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Lootboxes, Microtransactions, and [Gambling in Gaming]

2456762

Posts

  • ObiFettObiFett Use the Force As You WishRegistered User regular
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Matev wrote: »
    Personally, if I paid retail price for a game, I should be able to unlock all regular content via play, fuck your loot boxes.

    You want to make DLC after the initial release to expand the game and have us pay for it? Cool, that’s fine too.

    But don’t tell me having to spend cash to roll the dice to hopefully get the new hat I want for my Malibu Stacy isn’t gambling, don’t insult my intelligence.

    In FTP games, post odds on getting items and give us a way to earn content through play (I grit my teeth, but Hearthstone has at least the latter part available, despite crushing cost)

    A reasonable amount of regular play, to be clear.

    Because Battlefront 2 is what set the current firestorm off to begin with.

    What counts as reasonable, though? Clearly, BF2 is too high right now, clocking in at 4500 hours to unlock everything. Complete lunacy, imo, that was clearly influenced by microtransactions and loot boxes.

    But there are plenty of MMOs and online shooters that basically require hundreds of hours to "unlock all regular content via play" and those definitely have retail price attached.

    Like I wonder what everyone considers a reasonable number. 100 hours?

  • DaedalusDaedalus regular Registered User regular
    I'm not sure it is enough but as a start what China did with loot box contents and probabilities being clearly visible seems solid.

    Counterpoint: instant-lose scratch lotto tickets have probabilities printed right on the back; they're still exploitive.

    FeralJuliusshrykeAistanElldren
  • TryCatcherTryCatcher regular Registered User regular
    edited November 2017
    CCGs had to navigate legal waters to not get classified as gambing. The most famous example being WotC getting rid of Ante cards entirely since that could have made Magic: The Gathering get legally recognized as a gambling game.

    TryCatcher on
  • syndalissyndalis Getting Classy On the WallRegistered User, Loves Apple Products regular
    ObiFett wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Matev wrote: »
    Personally, if I paid retail price for a game, I should be able to unlock all regular content via play, fuck your loot boxes.

    You want to make DLC after the initial release to expand the game and have us pay for it? Cool, that’s fine too.

    But don’t tell me having to spend cash to roll the dice to hopefully get the new hat I want for my Malibu Stacy isn’t gambling, don’t insult my intelligence.

    In FTP games, post odds on getting items and give us a way to earn content through play (I grit my teeth, but Hearthstone has at least the latter part available, despite crushing cost)

    A reasonable amount of regular play, to be clear.

    Because Battlefront 2 is what set the current firestorm off to begin with.

    What counts as reasonable, though? Clearly, BF2 is too high right now, clocking in at 4500 hours to unlock everything. Complete lunacy, imo, that was clearly influenced by microtransactions and loot boxes.

    But there are plenty of MMOs and online shooters that basically require hundreds of hours to "unlock all regular content via play" and those definitely have retail price attached.

    Like I wonder what everyone considers a reasonable number. 100 hours?

    I think that depends on the game, and what defines "all the content"

    I think it would be unfair to say that a game like WoW, a game like NBA2K18 and a game like Battlefront needs to have the same time window associated with it to unlock all the content.

    I played WoW for well over a couple thousand hours and there is zero way that I unlocked even 20% of the content, considering I stuck to my class and only focused on specific gear sets.

    SW-4158-3990-6116
    Let's play Mario Kart or something...
    Matev
  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    I mean, even if there was just an inter-player trading system, that would alleviate a lot of the issues. As seen in some other games like Warframe, as long as players can trade, a pricing structure will develop surrounding that.

    A more robust marketplace like the Steam community would also be beneficial, but I think a substantial part of the frustration seen with Battlefront 2 is that the loot is account specific, so it's possible to open up piles of jank that you have no interest in using, and the redemption of those excess or unwanted cards is a fraction of what is necessary to do anything useful with those materials.

    An extra layer of frustration is beyond simply having lootboxes be a random element determining progression, but that the unpaid rate of progression is so aggressively obnoxious. Even after slashing the hero pricing by 75% on the high end, it costs a ton of credits to simply unlock them all, without even getting into the countless piles of hours one could throw at random cards to enhance things that one may or may not give a shit about playing. This was slightly adjusted by tying many cards to play based achievements/trophies/challenges/etc, but the reality is that you could spend hundred of hours playing and potentially get negligible upgrades for the classes or heroes you actually enjoy playing.

    While I don't play Overwatch, lootboxes that are tied strictly to cosmetic stuff generally don't garner much ire for me. If it's just an emote or a skin with zero gameplay effects, I generally don't care. Similarly, if everything but cosmetics can be obtained in game, such as in Warframe, I'm generally okay with it (though there are a few quests or class unlocks that are obnoxious enough to say 'this is intended to get people to buy stuff with real money now and then, isn't it?' The level of transparency involved helps a lot, the rate at which one can accrue things without having to open ones wallet matters, having a system so clearly set to progress at a glacial pace (as BF2's certainly seems to, based on complaints from players after they shut down the ability to buy crystals and being left purely with gameplay earned resources) is irksome.

