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Lootboxes, Microtransactions, and [Gambling in Gaming]

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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger regular Registered User regular
    Lootboxes giving sellable items is even worse, because that is just plain gambling (the prizes can be cashed out.) The big problem with encouraging gambling with children is that some of them will take to it and end up losing their house in the casinos when they are older.

  • IblisIblis 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.

    That is a good question! Honestly I don't think there's much of a difference. There is some argument to be made about physical goods vs digital goods, but in the end I think that's kind of splitting hairs in what is the crux of the issue. These systems, regardless of what they are, are designed to exploit the way the human brains work to get at-risk personality types and children to pay more money than they would otherwise to get the same good. It's not a mistake that as lootboxes have taken off, various blind-bag toys have also exploded in popularity. People talk about how Overwatch set off the modern lootbox craze, but I think the real culprit is Hearthstone. That's when Activision-Blizzard realized they could essentially get people to gamble for digital goods and rake in a damn fortune. Hearthstone's system, while taking some from phone games and such, is of course inspired by good old Magic the Gathering.

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  • DaedalusDaedalus 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.

    I can't stand CCGs either, to be honest. I'll play a MtG draft with people, but collecting and building decks through boosters is just as fucky to me as spending $n for a (chance at a) golden gun in some shooter.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)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.

    I see them as the same thing with different orders of magnitude.

    A quarter prize from a capsule vending machine isn't great, but it is just a quarter so is such a minor evil that people usually don't mind them socially. Hey, a capsule sticker machine at a bar or by a hardware store. Sure, my impressionable child, have a quarter and go get a prize. The limitation on the intended audience not having access to quarters makes it a bit more socially acceptable, but it still isn't great behavior.

    Move the same thing to a micro-transaction on that child's tablet at their house, this same situation becomes nefarious and problematic. Because the transaction is digital, and potentially untrackable/unlimitable without sufficient parental controls, you end up with those same kids potentially spending hundreds of dollars in quarter micro transactions due to the same psychological stimulus of immediate reward with promise of better things if you just put more money in.

    CCGs take this to a different, more expensive deal by adding in the gameplay element. It isn't just to get a thing, its to get a thing to be able to compete with other kids who are being pressured by the group to get the best thing to win the game. None of these games have cooperative victories in most cases. Only one person can win at most CCG formats, meaning that you are a loser if you don't win, and you can't win unless you have the best cards. So you put more money in. And so do your friends.

    There is an evolution to CCG communities. It starts with a group of 2-5 friends getting cards at the same time. Everyone gets a booster or two and a starter deck and that day everything is generally fine. One player gets a rare pulled in their booster and does a bit better, but in general things are about equal. Then, that weekend, Jimmy is at Target with his mom and buys another three boosters. Next time Jimmy does better than everyone else! Then Timmy decides he wants to win so he buys four. Then Sarah buys another basic deck and mixes the two. Then someone blows a birthday giftcard on a box of booster packs, and things spiral until people are building decks with individual cards each costing 20-40 bucks with decks valued at nearly a thousand dollars, because at least if you buy the individual cards you aren't losing as much money on the game. This is an actual thing my friends and I used to say before we realized how dumb it was to be buying 700 decks every eight months.

    And it spirals quick if you are able to make your own money. And because the group is playing, there is a feedback loop. If an individual leaves, he will be the only person not playing which will ostracize them (entirely or somewhat) from their circle of friends unless they continue to go back and play. Gaming stores do, to varying degrees, prey upon this to ensure that sort of clannish environment continues though things like Draft play and Friday Night Magic, encouraging boosts in sales by pushing the Standard format which requires constantly buying more and newer decks.

    But at least if you quit you can sell the cards or the stickers or whatever.

    Lootboxes, in my eyes, are the final form of this sort of behavior. They have the game element to keep you socially in the game, they use matchmaking to ensure you are always at a disadvantage and see better players doing juuuuuuuust a bit better than you so you think you can reach that level with more money, they don't have the overhead of requiring a physical media (and don't lose sales through resale or trade since they control the distribution), and can cheaply and without penalty change the rules of the game at the drop of a hat to boost sales with new expansions (which, in turn, they can charge you 60 bucks to "unlock" the ability to even gamble on the content).

