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Loot boxes and microtransactions


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Lots of discussion currently on these.

They're getting worse. **** vile cynical money grubbing and has to be getting close to getting gambling regulations involved soon.

They're shit. Jim Sterling had some good videos recently on them, might link to them later here.

 

Edited by Chindie
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Sin City is the global capital of gambling. Casinos with colourful chips, well-postured croupiers and automaton pensioners plugged into slot machines. At first glance it might not seem sinister, but strip back the glamour and Las Vegas paints a sad picture - its denizens cogs in a billion-dollar machine fuelled by potentially addictive gaming. The novelty of the place can hide its true intentions.

That seediness might be hard to detect on the surface of many video games, but replace the roulette table with a Candy Crush wheel and the similarities become clearer. Think about how many times you've paid real-life money in a game for the chance to win an item you really wanted. Was it a nice Overwatch skin? Perhaps it was a coveted Hearthstone card. How many times did you not get the item you wanted, then immediately bought in for another chance to hit the big time?

Loot boxes are a virtual game of chance, but should this commonplace in-game feature now be considered real-life gambling?...

Are Loot Boxes Gambling? [Eurogamer Article]

So Eurogamer has done a bit of investigative journalism (first time for everything) and asked the major governing players in the industry what their stance on Loot Crates is. PEGI, ESRB and the Gambling Commission all chimed in and the outcome isn't good for the future of this industry. All three are in agreement that Loot Crates are not gambling.

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A petition on UK Gov has reached 10,000 signatures and therefore requires a response in 3 days on this topic. As is typical with this sort of thing, I agree with and endorse the sentiment (to get an offical stance from the Government on the legality in regards to gambling and loot boxes), but the way the question has been put forward is shoddy at best. There's also a couple of questions been asked by an MP on the topic, which typically take about a month for a reply. Of interest is the Isle of Man's specific laws that safeguard against in-game/in-app gambling/purchases, although I won't pretend to know the in's and out's of this, as it's the first I've heard of it. I've also read that the ESRB, PEGI and UKIE have all said loot boxes don't constitute gambling (on the basis you always 'win' something I believe), but as they have no real legal power it doesn't mean all that much if the Government take a different stance.

Edited by hogso
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If the purchase is for a guaranteed item (i.e. you pay £2.99 for a loot box that contains say, 100,000 gold, 10x potions) then that's fine. It's up to the user to determine whether they want to spend more money on a game they've already brought.

If the purchase is 'chance' (i.e. YOU COULD WIN an Elite card over 90ovr rating, but will more than likely win a crappy gold card with a 74ovr rating) then I am against those. That is gambling and should be removed from the game.

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They're in everything. The latest NBA game is riddled with them apparently. It's like this year's fad in gaming, but I bet this one doesn't completely die off.

Want really dodgy though? Forza 7. Forza 7 came out last week, reviewed etc, and it's clear they've messed with systems the series has built up over the years about structure and progression to turn those into loot boxes. Which is shitty.

What's worse, though... They've decided not to turn on the microtransaction loot boxes until a few weeks after release. So all the reviews go out, all the talk dies down, in come the money grabs.

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5 minutes ago, Chindie said:

They're in everything. The latest NBA game is riddled with them apparently. It's like this year's fad in gaming, but I bet this one doesn't completely die off.

Want really dodgy though? Forza 7. Forza 7 came out last week, reviewed etc, and it's clear they've messed with systems the series has built up over the years about structure and progression to turn those into loot boxes. Which is shitty.

What's worse, though... They've decided not to turn on the microtransaction loot boxes until a few weeks after release. So all the reviews go out, all the talk dies down, in come the money grabs.

 

Quote

While games as a service doesn’t have the best of reputations, contributing to countless debates over DLC, season passes and, most recently, loot boxes, a recent study reveals that a lot of us have eagerly bought into the model, and as a result, the value of the industry has tripled. 

Microtransactions And DLC Triple The Value Of Games Industry

With the ESRB, PEGI and the Gambling Commission all agreeing that these Loot Crates aren't gambling it's only going to get worse from here on out. Granted the Government could step in and end it all, but until they do the precedent now set by Forza 7, Shadow of War, Battlefront 2, NBA 2K18 and even WWE 2K18 is going to become the norm and the norm is going to get more extreme. All it takes is for the aforementioned games to sell well as it then tells every other Publisher that this practice is not just accepted by gamers, but it's wanted by gamers. 