    Other comparisons include Valve's big names, like TF2 and DotA2. I actually used to enjoy throwing like $10 towards keys/boxes during their Christmas sales, as the unique weapon models were something I found really fun, and the cost generally wasn't too terrible (and the marketplace and interplayer trading meant that I could sell off or trade off things I didn't want for those that I did). I don't play DotA2 much, but I do buy into the annual Compendium, and find the loot boxes with X things in them of various rarities to be a reasonable way to do things. I know what is within the list, and if I get enough of them, I *will* get a higher rarity item. It's imperfect, but as almost all of the rewards are (again) generally cosmetic, what I actually receive doesn't really bother me either way.

    The other side of this, in my eyes, are 'microtransactions', which have grown to become anything but 'micro'. $5 Horse Armor and the laughter that followed somehow has led to games, often freemium, often mobile, having character packs that can cost upwards of $100 US, and are often only a fraction of that character's potential. It is insulting how much they ask for from players, and yet some 'whales' will pay these outrageous sums in order to get or maintain an advantage. A game under another EA subsidiary (and the same IP) is Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, where a character has seven levels of rarity, each progressively more time consuming or expensive to obtain, and they have released $20 packs that maybe get a single character 1/4 of the way to that peak of rarity (still requiring plenty of other in game materials to round them out). Even when these characters can be obtained or enhanced without paying real money, that will often come months after they were initially introduced, granting those players with deep pockets an advantage for that long (and often much longer, the rate of acquisition later on is generally measured in weeks, months, or even entire quarters).

    So, to wrap up a somewhat long winded rant on the matter, I actually don't mind the occasional loot box or microtransaction. Warframe has been fun for well over 1,000 hours over the years, so buying some in game currency when the odd 50 or 75% off coupon lands isn't a problem. Being able to trade items I have found to other players for said currency, and then using it to buy things I can't trade for is a fine exchange in my eyes, at least at the level they are maintaining it. Even gambling for random drops isn't a huge problem for me for cosmetics, or to speed up progression in a system where I don't feel that progression is being intentionally stymied, such as Mass Effect 3's multiplayer. Or getting little DLC packs for a few extra bucks to support a small developer trying to keep a revenue stream flowing, like the original Killing Floor.

    But BF2 took too many steps in the wrong direction. The greed was too transparent, with an eye (presumably) on finding those console whales who would be willing to spend cash on a regular basis, on top of the cost to get it in the first place. Which is a contrast I don't want to overlook, while mobile games with obnoxious payment mechanics are often F2P, consoles seem to be driving an effort to not just have a steady cash flow going behind the scenes, but to pad out a $60 price tag with day 1 DLC, season passes that might cost as much as the game itself, and loot boxes to balloon potential profits per player to extravagant degrees.

    First they came for the Muslims, and we said NOT TODAY, MOTHERFUCKER!
    DelmainGnome-Interruptusshoeboxjeddy
  • SelnerSelner regular Registered User regular
    Xaquin wrote: »
    if a thing has no value, than why are you selling it for 'X'

    I feel like that argument would not hold up well in court

    Well, for P2W type games, the "value" is time. As what you're buying is a shortcut basically. Don't want to grind out fancy epic/legendary things? Want to compete on Day 1? Just buy your way to victory with gems/jewels/premium currency!

    So the thing you're buying may not have value outside the game, but it represents a time "savings" to get the thing. Hard to quantify the "value" of time though.

    Xaquin
  • SunrizeSunrize regular Registered User regular
    TryCatcher my recollection was they got rid of Ante cards because the players hated it, i.e. a marketing decision. Was there an actual legal event in the past about it?

    Enc, I agree with you that it is nice that you have a physical object at the end of the day as a individual consumer making a decision to buy a toy. There are some really not-subtle parallels though to mafia running numbers or any other number of end-arounds for gambling games that award non-cash prizes that can be exchanged for cash.

  • MatevMatev Cero Miedo Registered User regular
    ObiFett wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Matev wrote: »
    Personally, if I paid retail price for a game, I should be able to unlock all regular content via play, fuck your loot boxes.

    You want to make DLC after the initial release to expand the game and have us pay for it? Cool, that’s fine too.

    But don’t tell me having to spend cash to roll the dice to hopefully get the new hat I want for my Malibu Stacy isn’t gambling, don’t insult my intelligence.

    In FTP games, post odds on getting items and give us a way to earn content through play (I grit my teeth, but Hearthstone has at least the latter part available, despite crushing cost)

    A reasonable amount of regular play, to be clear.

    Because Battlefront 2 is what set the current firestorm off to begin with.

    What counts as reasonable, though? Clearly, BF2 is too high right now, clocking in at 4500 hours to unlock everything. Complete lunacy, imo, that was clearly influenced by microtransactions and loot boxes.

    But there are plenty of MMOs and online shooters that basically require hundreds of hours to "unlock all regular content via play" and those definitely have retail price attached.

    Like I wonder what everyone considers a reasonable number. 100 hours?

    RPGs are definitely on the high end, and expecting a couple 100 hours (y’know a couple months or so) isn’t entirely unreasonable.