    It's the ultimate form, where you put money into nothing and are peer pressured into paying more to be accepted for a victory condition which, statistically, you cannot attain.

    Enc on
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  • XaquinXaquin regular Right behind you!Registered User regular
    why are we assuming children are doing this?

    children do not have income. the amount of lootboxes they do or do not get depends solely on their parents (or cool Uncle David or whoever)

    lazegamer
  • TubeTube admin Administrator, ClubPA admin
    Xaquin wrote: »
    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

    That's an interesting point that I hadn't considered. Thanks! I've heard some people say that some lootbox games with secondary markets (I think CS GO?) are worse because it becomes more like actual, for cash, gambling.

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  • IblisIblis regular Registered User regular
    HerrCron wrote: »
    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.

    I was making a point that part of the reason we regulate gambling is because of the inherently exploitative nature it takes in terms of how the human brain processes rewards.

    So if casinos give you a complimentary mint when you use the slot machine, is it no-longer gambling?

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  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered 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.

    As a consumer, I find such things less egregious based on being physical items with the potential to trade or sell on a secondary market. Back when I played Magic, I eventually stopped buying booster boxes for cards, and instead simply bought outright the cards I wanted from a given set. If there were some that were too expensive for me to justify purchasing, even after hunting for deals on eBay and the like, I simply did without. I respect that as a casual player, this means something different to me than a professional player, but buying or trading for the hot new rares/mythics was part of that, and there were variants that went back across a variety of eras.

    So, all that said, is cracking a pack open gambling? Ehhhh, getting a randomized item in exchange for a fixed cost that may or may not balance (short or long term) against what is contained within... if it's not literally gambling, it's at least making kissy faces at it, but as noted, the secondary market option helps ablate some of that concern.

    Similarly, with Kinder Eggs or those Portal 2 Sentry Turret blind boxes or D&D pre-painted mini randomized boxes, you are indeed gambling on getting a specific physical good, and probably don't, but at least you have something that can feasibly be traded or sold towards getting the item(s) you actually want, or bypassed entirely to purchase specifically the desired item/outcome.

    Conversely, some in game lootboxes (like BF2), I could throw hundreds of dollars into that gaping Sarlacc maw and still not get a fraction of the things I was hoping to have access to, which impacts my ability to compete in the game against players who do have either the luck or resources to buy their way to greater power (and as I noted earlier, potentially a significant power up at that). Other loot boxes like Valve's DotA2/TF2 ones are more of a blind purchase (usually but not always cosmetic), with the ability to craft weapons to keep options open for a reasonable price (at least based on the last time I did any TF2 crafting), and the DotA2 ones with a set list of rewards that you can only get once I find fairly tame or at least not as egregious as some other options.

    Long story short, I think CCG packs and blind box toys that are physical items get more of a pass simply because they can be traded, given away, or purchased without needing to blindly buy at all. Lootboxes that are purely cosmetic and especially if a system exists to trade between players can at least allow for me to give a skin or hat for a character/class I don't play to a friend, or trade it on the market. Accountbound boxes that have game mechanic changes and advantages baked in is where the line is being crossed, at least in my opinion.

    Edit: wow, a lot of people answered this a lot more concisely. Note to self, add 'Brevity' to list of things to work on.

    Forar on
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  • MagicPrimeMagicPrime FiresideWizard Registered User regular
    Iblis wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    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.

    I was making a point that part of the reason we regulate gambling is because of the inherently exploitative nature it takes in terms of how the human brain processes rewards.

    So if casinos give you a complimentary mint when you use the slot machine, is it no-longer gambling?

    Depends. Is it wafer thin?

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  • The WolfmanThe Wolfman regular Registered User regular
    I would also say there's a difference in that I don't have a button at my fingertips that instantly spawns a kinder egg.

    Like others have said, it's more about the psychological effects and manipulations going on. Remove the nature of the payout and there's next to no difference between a lootbox and a slot machine in how they mentally play on a person. I really don't know if you can make the same exact claim for the box of kinder eggs at the checkout line. Sure, you can claim it if you remove the nuance and boil it down enough, same as with cereal prizes or Happy Meal toys. But one of the points here is that you can't really make a size fits all classification for everything. You need to consider the nuance of it as well.