We only have to go back to 2011 when the first Season Pass appeared to see how fast something becomes standard. Before 2011 no one knew what a Season Pass was in a gaming environment until LA Noire launched with the 'Rockstar Pass', which was a £10 Pass to get £20 worth of DLC (bought seperately). Now in hindsight that sounds like a great deal, but as with everything Publishers took the idea and raised the bar offering not just more content, but a higher price. 6 years later we now have £50 Games launching with £40-50 Season Passes with additional Microtransactions in-game. When there is a way to take the piss Publishers will. This Loot Crate thing is only going to get worse and we only have to look at Season Passes for proof of that. 

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36 minutes ago, Ingram85 said:

WWE 2k18 has loot boxes ffs, pay with in game currency, but still! In a wrestling game?! 

Watching some Loot Crate openings for that game is frustrating as ****.

You have a chance to get moves, taunts, create a wrestler parts, but the worst part is you also get consumables which similar to FIFA Ultimate Team are 1-5 Match use items. So not only do you need these Crates to flesh out create a wrestler, but you are hoping to get permanent items as they are largely more valuable than the single use items, but the single use items are of course the more common items in the Crates.

Oh and you still have to spend VC to unlock the item you "win" from the Crate. So you get it from a Crate which costs VC to unlock and then to activate the item you need more VC. Now some keen eyed gamers in the YouTube comments have said "that seems odd, or unfair", well it's only unfair because you spent 10,000 VC to buy the Crate, but I don't think this system will remain "free" for too long. The developers have stated there will be no Premium Crates or Currency, but I stopped believing multi-billion dollar corporations owned by even bigger multi-billion dollar corporations a long time ago. 

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They are not gambling though are they. You are guaranteed to get something. You just don't know exactly what it is. No different than any of the blind-box toys etc that are on the market. You might hope to get such & such but in reality you will more than likely end up with something else.

 

Is a kinder egg gambling because you don't know what toy is inside?

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7 hours ago, Chindie said:

Want really dodgy though? Forza 7. Forza 7 came out last week, reviewed etc, and it's clear they've messed with systems the series has built up over the years about structure and progression to turn those into loot boxes. Which is shitty.

Forza has had paid content for years, VIP packs that cost more, car passes that cost loads more, ultimate editions that feature the first 6 car passes but not the other 4 or 5 they later release. 2 additional dlc packs for every game all of which cost money.

Timed rewards boosts that could be paid for with real money (literally pay £3 for an hour of double xp) actually buying ingame cars individually with real money (some more than £10). 

Nothing in 7 is locked behind paid content, the dearest car is about 1.5 million (previous games were generally 6-10 million) If you have played forza games perviously you will get 300,000 or so cr per week from forza hub, which is enough to buy the dearest crate. Without mods on any sort of difficulty you get about 30-50,000 cr per race on the short distances and you get a free car/outfit or 70,000 every 3 or 4 races. Play longer distance races & this is pretty much every race. By the time you have played the career mode even half way through you should have more money than you know what to do with and more cars than you could ever hope to drive. SOME of the 700 cars are only in crates or the speciality dealer, SOME of the driver suits are only in crates but all of the cars will be available to purchase in the auction house anyway using only ingame currency so no need to spend a single penny of real money. just a few people have seen the word lootbox/crate and have decided to make up a giant pile of hysterical shite...

 

The crates are entirely optional & in every one (bar the small mods crates only) you are guaranteed a car,suit & some mods. sometimes the car is worth far more than the cost of the crate and if you have duplicates of anything you can sell them or are auto granted the monetary equivalent.

I have played 60 hours or so, have around 400 cars, 150 outfits and still have more than enough money to buy another 100+cars

Edited by LakotaDakota
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I know. I'm a fan of the series. There's been microtransactions for a while. I've bought season passes for the series before now. I last bought the Porsche expansion for 6.

They've added in paid content before, after reviews. Which is shitty. I believe they did it with 6.

But loot boxes are really dodgy. You don't need to buy them, but they're there and tap that gambling itch. You aren't buying a certain guaranteed thing like you do when you buy a car pack. Your buying a chance at something.

Iirc they've made things like modifications to the race to gain etc rewards a transaction now. That you can certainly buy with in-game currency, but you'll be able to pay for them soon enough.