    An FPS taking years to unlock everything (taking into account 8 hours of play everyday, good fucking luck) is obviously bull.

    It’s different for different genres, but I would reasonably expect a month or 2 of play if i’m super into a game to get everything unlocked. And that’s if it’s a deep roster of content I choose how to unlock when. If I don’t get to choose or it’s less than a dozen characters/play styles to unlock, it shouldn’t take more than a month of dedicated play (aforementioned 8 hour intervals)

    "Go down, kick ass, and set yourselves up as gods, that's our Prime Directive!"
    Hail Hydra
  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    milski wrote: »
    I feel like Overwatch would definitely have trouble with publishing odds as we know their lootboxes aren't random, in that they give at least one epic/legendary every X/Y boxes. So there's definitely some active weighting of the odds going on.

    They aren't required to keep individual probabilities identical so long as they publish a realistic set of probabilities over opening a small set (since nobody opens just one loot box)

    For example, the official Blizzard-provided Hearthstone odds are:
    RARE - At least 1 rare or better in each pack.
    EPIC - Average of 1 every 5 packs.
    LEGENDARY - Average of 1 every 20 packs.

    (Aside for non-players. Each pack contains 5 cards, if it rolls 5 common cards it upgrades one to rare)
    There are two "pity timers" - one for epics (guaranteed on your 10th pack miss) and legendaries (40th pack miss)

    People have submitted results in mass openings of ~32000 packs and the actual rates (per-card) are 1.1% for legendary, 4.4% for epic, 22.85% for rare.

    This pretty much matches the published information so they are including their "pity timers" in their published stats. Since this reflects what players will actually see I think that's fair

    Magic Box
    Academician Prokhor "Phyphor" Zakharov, Chief Scientist of China, Provost of the University of Planet - SE++ Megagame
  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    Regarding Magic, from a cursory glance it appears to be a mix of both.
    Ante was intended to introduce an element of gambling to Magic, but it proved unpopular as many players did not like risking the loss of their cards, and rarely played for ante. There were also concerns within Wizards of the Coast that playing for ante might result in official tournaments being legally recognized as gambling. Were that to occur, tournament venues might require gambling licenses, or be forced to meet other requirements that would vary with jurisdiction. As a result, playing for ante is now classed as an unofficial variant format, cards referring to it are no longer made, and all older cards referencing ante have been banned in every sanctioned format. The last card to mention ante was Timmerian Fiends, printed in the 1995 Homelands expansion.

    Ante is strictly forbidden in DCI-sanctioned play, and is only allowed in unsanctioned games where not forbidden by law.

    First they came for the Muslims, and we said NOT TODAY, MOTHERFUCKER!
    FeralTryCatcherElldren
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    Sunrize wrote: »
    TryCatcher my recollection was they got rid of Ante cards because the players hated it, i.e. a marketing decision. Was there an actual legal event in the past about it?

    There wasn't a legal event. It was a combination of legal concerns plus unpopularity among players.

    https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/ask-wizards-april-2002-2002-04-01

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    TryCatcherElldren
  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    Heffling wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    How much does it cost to purchase one lootbox?

    There's the cash value of one lootbox worth of items.

    nah, its gambling.

    so the average cash value of a lootbox should be close to 10% less than the value you put into it, also minus their expenses, so that the business model is sustainable.

    So that means that a 5 dollar loot crate should produce $3.00 worth of stuff on average (30% platform cut, 10% profit cut if the end user decides to cash out), with some boxes producing far less, and others (fewer) producing a massive multiplier more.

    This all means nothing if they cannot cash out though.

    The counter argument is that it's not gambling, because the product is entertainment, and what you get from the lootbox has no value because it cannot be traded.

    So you're putting money into a box and getting a random amount of entertainment potential out. That's not much better

    I think they have an argument to continue non-mechanical cosmetic-only lootboxing unfortunately, but locking actual gameplay behind randomly paying money or playing huge amounts of time shouldn't fly

    Magic Box
    Academician Prokhor "Phyphor" Zakharov, Chief Scientist of China, Provost of the University of Planet - SE++ Megagame
    MatevFeraldestroyah87TofystedethKristmas KthulhuAuralynxGnome-InterruptusElldren
  • ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Hmmm.

    I really hate then loot box economy. Right now, it's the reason I'm not playing Destiny 2, since all the rewards are gated behind lootboxes, and not just the Bright Engrams you have to pay money for.*

    The thing that grinds my gears is that in Destiny, there's no way to cash out when you get an item you don't want. Sure, you get gunsmith parts and shards....but gunsmith parts just let you access different lootboxes, and shards can only be spent on Exotic gear, and not the gear with the aesthetics or stats you might be farming for.

    What frustrates me is that this isn't even the system for the ones you pay for, this is the "free" version (with purchase of game, of course). Ironically, the Bright Engrams that you pay money for actually have a better system! Breaking down unwanted items gives you dust that can be used to pick from a rotating stock of premium items....which for some reason isn't the case with the regular gear.

    Now, all this to say that I'm not sure how to deal with the problem. I'm not sure legislation that classifies lootboxes as gambling is going to fix the Battlefield II problem, and it certainly wouldn't touch my issues with Destiny 2, since their system for monetary rewards is arguably more fair and above-board than their free rewards.