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  • IblisIblis regular Registered User regular
    MagicPrime wrote: »
    Iblis wrote: »
    HerrCron wrote: »
    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.

    I was making a point that part of the reason we regulate gambling is because of the inherently exploitative nature it takes in terms of how the human brain processes rewards.

    So if casinos give you a complimentary mint when you use the slot machine, is it no-longer gambling?

    Depends. Is it wafer thin?

    The thinnest!

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o regular Registered User regular
    Loot boxes are essentially gambling for an "item" that you can only use through software that has a license agreement which means you buy things you don't own? Are you leasing loot boxes or the cosmetic items in a videogame?

    It's this weird gray area that I think will end out being looked back upon as hyper exploitative and encourages troubling behavior that only serves to enrich companies through loopholes in our built in reward seeking behaviors.

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  • MortiousMortious The Nightmare Begins Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    edited November 2017
    Feral wrote: »
    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.

    A good point.

    For traditional online gambling, they're pushing the social aspect a lot more, with avatars and virtual casinos even for tradtionally single player games so people can engage with them a lot more.

    The implementation was quite janky when they started, I'm assuming it's improved in the last couple of years.

    Casino games have also become a lot more game like, with stories and player choices. The line between slot games and something like graphic novel type game with microtransactions is probably blurred by now.

    They also had achievements.

    So it's not just video games stealing from gambling practices, it goes the other way too.

    Mortious on
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  • ZekZek regular Registered User regular
    Iblis wrote: »
    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.

    That is a good question! Honestly I don't think there's much of a difference. There is some argument to be made about physical goods vs digital goods, but in the end I think that's kind of splitting hairs in what is the crux of the issue. These systems, regardless of what they are, are designed to exploit the way the human brains work to get at-risk personality types and children to pay more money than they would otherwise to get the same good. It's not a mistake that as lootboxes have taken off, various blind-bag toys have also exploded in popularity. People talk about how Overwatch set off the modern lootbox craze, but I think the real culprit is Hearthstone. That's when Activision-Blizzard realized they could essentially get people to gamble for digital goods and rake in a damn fortune. Hearthstone's system, while taking some from phone games and such, is of course inspired by good old Magic the Gathering.

    I think TF2 is the true culprit that really kicked off the loot box craze. I'm sure Valve wasn't the first to do it either, but they were probably the first example of a major AAA studio converting a successful property into a huge recurring revenue source using loot boxes and similar purchases surrounding the random loot drops. The specifics of how that system worked evolved over time until it solidified into what we see today, but I recall that loot boxes were a novel concept back when TF2 did it, and it already felt somewhat exploitative - the game practically taunted you by handing you a loot box which could only be opened by spending real money on a key.

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  • DaedalusDaedalus regular Registered User regular
    I find kinder eggs and similar stuff (like those "random superhero toy inside!" boxes everywhere) to be less bad because the toy you're getting is the end in itself and not there to further some game

    But this isn't a very nuanced position because my objection in the first place is that having a game sell stuff makes the game less fun, so I dunno, maybe the random toy boxes aren't really less bad but they're easier for me to ignore

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng 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.

    If you’re only going to accept the involvement of literal money in you’re definition of gambling then your definition isn’t an accurate one. While money is the most common, anything of value can be involved with gambling.

  • HefflingHeffling No Pic EverRegistered 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.

    The major difference between a CCG like Magic or even Vampire: The Eternal Struggle and a video game lootbox is that after opening the card pack, you have a physical good that can be traded. When you open a loot box, you gain a digital good that cannot be traded. So cards will have some value, with value determined by things like rarity, power in game, and popularity. The digital goods have no value because they cannot be traded.

    There are exceptions to this, of course. Steam allows you to trade digital goods from various Valve based games like TF2 or CS:GO. But this has lead to other problems, like digital gambling using Steam as a way to launder money.

    Other games may allow you to trade microtransactions (MTX) within game, but few if any allow you to cash out. This can be circumvented outside of the game but, as it doesn't involve the game maker as an intermediary, wouldn't technically be considered gambling.

    I personally don't think that lootboxes and the like fit the technical description of gambling due to the lack of redeemable value. I do think that psychologically these systems tickle the same part of the brain as gambling does, however.

