here tossing around ideas of good and evil. All I have is facts. It is factally, not illegal for these companies to sell loot crates. It is cherry-picking and hypocritical to claim digital gambling is worse than physical forms. 

 

Quote

Then you should check out this BBC article which reports that, according to a British Gambling Commission study, the number of child gamblers in the UK has quadrupled in the last two years.

 

Then you should reply to the other guy that stated "Since when was this about children". I am already aware of how people used children to further this agenda.

 

Quote

You do realize that when you're buying loot boxes, you're buying them with actual, real money, no? Then that makes it actual, real gambling.

 

I quoted the ESRB to show they don't give games the AO rating just for having gambling in them. The AO rating is for gambling the uses real currency. 

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The investigation was a no-brainer. The Economist had a great article about this recently. Their view is that game companies should get out in front of this immediately, or risk dire consequences.

 

I think this will rectify itself soon, but you never know with game companies.

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Gambling by definition is is the wagering of money or something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome.

 

My opinion.

As long you can buy with real money the currency/items needed for lootboxes(uncertain outcome) it is considered gambling. Claiming it to be simulated gambling is like going to a casino where I need to buy chips to bid and they tell me its not gambling because they are not a real currency. If they want it to be simulated gambling they need to take out the option to buy the currency with real money. In Canada gambling is reserved to the adult. ESRB should rate it adult only.

 

Also the effect gambling have on a child brain is terrible.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, TJ_Solo said:

 

And? You say that as if gambling is universally illegal. If we go by my country, sorry not checking for yours, then gambling is regulated. Various State governments even run their own lottery.  "Ticking" psychological boxes doesn't counter the fact it is a viable and legal(in many places) means to make money. If your country says gambling is illegal then that's a regional thing that doesn't make it illegal in my country.

 

You are ignoring the next paragraph I wrote, which quite clearly states that I don't want loot boxes to be made illegal, just that I want them to have the same regulations as gambling.

 

 

4 minutes ago, TJ_Solo said:

I am not here tossing around ideas of good and evil. All I have is facts. It is factally, not illegal for these companies to sell loot crates. It is cherry-picking and hypocritical to claim digital gambling is worse than physical forms.

 

It becomes illegal if you include gambling in games sold to children aged 3 and up.

 

Also, with "physical gambling", i.e. Trading Card games and the like, you are getting actual, physical items that you can sell, trade, or collect, minimizing the monetary losses to the buyer. With loot boxes, if you get a bunch of duplicates... those are worth nothing. Just a bunch of useless ones and zeros. So yes, they are worse.

(And these are all things you would have known if you read the blog post I linked you to)

 

10 minutes ago, TJ_Solo said:

Then you should reply to the other guy that stated "Since when was this about children". I am already aware of how people used children to further this agenda.

 

I mean... @Phil isn't wrong. Gambling can be possibly damaging for anyone, not just children. The thing is, at least the forms of gambling recognized by the law are regulated and there are mechanisms in place to prevent children from accessing them, hence, minimizing their damage and the early onset of addictive tendencies. Since loot boxes aren't recognized by the law as gambling (yet), all I'm asking is for that recognition to be made and for loot boxes to be given the same regulations as more traditional forms of gambling.

 

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TGCs are worse since money can be made depending on what cards are received. That "ticks" the gambling and reward psychology too. But Where's the call to regulate that? Yeah, the agenda doesn't follow common sense. 

 

And what does regulating do besides making the government step in to say kids can't legally buy loot crates? The landscape would literally be the same except with a bigger disclaimer on games. Adults would remain the ones buying loot crates. Nothing fixed. Nothing improved. Just more useless red tape because you want to government to raise your children. 

 

Gambling might be addictive. So? Addictions are personal problems individuals need to address by seeking help. A store isn't going to deny the sale of alcohol to a alcoholic Nor will a store stop selling cigarettes to a person with lung cancer. If someone wants to stop indulging their addictions then it's on them to seek help not the companies providing the supply. 

 

I am ignoring a lot of what you say because I am not going to fill up my comments with quote blocks. 

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From what I have read, casino's did not do very well before gambling was invented. As for computer games, I think they did quite well already.

 

Comparing regular gambling with gambling mechanics in games is comparing apples and pears. One thing exists because of itself, the other exists because apparently it can.