    *Both these points, of course, ignore that Bungie was throttling the rate at which earned their premium boxes for free, and got caught with their pants down just recently

    DelmainElldren
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    I really think Guild Wars has got this on lock, in the right way.
    Purchase with Gems: Cosmetic / Quality of Life items only (more inventory space, pretty princess dress up, new character slot, infinite wood axe instead of the consumable ones you buy in game)

    Gems are the Funbux, clear prices for everything.

    Gold can be bought with Gems. Gold is the "in-character" currency that you spend for things within the game. Gold is earnable through playing the game (crafting, exploring, fighting, etc.)

    Gold can be used to buy Gems. the price fluctuates based on the current volume of gold / gem trading, and is always available knowledge.

    Game expansions cost real dollar money. "Deluxe" editions are like 2x the money, but come with more gems than "Standard" + equivalent money spent on gems. As expansions get released, base game goes free.

    "Story Season" episodes are free if you play during the release window (usually 2-3 days). Otherwise they cost gems.

    There are "loot boxes" that drop semi-frequently (I think I have a stack of like 20), and you can buy keys with gems, but they are minor both in content and focus... and keys sometimes drop as loot.

    All in all it's unobtrusive and fun, clearly priced, and little to no gambling is involved. I especially like how non-dramatic getting a chest or key is... there's no vfx, no special sound, no nothing. Just.. .oh hey I have a key in my inventoryI Neat-o mosquito.

    Kristmas KthulhuGnome-Interruptus
  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Belgium's Gaming Commission also says it's gambling and is going to be pushing the EU to ban it completely.

    In my opinion, paying money for a randomized outcome is by definition gambling and should be regulated as such. That is, any game with such a mechanic should get an Adults-Only rating. If you want to keep microtransactions in a game accessible to kids, then do so with a store that allows you to buy a known item for a known amount with no randomization.

    In that case Belgium better be pushing to have kinder eggs and football stickers classed as gambling as well.

    I mentioned this in another thread, but a gambling definition doesn't have to be everything or nothing, and different types of gambling can be regulated in different ways i.e. gambling against other players vs gambling against the house, online vs physical gambling, games of "skill" vs "chance" with some very lose definitions of both.

    And yes this opens up loopholes like Japanese pachinko palors did, or some South American country that doesn't allow physical slot machines but allows bingo, so we* made a slot machine that's technically bingo.

    I also have a half remember anecdote about Italy (iirc) about the process of putting some of those instant win cards in newspapers as a promotion.

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/mortious
    JuliusElldren
  • ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Is....is neat-o mosquito a thing people other than Spool say?

    If not, why aren't you all using this phrase at all opportunities??

    spool32DaedalusHahnsoo1EncRhesus PositiveDacBullheadmilskiKristmas KthulhuLord_AsmodeusmRahmani14357Flying CouchWho-PsydV1mTicaldfjamDark Raven XAridholhanzoBlameless ClericFrynever dieAegeriElldren
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    With regards to unlocking content, if the game has progression as a meaningful part of the evolving gameplay, that's fine. Like unlocking a new power in Mega-Man or endgame armor in an MMO, the loot progression is designed to be tied to evolving forms of play.

    To break this down:
    Megaman gets new weapons to provide new content for play. By getting a new power, he can do new things and solve new puzzles through previously unseen forms of play. Similarly, stronger weapons are tied to stronger enemies in an MMO, allowing you to progress and evolve through increasing difficulties.

    On the other hand:
    A game like Bad Company II or other shooters have more powerful weapons not for progression, but for player classification. The content doesn't change, but instead the unlock progression is to give you an edge over newer players. You aren't unlocking new content or forms of play, so much as unlocking the ability to be better intrinsically at the game than other players.

    The former is fine and part of game design.
    The latter is predatory and problematic.

  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Heffling wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    How much does it cost to purchase one lootbox?

    There's the cash value of one lootbox worth of items.

    nah, its gambling.

    so the average cash value of a lootbox should be close to 10% less than the value you put into it, also minus their expenses, so that the business model is sustainable.

    So that means that a 5 dollar loot crate should produce $3.00 worth of stuff on average (30% platform cut, 10% profit cut if the end user decides to cash out), with some boxes producing far less, and others (fewer) producing a massive multiplier more.

    This all means nothing if they cannot cash out though.

    The counter argument is that it's not gambling, because the product is entertainment, and what you get from the lootbox has no value because it cannot be traded.

    Imagine if a casino claimed that wrt to the machines. It's all about the fun of playing!

    They do actually! Not the not calling it gambling, but that it's entertainment and winning money is secondary.

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/mortious
    Elldren
  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    Mortious wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Heffling wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    How much does it cost to purchase one lootbox?

    There's the cash value of one lootbox worth of items.

    nah, its gambling.

    so the average cash value of a lootbox should be close to 10% less than the value you put into it, also minus their expenses, so that the business model is sustainable.