    If a movement doesn't have someone that can sit down opposite those in a position of power and strike a deal, how can that movement achieve success?
  • HamHamJHamHamJ regular Registered User regular
    I personally think digital CCGs should have marketplaces. One the big reasons I don't play Hearthstone much is because I need X legendary for a deck and the only way to get it is to throw money in a black hole and pray. But you can play Magic without ever buying boosters. It's still expensive, but I can put the deck I want into coolstuffinc or whatever and know I can drop $400 to have this deck or not.

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  • SunrizeSunrize regular Registered User regular
    Xaquin wrote: »
    why are we assuming children are doing this?

    children do not have income. the amount of lootboxes they do or do not get depends solely on their parents (or cool Uncle David or whoever)

    I personally feel the "underage" element of potential gambling is pretty weighty, even if it is with a small weekly allowance. There's pretty good research to show how brain chemistry will change in both adults and children with repeated exposure to these type of rewards. Even big companies like Blizzard are pretty open about how they have specifically crafted their loot systems (World of Warcraft, Diablo) to use addiction-type rates of return.

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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
    Lootboxes giving sellable items is even worse, because that is just plain gambling (the prizes can be cashed out.) The big problem with encouraging gambling with children is that some of them will take to it and end up losing their house in the casinos when they are older.

    What I would predict is you'd get a cottage industry of people who buy lootboxes at high volumes at the cheapest price point possible. For example, Overwatch's 50 loot boxes for $40. Then they'd resell the contents at price points which reflect the total investment plus some minor profit.

    This is exactly what happens with CCGs.

    You'd still get a lot of players who open lootboxes as a form of gambling, but many players who simply want a specific chase rare will buy it on the secondary market. Or they'll purchase a complete set on the secondary market.

    I speculate, but I cannot prove, that the total amount of gambling behavior would actually decrease.

    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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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited November 2017
    Xaquin wrote: »
    why are we assuming children are doing this?

    children do not have income. the amount of lootboxes they do or do not get depends solely on their parents (or cool Uncle David or whoever)

    Also, children is relative. Folks from 15 to the mid-20s are usually the target demographic, those with poor impulse control and limited monetary experience but with sufficient funds from working to be able to spend extravagantly without a lot of personal overhead from dependents or encumbrances.

    Enc on
  • 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
    IMO Kinder Eggs and other blind toy packs are fine as long as the toys inside are roughly equivalent in value.

    If 1 out of every 1,000 bags contains a super-rare collector's toy, then I'm going to have a bit of a problem with that.

    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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  • HefflingHeffling No Pic EverRegistered User regular
    Tube wrote: »
    Xaquin wrote: »
    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

    That's an interesting point that I hadn't considered. Thanks! I've heard some people say that some lootbox games with secondary markets (I think CS GO?) are worse because it becomes more like actual, for cash, gambling.

    People don't directly gamble in CS:GO. CS:GO items are used as "chips" for gambling online, and can be cashed out through Steam. This means Steam is being used for money laundering.

    If a movement doesn't have someone that can sit down opposite those in a position of power and strike a deal, how can that movement achieve success?
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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    I personally think digital CCGs should have marketplaces. One the big reasons I don't play Hearthstone much is because I need X legendary for a deck and the only way to get it is to throw money in a black hole and pray. But you can play Magic without ever buying boosters. It's still expensive, but I can put the deck I want into coolstuffinc or whatever and know I can drop $400 to have this deck or not.

    You can also pay ~10c to print out a few pages of cards on a photocopier and stuff them into sleeves to play, but for some reason that isn't allowed in most play circles.

    Because, clearly, you are a better gamer if you spend money on arbitrary goods for card unlocking rather than simply sitting together to play a game.

  • TryCatcherTryCatcher regular Registered User regular
    Forar wrote: »
    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 a consumer, I find such things less egregious based on being physical items with the potential to trade or sell on a secondary market. Back when I played Magic, I eventually stopped buying booster boxes for cards, and instead simply bought outright the cards I wanted from a given set. If there were some that were too expensive for me to justify purchasing, even after hunting for deals on eBay and the like, I simply did without. I respect that as a casual player, this means something different to me than a professional player, but buying or trading for the hot new rares/mythics was part of that, and there were variants that went back across a variety of eras.