It's not good.

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14 minutes ago, Chindie said:

I know. I'm a fan of the series. There's been microtransactions for a while. I've bought season passes for the series before now. I last bought the Porsche expansion for 6.

They've added in paid content before, after reviews. Which is shitty. I believe they did it with 6.

But loot boxes are really dodgy. You don't need to buy them, but they're there and tap that gambling itch. You aren't buying a certain guaranteed thing like you do when you buy a car pack. Your buying a chance at something.

Iirc they've made things like modifications to the race to gain etc rewards a transaction now. That you can certainly buy with in-game currency, but you'll be able to pay for them soon enough.

It's not good.

You have no idea what are in the car packs in the deluxe edition but still buy anyway...

Opening a crate guarantees a car, an outfit & some mods. It is guaranteed. You do not know exactly which variant of these things you will get but you will get them all.

You can/will lose if you gamble. You can not lose here, you always get something.

 

Have you ever bought panini/football stickers>? Are those gambling? of course not but you will buy 100's of packs because you need that one st.mirren player you haven't got

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Thing with stuff like trading cards, stickers, and yeah ok even frigging kinder eggs is the items contained are essentially of equal value. If you get one of the same type you already have, which holds greater value to someone else who doesn't have it, you can swap it for an item they hold which you value as equal.

There are games that have loot crates and a trading system, but not enough do. 

I agree, the way loot boxes are used in games isn't gambling, but the system is generally skewed so heavily in the favour of the 'house' it's utterly obscene how much they're allowed to get away with. 

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http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-10-18-activision-patented-method-of-tuning-matchmaking-to-boost-microtransactions

Modern Gaming sucks.

So it's been found that Activision have a patent for a matchmaking system that pairs low level newbies up with blinged out high level players to try and encourage/influence the new players into spending money on items and whatnot to rank up quicker/get the higher level stuff quicker. 

Acti of course deny that this system is in use in any of their games and say it was explored as part of a R&D project.

You can bet that it's in use though, most people wouldn't be able to tell I bet. The AAA sector is just horrible.

 

Edited by Ingram85
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That system is beyond bad and I hope for Activision's sake that it's not in use in any of their current games, that said even if it wasn't it's going to be in the next batch of games so would it really matter? Probably not.

The thing is that system can be used for anything;

It can scan the players username for clues, or the players preferred load outs, or their most used weapons.

If a player loves Submachine Guns for instance then he'll be match-made with people that have the best Loot Crate Submachine Guns, but it'll also pick close quarters maps to make sure that the guns look better than they are.

The same can be done on the reverse. If a guy buys a Loot Crate and gets a new Gun then the system will stick them on a map where it performs best, that way they feel like they made a good purchase and they are much more likely to buy more. 

Games as a service always intrigued me as I wondered where it would go, but as time goes on it's clear that greed is the only place this is going. 

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I don't think that this would actually work very well and rather than get people to buy things it would more than likely just put them off playing online at all.

Nobody wants to be the cannon fodder so a system that means you will get slaughtered from the get go is just going to mean people will not play.

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1 hour ago, LakotaDakota said:

I don't think that this would actually work very well and rather than get people to buy things it would more than likely just put them off playing online at all.

Nobody wants to be the cannon fodder so a system that means you will get slaughtered from the get go is just going to mean people will not play.

The target demographic for shit like this is the demographic that think the gun, item or perk is the key to all the power.

I know people personally that I'd be in a voice call with while they were playing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which to preface had Crates you could buy that offered Weapons with better stats and abilities than the basic guns.

Now they would get annihilated by some kid with an Epic Rarity AK-47 looking gun and rather than get annoyed they would side with "If I had that I would kick ass too", without fail 5-10 minutes later I would hear the joy or the disappointment as they open Crates.

That shit doesn't work on me I know that the person that killed me was just better regardless of the tool used. I take a death, watch the killcam, see my mistake and get better. Others they look at the gun used and think the gun did it all. 

This would be very effective I fear unless I just happen to know the only morons on Earth that do this, but the industry has tripled in value thanks to Crates so I don't think my moronic friends are the minority unfortunately. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Even the new Need for Speed has loot, because of course it does.

And that Star Wars game has been cancelled (killing Visceral in the process) because they're going to make a Star Wars Destiny game. All old news of course.

**** microtransactions and loot boxes.

 

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