    So that means that a 5 dollar loot crate should produce $3.00 worth of stuff on average (30% platform cut, 10% profit cut if the end user decides to cash out), with some boxes producing far less, and others (fewer) producing a massive multiplier more.

    This all means nothing if they cannot cash out though.

    The counter argument is that it's not gambling, because the product is entertainment, and what you get from the lootbox has no value because it cannot be traded.

    Imagine if a casino claimed that wrt to the machines. It's all about the fun of playing!

    They do actually! Not the not calling it gambling, but that it's entertainment and winning money is secondary.

    I should have known.

    Steam: Polaritie
    3DS: 0473-8507-2652
    Switch: SW-5185-4991-5118
    PSN: AbEntropy
  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    Oh, another facet that shouldn't be overlooked is that BF2 also had substantial disparities in power between lacking a card versus having one, and then between each of the ranks.

    Simply having a level of a card will often replace or enhance a given ability, which can be huge and possibly change how the class is played, but then the various levels of the 4 tiers to the cards (common/uncommon/etc). Because of the existing controversy, finding a list with all the numbers to it is proving difficult, but as one example I recall seeing a streamer on Twitch or Youtube talking about, a top level card for Bomber Starfighters literally added something like 90% extra health. That's a pretty fucking big advantage, to basically take twice the punishment to kill than someone who hasn't gotten that card to that level yet.

    So it's not just "oh, they hit 10% harder or reload 0.25 seconds faster", it's that the advantages given by even mid to high level cards could be massive.

    Allegedly the matchmaking is supposed to account for this and group players by a variety of values, including skill and cards owned, but as someone who just started playing the game a few days ago and in some of my first matches I met players rocking substantial card based advantages (it displays their load out when they kill out), it's hard not to roll my eyes at that. Yes, they're better players than I am, but adding 'also seem to have snagged a pile of cards while they still could' just becomes a Rich Get Richer situation, and with the microtransactions currently closed, it's a gap I likely cannot do much to decrease, even if I wanted to throw some cash at it.

    And that doesn't seem like a particularly healthy business model for consumers, though I suppose that EA/Disney will only worry for so long, as Battlefront 3 is presumably already being worked on (said in a sense that I doubt this controversy will kill the franchise/product line, even if it does lead to changes).

    First they came for the Muslims, and we said NOT TODAY, MOTHERFUCKER!
    ElvenshaeGnome-Interruptus
  • XaquinXaquin regular Right behind you!Registered User regular
    Mortious wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Heffling wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    How much does it cost to purchase one lootbox?

    There's the cash value of one lootbox worth of items.

    nah, its gambling.

    so the average cash value of a lootbox should be close to 10% less than the value you put into it, also minus their expenses, so that the business model is sustainable.

    So that means that a 5 dollar loot crate should produce $3.00 worth of stuff on average (30% platform cut, 10% profit cut if the end user decides to cash out), with some boxes producing far less, and others (fewer) producing a massive multiplier more.

    This all means nothing if they cannot cash out though.

    The counter argument is that it's not gambling, because the product is entertainment, and what you get from the lootbox has no value because it cannot be traded.

    Imagine if a casino claimed that wrt to the machines. It's all about the fun of playing!

    They do actually! Not the not calling it gambling, but that it's entertainment and winning money is secondary.

    Maybe they should be required to provide only wishing wells and see how well their business holds up!

    V1m
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    With regards to unlocking content, if the game has progression as a meaningful part of the evolving gameplay, that's fine. Like unlocking a new power in Mega-Man or endgame armor in an MMO, the loot progression is designed to be tied to evolving forms of play.

    To break this down:
    Megaman gets new weapons to provide new content for play. By getting a new power, he can do new things and solve new puzzles through previously unseen forms of play. Similarly, stronger weapons are tied to stronger enemies in an MMO, allowing you to progress and evolve through increasing difficulties.

    On the other hand:
    A game like Bad Company II or other shooters have more powerful weapons not for progression, but for player classification. The content doesn't change, but instead the unlock progression is to give you an edge over newer players. You aren't unlocking new content or forms of play, so much as unlocking the ability to be better intrinsically at the game than other players.

    The former is fine and part of game design.
    The latter is predatory and problematic.

    Pay to Win is trash. Cosmetics or gtfo, better actual items through money in a multiplayer game is an immediate "delete this game" flag for me.


    I'm probably going to end up spending somewhere on the order of $30 for the legendary staff I'm building in Guild Wars, because I'm getting impatient at collecting some items and I can buy them for (a lot of) gold on the player exchange. That staff does like 500-1000 damage, vs my current one that does 498-998. This is not an advantage.

    If I could buy a 3k damage staff, I'd probably quit playing.

    XaquindiscriderVeagledarkmayoAridholGnome-InterruptusElldrenV1m
  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Heffling wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    How much does it cost to purchase one lootbox?

    There's the cash value of one lootbox worth of items.

    nah, its gambling.

    so the average cash value of a lootbox should be close to 10% less than the value you put into it, also minus their expenses, so that the business model is sustainable.

    So that means that a 5 dollar loot crate should produce $3.00 worth of stuff on average (30% platform cut, 10% profit cut if the end user decides to cash out), with some boxes producing far less, and others (fewer) producing a massive multiplier more.