    On Magic, just like in many other pro gaming events, got to remember that pros don't own anything, they borrow stuff from the places that sponsor them. Which is why Magic has a case of Pros being completely detached of the realities of the secondary market.

    EncFeralElldren
  • IblisIblis regular Registered User regular
    Xaquin wrote: »
    why are we assuming children are doing this?

    children do not have income. the amount of lootboxes they do or do not get depends solely on their parents (or cool Uncle David or whoever)

    Kids get allowances, or do chores for money, etc. They then don't need a credit card to buy them, you can pick up gift cards at the drug store around the corner. There's lots of ways for kids to buy them without parental involvement aside from trusting kids with money.

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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
    Enc wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    I personally think digital CCGs should have marketplaces. One the big reasons I don't play Hearthstone much is because I need X legendary for a deck and the only way to get it is to throw money in a black hole and pray. But you can play Magic without ever buying boosters. It's still expensive, but I can put the deck I want into coolstuffinc or whatever and know I can drop $400 to have this deck or not.

    You can also pay ~10c to print out a few pages of cards on a photocopier and stuff them into sleeves to play, but for some reason that isn't allowed in most play circles.

    Because, clearly, you are a better gamer if you spend money on arbitrary goods for card unlocking rather than simply sitting together to play a game.

    Proxy tournaments in Magic used to be a pretty common thing until Wizards of the Coast cracked down on them.

    They can't stop you from running a proxy tournament, but they can withhold other perks from local game stores where such tournaments are held.

    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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  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    TryCatcher wrote: »
    On Magic, just like in many other pro gaming events, got to remember that pros don't own anything, they borrow stuff from the places that sponsor them. Which is why Magic has a case of Pros being completely detached of the realities of the secondary market.

    This is news to me, but I've been out of even the casual scene for more than a few years.

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  • milskimilski UNTZ UNTZ UNTZ UNTZ Registered User regular
    Tube wrote: »
    Xaquin wrote: »
    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

    That's an interesting point that I hadn't considered. Thanks! I've heard some people say that some lootbox games with secondary markets (I think CS GO?) are worse because it becomes more like actual, for cash, gambling.

    Yeah, this is kind of the tricky bit. On the one hand, lootboxes without a secondary market allow no recourse but to keep opening more and more hoping for the prize you want; there's no way to just say "well, I want Ragnaros, so I'm going to drop $8 for a single", you have to open 50 packs to maybe get him or whatever. On the other hand, if you have a secondary loot market and that market is unregulated you get weird shit like explicit CS:GO gambling sites.

    In between even becomes tricky; DotA 2 has lootboxes as part of The International, but typically has trade restrictions such that the only things you can buy during the event are the ultra mega rare drops; the commons and the rares and the very rares can only be obtained during the tournament by engaging in the loot box mechanic. And even then there's a very weird item economy around those games.

    You can't write me off like that! You're just a voice, pal! You don't know a DAMN THING ABOUT RACING!!
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  • XaquinXaquin regular Right behind you!Registered User regular
    Iblis wrote: »
    Xaquin wrote: »
    why are we assuming children are doing this?

    children do not have income. the amount of lootboxes they do or do not get depends solely on their parents (or cool Uncle David or whoever)

    Kids get allowances, or do chores for money, etc. They then don't need a credit card to buy them, you can pick up gift cards at the drug store around the corner. There's lots of ways for kids to buy them without parental involvement aside from trusting kids with money.

    yeah, they can buy candy and comics and a million other things too

    I have a copy of Pitt #1 somewhere

    far more useless than a gun skin probably

  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    TryCatcher wrote: »
    Forar wrote: »
    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 a consumer, I find such things less egregious based on being physical items with the potential to trade or sell on a secondary market. Back when I played Magic, I eventually stopped buying booster boxes for cards, and instead simply bought outright the cards I wanted from a given set. If there were some that were too expensive for me to justify purchasing, even after hunting for deals on eBay and the like, I simply did without. I respect that as a casual player, this means something different to me than a professional player, but buying or trading for the hot new rares/mythics was part of that, and there were variants that went back across a variety of eras.