 

When you look at gambling legislation, it's a bit like any other thing that you would rather not have at all in your society but will happen anyway (prostitution, drugs, gambling, etc). You try to regulate and contain, hoping that people will not flock to illegality. But like I already pointed out, games can be games pretty well without this unwanted stuff. My guess is that therefor it will just be banned outright in most if not all European countries.

 

"Do you NEED to give away a hooker with every car to sell it? No? Then just sell the car". I think and hope that's what will happen.

Edited by pinkrobot_pb
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More and more companies are getting more bolder with what they can get away with.  The digital cards EA gives out for example in ultimate teams.  It is just another way to pay more money to win a game, compete online, and most of the time complete a platinum.   I think that it would have been different if you were allowed to move your cards over to the next series but u cant.  you start all over again.  So all those cards that was purchased is now useless.  So u start again with the purchasing of the cards from scratch again.  

 

Just a simple example.

 

My thoughts are that if companies want to make them, then there need safe points to pass through for players, or create a whole new catagory strictly designed to Loot Boxes.  Some people do like them.  I am against children playing any game that requires money to obtain a loot boxes to keep up with everybody else though.  I didnt have to do that when I was a kid, why should my kids have too.  

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25 minutes ago, TJ_Solo said:

TGCs are worse since money can be made depending on what cards are received. That "ticks" the gambling and reward psychology too. But Where's the call to regulate that? Yeah, the agenda doesn't follow common sense.

 

In all honesty... it's your argument that makes no sense. If you sell a specific card, then that constitutes a regular business transaction, not gambling. It couldn't possibly be considered gambling since you know the outcome of the transaction.

By removing the uncertain outcome, you are removing what makes gambling gambling.

(Also, you don't necessarily need to sell the cards. Just look at the name. It's a Trading Card game).

 

 

29 minutes ago, TJ_Solo said:

And what does regulating do besides making the government step in to say kids can't legally buy loot crates? The landscape would literally be the same except with a bigger disclaimer on games. Adults would remain the ones buying loot crates. Nothing fixed. Nothing improved. Just more useless red tape because you want to government to raise your children.

 

Well, for starters... children wouldn't be buying loot boxes like they currently do. I'd say that's a pretty big change.

 

Also, no consoles would carry any loot box games any longer, since regulation would bump those games to an Adults-Only rating and all three console manufacturers refuse to carry those on their platforms. There is also the fact that both Android and iOS also refuse Adults-Only games. That, in and of itself, would drastically reduce the audience and accessibility for these games.

 

Furthermore, considering the new regulations, even in platforms that allow Adults-Only titles, like Steam, since they require you to put in your birth date when you create your account, that would automatically prevent anyone under the age of 18 (that truthfully put in their birth date) from accessing those kinds of games.

 

So yeah. I'd say a lot would change. Not like it would completely prevent everything (no law ever does), but it would result in a massive decrease of these mechanics.

 

 

41 minutes ago, TJ_Solo said:

Gambling might be addictive. So? Addictions are personal problems individuals need to address by seeking help. A store isn't going to deny the sale of alcohol to a alcoholic Nor will a store stop selling cigarettes to a person with lung cancer. If someone wants to stop indulging their addictions then it's on them to seek help not the companies providing the supply.

 

Indeed. But:

 

  • No one here's denying that.
  • Gambling, tobacco and alcohol are all regulated and the law restricts its sale to minors. We're not calling on the government to ban loot boxes. Just to regulate them as they would gambling in order to reduce their accessibility, especially to children, whose brains and personality aren't fully developed yet.
  • Stores should, in my opinion, deny sales of alcohol to alcoholics and sales of tobacco to someone with lung cancer.
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There is no place for lootboxes in 60$ games.

I am pro allowing lootboxes and other such systems in f2p games.

I personally would make it a law that lootbox systems need to provide the player with the drop percentage of items and not ban them outright.

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1 hour ago, pinkrobot_pb said:

From what I have read, casino's did not do very well before gambling was invented. As for computer games, I think they did quite well already.

 

Comparing regular gambling with gambling mechanics in games is comparing apples and pears. One thing exists because of itself, the other exists because apparently it can.

 

I disagree.

 

Gambling is the same in casino or in games. You bid on a probability and the outcome is uncertain both in casino or in game. In the casino you either win or lose and in game you might just not get what you want, but since you can't do anything with the item you dont want it does look like losin to me. The fact game can exist without gambling wont change the stimulus the brain receive when you get the desired item in the lootboxe.

The biggest problem here is the use of real money in it and the influence it can have on a child.

 

But again this is only my opinion.

Edited by Nieird
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