    This all means nothing if they cannot cash out though.

    The counter argument is that it's not gambling, because the product is entertainment, and what you get from the lootbox has no value because it cannot be traded.

    Imagine if a casino claimed that wrt to the machines. It's all about the fun of playing!

    They do actually! Not the not calling it gambling, but that it's entertainment and winning money is secondary.

    I should have known.

    I mean, they make a good case. Set a budget for a night out and stick to it. Gambling even if you dont win at the end can be fun, like a movie night or dinner out.

    The sticking point that never gets mentioned is the variable time you get, as you could lose everything early.

    I personally have no idea how many people engage gambling that way as opposed to the ones doing it for money, but the casinos probably do. They have data on everything. It's pretty cool.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    Enc wrote: »
    With regards to unlocking content, if the game has progression as a meaningful part of the evolving gameplay, that's fine. Like unlocking a new power in Mega-Man or endgame armor in an MMO, the loot progression is designed to be tied to evolving forms of play.

    To break this down:
    Megaman gets new weapons to provide new content for play. By getting a new power, he can do new things and solve new puzzles through previously unseen forms of play. Similarly, stronger weapons are tied to stronger enemies in an MMO, allowing you to progress and evolve through increasing difficulties.

    On the other hand:
    A game like Bad Company II or other shooters have more powerful weapons not for progression, but for player classification. The content doesn't change, but instead the unlock progression is to give you an edge over newer players. You aren't unlocking new content or forms of play, so much as unlocking the ability to be better intrinsically at the game than other players.

    The former is fine and part of game design.
    The latter is predatory and problematic.

    Pay to Win is trash. Cosmetics or gtfo, better actual items through money in a multiplayer game is an immediate "delete this game" flag for me.


    I'm probably going to end up spending somewhere on the order of $30 for the legendary staff I'm building in Guild Wars, because I'm getting impatient at collecting some items and I can buy them for (a lot of) gold on the player exchange. That staff does like 500-1000 damage, vs my current one that does 498-998. This is not an advantage.

    If I could buy a 3k damage staff, I'd probably quit playing.

    I stopped playing Guild Wars due to how they changed the PrettyPrettyPrincess mechanics. I played (in a large part) to have my custom outfit and color systems and played with the colorations probably as much as I played the actual goddamn game.

    Then they changed it so to transmog/recolor items you needed a microtransaction item, which while plentiful did require grinding. Sensing how much money I was likely to spend to play with the customizer, I quit the week it came out.

    Because fuck that shit. You don't give me a pretty princess game and then take away that mechanic behind a paywall. I will shout "Fuck Guild Wars II" for eternity because of that.

  • HerrCronHerrCron It that wickedly supports taxation Registered User regular
    Mortious wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Belgium's Gaming Commission also says it's gambling and is going to be pushing the EU to ban it completely.

    In my opinion, paying money for a randomized outcome is by definition gambling and should be regulated as such. That is, any game with such a mechanic should get an Adults-Only rating. If you want to keep microtransactions in a game accessible to kids, then do so with a store that allows you to buy a known item for a known amount with no randomization.

    In that case Belgium better be pushing to have kinder eggs and football stickers classed as gambling as well.

    I mentioned this in another thread, but a gambling definition doesn't have to be everything or nothing, and different types of gambling can be regulated in different ways i.e. gambling against other players vs gambling against the house, online vs physical gambling, games of "skill" vs "chance" with some very lose definitions of both.

    And yes this opens up loopholes like Japanese pachinko palors did, or some South American country that doesn't allow physical slot machines but allows bingo, so we* made a slot machine that's technically bingo.

    I also have a half remember anecdote about Italy (iirc) about the process of putting some of those instant win cards in newspapers as a promotion.

    I am in the minority who don't think lootboxes are gambling, and this is just nerds going off the deep end again, so I'm looking forward to how things which are very similar to the lootbox model will be caught up in this, if it ever goes anywhere.
    Frankly, inadvertently classifying terrible chocolate eggs as an agent of the dreaded gamblor would almost make it worthwhile.

    sig.gif
    Hahnsoo1
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger regular Registered User regular
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Belgium's Gaming Commission also says it's gambling and is going to be pushing the EU to ban it completely.

    In my opinion, paying money for a randomized outcome is by definition gambling and should be regulated as such. That is, any game with such a mechanic should get an Adults-Only rating. If you want to keep microtransactions in a game accessible to kids, then do so with a store that allows you to buy a known item for a known amount with no randomization.

    In that case Belgium better be pushing to have kinder eggs and football stickers classed as gambling as well.

    I mentioned this in another thread, but a gambling definition doesn't have to be everything or nothing, and different types of gambling can be regulated in different ways i.e. gambling against other players vs gambling against the house, online vs physical gambling, games of "skill" vs "chance" with some very lose definitions of both.

    And yes this opens up loopholes like Japanese pachinko palors did, or some South American country that doesn't allow physical slot machines but allows bingo, so we* made a slot machine that's technically bingo.

    I also have a half remember anecdote about Italy (iirc) about the process of putting some of those instant win cards in newspapers as a promotion.