    On Magic, just like in many other pro gaming events, got to remember that pros don't own anything, they borrow stuff from the places that sponsor them. Which is why Magic has a case of Pros being completely detached of the realities of the secondary market.

    I have no idea why this never occurred to me before. Would help explain the mana bases in everything somewhat.

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  • Captain InertiaCaptain Inertia regular Registered User regular
    Call it what you want- many of these companies design their gachas/loot boxes to exploit the small percentage of people who are psychologically attuned to spend $1000s (or more) through dopamine squirts. They don't make their money from 50k users spending $10 apiece- they make their money from 1000 users spending over $1000 each.

    I was one of those whales. It fucking sucked and I needed help from a therapist and a nearly wrecked marriage to break free from it.

    14357Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudElldren
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    Xaquin wrote: »
    Iblis wrote: »
    Xaquin wrote: »
    why are we assuming children are doing this?

    children do not have income. the amount of lootboxes they do or do not get depends solely on their parents (or cool Uncle David or whoever)

    Kids get allowances, or do chores for money, etc. They then don't need a credit card to buy them, you can pick up gift cards at the drug store around the corner. There's lots of ways for kids to buy them without parental involvement aside from trusting kids with money.

    yeah, they can buy candy and comics and a million other things too

    I have a copy of Pitt #1 somewhere

    far more useless than a gun skin probably

    Yes there are other things that could be a wasteful use of money. Some of them from markets that also use predatory advertising and sales. I’m not a fan of yet another one.

    durandal4532FANTOMASMan in the MistsshrykeElldrenshoeboxjeddy
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    edited November 2017
    Feral wrote: »
    Enc wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    I personally think digital CCGs should have marketplaces. One the big reasons I don't play Hearthstone much is because I need X legendary for a deck and the only way to get it is to throw money in a black hole and pray. But you can play Magic without ever buying boosters. It's still expensive, but I can put the deck I want into coolstuffinc or whatever and know I can drop $400 to have this deck or not.

    You can also pay ~10c to print out a few pages of cards on a photocopier and stuff them into sleeves to play, but for some reason that isn't allowed in most play circles.

    Because, clearly, you are a better gamer if you spend money on arbitrary goods for card unlocking rather than simply sitting together to play a game.

    Proxy tournaments in Magic used to be a pretty common thing until Wizards of the Coast cracked down on them.

    They can't stop you from running a proxy tournament, but they can withhold other perks from local game stores where such tournaments are held.

    Yeah, I mean that's the problem. So many of these circles are built around the games stores which, in turn, are complicit in encouraging the spending behavior (both because they need it to stay open as their profit margins are slim, and because Wizards will pull product if they don't). Its a cultural problem, and it is entirely toxic.

    Contrast set-based games with fixed decks or replayable, cooperative content (such as Board Games) which generally don't require micro-purchases for an equivalent amount of time of fun for a much lower price point. A quality product is made, and quality enjoyment is derived, but nobody is making $Texas off of it. Just a reasonable amount of sales from the publisher, who in turn uses that to sell expansions for a tidy profit.

    Like Catan or Arkham.

    Or, in the digital realm, a wide range of Co-Op video game MMOs and Multiplayer Co-Op games.

    Enc on
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  • HamHamJHamHamJ regular Registered User regular
    edited November 2017
    Enc wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    I personally think digital CCGs should have marketplaces. One the big reasons I don't play Hearthstone much is because I need X legendary for a deck and the only way to get it is to throw money in a black hole and pray. But you can play Magic without ever buying boosters. It's still expensive, but I can put the deck I want into coolstuffinc or whatever and know I can drop $400 to have this deck or not.

    You can also pay ~10c to print out a few pages of cards on a photocopier and stuff them into sleeves to play, but for some reason that isn't allowed in most play circles.

    Because, clearly, you are a better gamer if you spend money on arbitrary goods for card unlocking rather than simply sitting together to play a game.

    I've used tons of proxies in the past for many reasons. Which is another good example of the difference in consumer power between physical and digital goods.

    HamHamJ on
    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    edited November 2017
    I don't like the not revealing the odds thing but I also don't buy that stuff because of that. Like in ESO I'll happily spend crowns on some new eyelashes if I feel like it but i never buy any of their gamble stuff. But I'm sure there are people out there that don't even realize they don't actually tell you what the odds are and just assumes the good boxes have the same chance as the bad ones. And yeah, I think it probably would be better if they were required to be honest and upfront about it.