    Frankly, inadvertently classifying terrible chocolate eggs as an agent of the dreaded gamblor would almost make it worthwhile.

    They are currently inspiring the very worst kid videos on YouTube:

    http://www.scarymommy.com/surprise-eggs-need-to-go-die/

    Gnome-Interruptus
  • SiliconStewSiliconStew regular Registered User regular
    HerrCron wrote: »
    I am in the minority who don't think lootboxes are gambling

    So what is your definition of gambling?

    Just remember that half the people you meet are below average intelligence.
  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    And while it varies per country, machines can vary the payout percentage as long as the overall payout percentage is withing a defined boundary. iirc 88% for physical machines, 96% for online (though that might have been our company standard? I think it was legislated anyway)

    They usually vary it based on location and time of day/how busy it is.

    *information 5 years out of date and might not be valid for specific locales.

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
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  • HerrCronHerrCron It that wickedly supports taxation Registered User regular
    HerrCron wrote: »
    I am in the minority who don't think lootboxes are gambling

    So what is your definition of gambling?

    Throwing money away for the slim, slim chance to get way more money back.

    sig.gif
    Heffling
  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    Belgium's Gaming Commission also says it's gambling and is going to be pushing the EU to ban it completely.

    In my opinion, paying money for a randomized outcome is by definition gambling and should be regulated as such. That is, any game with such a mechanic should get an Adults-Only rating. If you want to keep microtransactions in a game accessible to kids, then do so with a store that allows you to buy a known item for a known amount with no randomization.

    In that case Belgium better be pushing to have kinder eggs and football stickers classed as gambling as well.

    I mentioned this in another thread, but a gambling definition doesn't have to be everything or nothing, and different types of gambling can be regulated in different ways i.e. gambling against other players vs gambling against the house, online vs physical gambling, games of "skill" vs "chance" with some very lose definitions of both.

    And yes this opens up loopholes like Japanese pachinko palors did, or some South American country that doesn't allow physical slot machines but allows bingo, so we* made a slot machine that's technically bingo.

    I also have a half remember anecdote about Italy (iirc) about the process of putting some of those instant win cards in newspapers as a promotion.

    I am in the minority who don't think lootboxes are gambling, and this is just nerds going off the deep end again, so I'm looking forward to how things which are very similar to the lootbox model will be caught up in this, if it ever goes anywhere.
    Frankly, inadvertently classifying terrible chocolate eggs as an agent of the dreaded gamblor would almost make it worthwhile.

    My point was that they could easily classify lootboxes as gambling (gameplay and/or cosmetic) and not touch Kinder joys.

    Until EA starts selling EA Joys with a QR code on a plastic gun that you can scan to unlock it in game.

    Move to New Zealand
    It’s not a very important country most of the time
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/mortious
  • DaedalusDaedalus regular Registered User regular
    Having paid lootboxes in a game incentivizes the developer to make the rest of the game tedious in order to sell the extra transaction. I avoid basically any game that has them now; they're not "for" me, or whatever. Their presence makes the game worse, and to the extent that they make profit and become the norm they encourage the creation of games that are less fun.

    I think this thread is going to run afield a bit because it's already conflating "are lootbox schemes bad?" with "should The Government step in and ban micro transactions? But then they'd also need to ban Cracker Jack prizes; checkmate atheists!" which, it seems to me, are two different questions.

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  • TubeTube admin Administrator, ClubPA admin
    I actually really interested to know what people consider the difference between Lootboxes and things like CCGs, Kind Eggs etc. This isn't a trolling question, I'm genuinely interested.

    Hobnail wrote: »
    This forum has taken everything from me
    This hurts but I deserve it

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Gambling definition:
    Gambling is the wagering of money or something of value (referred to as "the stakes") on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning money or material goods. Gambling thus requires three elements be present: consideration, chance and prize.[1] The outcome of the wager is often immediate, such as a single roll of dice, a spin of a roulette wheel, or a horse crossing the finish line, but longer time frames are also common, allowing wagers on the outcome of a future sports contest or even an entire sports season.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambling

    With a lootbox I am wagering [my money/object of value] on an [unboxing/event with an uncertain outcome] with the primary intent of [getting gameplay enhancements or cosmetics/winning material goods].

    The question comes down to if you feel digital content can be considered a material good rather than a service. If they are the latter, then it isn't necessarily gambling.

  • IblisIblis regular Registered User regular
    HerrCron wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    I am in the minority who don't think lootboxes are gambling

    So what is your definition of gambling?

    Throwing money away for the slim, slim chance to get way more money back.

    Now why do you think we regulate gambling heavily?

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  • XaquinXaquin regular Right behind you!Registered User regular
    Tube wrote: »
    I actually really interested to know what people consider the difference between Lootboxes and things like CCGs, Kind Eggs etc. This isn't a trolling question, I'm genuinely interested.

    lootboxes can't be transferred or reused whereas the others can be sold and are physical property

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  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    Tube wrote: »
    I actually really interested to know what people consider the difference between Lootboxes and things like CCGs, Kind Eggs etc. This isn't a trolling question, I'm genuinely interested.

    Secondary market is the main difference I think. I can trade things I don't need/use for things I will. Or just sidestep packs entirely and buy singles.

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  • DoodmannDoodmann regular Registered User regular
    Tube wrote: »
    I actually really interested to know what people consider the difference between Lootboxes and things like CCGs, Kind Eggs etc. This isn't a trolling question, I'm genuinely interested.

    As others have mentioned the secondary market is pretty much everything. Loot boxes with a secondary market (CS:GO) are fine because if I want to I can spend real dollars on what I want and I know that what is in the box has intrinsic value even if it's less than the cost of the box.

    Whippy wrote: »
    nope nope nope nope abort abort talk about anime
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  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited November 2017
    Mortious wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Mortious wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Heffling wrote: »
    syndalis wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    How much does it cost to purchase one lootbox?

    There's the cash value of one lootbox worth of items.

    nah, its gambling.

    so the average cash value of a lootbox should be close to 10% less than the value you put into it, also minus their expenses, so that the business model is sustainable.

    So that means that a 5 dollar loot crate should produce $3.00 worth of stuff on average (30% platform cut, 10% profit cut if the end user decides to cash out), with some boxes producing far less, and others (fewer) producing a massive multiplier more.

    This all means nothing if they cannot cash out though.

    The counter argument is that it's not gambling, because the product is entertainment, and what you get from the lootbox has no value because it cannot be traded.

    Imagine if a casino claimed that wrt to the machines. It's all about the fun of playing!

    They do actually! Not the not calling it gambling, but that it's entertainment and winning money is secondary.

    I should have known.

    I mean, they make a good case. Set a budget for a night out and stick to it. Gambling even if you dont win at the end can be fun, like a movie night or dinner out.

    The sticking point that never gets mentioned is the variable time you get, as you could lose everything early.

    I personally have no idea how many people engage gambling that way as opposed to the ones doing it for money, but the casinos probably do. They have data on everything. It's pretty cool.

    Casinos go out of their way to keep the entertainment value high. Even a spendthrift can get free drinks in a lot of casinos just by sitting and playing the lowest-ante slots or blackjack. Big spenders might get free meals or complimentary tickets to shows. There's a lot of competition between casinos based around casino membership and who gives the best perks.

    I can accept the argument "your ante is for the entertainment value, not for the prizes" for casinos where the typical expectation is to play for at least an hour or two. And I can accept it for drafts & sealed CCG play, where you open cards and then play with them for a few games. The key here is that your ante or purchase is the admission fee to an actual game being played rather than just some percentage return on your money.

    At the other end of the spectrum, where I cannot accept the argument, are lottery tickets. I recognize that some people are entertained by scratchers but I don't think the lottery industry is primarily driven by entertainment value; I think the entertainment value is a miniscule piece and most of the industry is driven by poverty and desperation and people who are just bad at math.

    But if a video game's lootbox model encourages players to crack open lootbox after lootbox after lootbox to chase down a rare drop, I see that as more like a lottery. I am extremely skeptical that lootbox-cracking behavior is being perpetuated by "entertainment" rather than the same behavioral feedback loops involved with compulsive gambling.

    Just for one example, I definitely think this is happening with Hearthstone, because they've decoupled the limited play system (Arena) from the constructed play system, and because there's no secondary market. When you purchase a Hearthstone pack, you expect a minimal return (40 dust) but hope for a better return (like a Legendary). There's literally no other reason to purchase a Hearthstone pack. Contrast with Magic, where the majority of packs are opened for the secondary market, and a large minority of packs are opened for draft and sealed play. Therefore, while some Magic packs are purchased as a form of gambling, most are not. In Hearthstone, all booster packs are purchased as a form of gambling.

    Edit: I think this also partly addresses Tube's question?
    Tube wrote: »
    I actually really interested to know what people consider the difference between Lootboxes and things like CCGs, Kind Eggs etc. This isn't a trolling question, I'm genuinely interested.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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  • HerrCronHerrCron It that wickedly supports taxation Registered User regular
    Iblis wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    I am in the minority who don't think lootboxes are gambling

    So what is your definition of gambling?

    Throwing money away for the slim, slim chance to get way more money back.

    Now why do you think we regulate gambling heavily?

    If you're trying to walk me to a certain conclusion, you can stop now. It's obnoxious.

    As far as I'm concerned the other big part of gambling is that you can (and usually will) come out of it with nothing, but you cannot do that with a lootbox, you always get something, even if it's not that sweet D.Va skin you wanted.
    it's a lot closer to MtG card packs in that regard, and they're not classified as gambling either.

    sig.gif
  • HamHamJHamHamJ regular Registered User regular
    edited November 2017
    Tube wrote: »
    I actually really interested to know what people consider the difference between Lootboxes and things like CCGs, Kind Eggs etc. This isn't a trolling question, I'm genuinely interested.

    The main differences are:

    1) Ability to resell/trade physical goods.
    2) Actual physical goods that won't just get deleted when the servers close.
    3) You can use the five hundred Magic commons you have for like an art project or something.

    HamHamJ on
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