    One thing I've noticed in Google Apps store game, even when you think you should know the odds, you actually don't. Because it's presented as a choice of 3, making you think you have a 1 in 3 chance. Or, slightly more complicated, a spinning wheel wheel (so clearly presented as 1 in 10, or whatever, to get any of the shown rewards). It's all a lie. In one game I played you would free spin of the wheel a day(so it was possible to test it without spending money) and after doing that every day for about 3 months I did NOT get the best reward 1 in 10ish times. I got it 1 or 0 times (a year ago, can't recall exactly) in those about 100 spins. In fact I did not even get the second best reward 1 in 10. I got 2nd maybe 3 or 4 times in 100 spins of the wheel. So in game gambling can come weighted against you and they make you think otherwise in how they present it. That should be outright illegal in my opinion.

    Siska on
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  • discriderdiscrider regular Registered User regular
    I think that pay-to-win, and even play-to-win, games are problematic, not necessarily the loot drops per se.

    For instance, the main difference I see between BF2 and Tribes:Ascend is that BF2 also asked you to buy the base game whilst T:A was free to play. (I think without that price tag, this level of outrage would not have precipitated.)
    Both games gate mechanical advantages and core gameplay behind obscene amounts of playtime, or you could drop cash in order to expedite the process.
    That BF2 has a random element to the purchasing process is somewhat ancillary I think, and T:A suffered similar pushback when it gated core weapons of the Tribes series behind the time/money paywall (and eventually the developer released that weapon to everyone for free).

    I will even go so far as to disapprove of systems like Call of Duty, where playtime/modified profile files alone afford access to better weapons and perks.

    I simply do not think that a new player should be unable to access any mechanic in a game until they pay/play some more.

    The one rationalisation I'm willing to afford are scenarios like in Team Fortress 2. Here new weapons can be obtained randomly through a small investment of time each week.
    But also weapons can be earned through play by completing set tasks.
    A few of these tasks are somewhat unrealistic to achieve in sensible gameplay (Taunt/humiliation kills come to mind, where the opposing player has to pretty much be standing still), but most are obtainable and do represent a genuine increase in mastery over the game's mechanics.

    That is, more weapons can be earned by proving you are proficient with your current weapons.
    And if there is the concern about locking the new player down with decision paralysis, then gating mechanics in this way makes sense.

    But on the whole, any game that prevents a new player from accessing the same tools as an experienced player is garbage.
    Experienced players should only be able to beat new players by leveraging their experience.
    Anything else just cheapens a competitive game.

    This extends to CCGs as much as anything else.

    Gambling in videogames then only seems to be a problem for me when it violates this.
    Gambling for cosmetics or other non-gameplay-enhancing items seems to be fine.
    Admittedly some people do have gambling issues, and so perhaps we should be restricting their access to these systems regardless, even when they do not confer any in-game advantage.
    But I do not think it is the core problem in BF2 that caused this outrage.

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  • IblisIblis regular Registered User regular
    Xaquin wrote: »
    Iblis wrote: »
    Xaquin wrote: »
    why are we assuming children are doing this?

    children do not have income. the amount of lootboxes they do or do not get depends solely on their parents (or cool Uncle David or whoever)

    Kids get allowances, or do chores for money, etc. They then don't need a credit card to buy them, you can pick up gift cards at the drug store around the corner. There's lots of ways for kids to buy them without parental involvement aside from trusting kids with money.

    yeah, they can buy candy and comics and a million other things too

    I have a copy of Pitt #1 somewhere

    far more useless than a gun skin probably

    Yes, but you asked how kids can buy lootboxes if they don't have income. Most kids get money from their parents and it's trivially easy to then use that on them. Perhaps I misunderstood your point? If it's just that kids can't gamble themselves into dire financial straits, I don't think that's the only reason we should keep kids from essentially gambling. Others such as Sunrize and Celestialbadger have pointed out some good reasons why.

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  • Kipling217Kipling217 regular Registered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Enc wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    I personally think digital CCGs should have marketplaces. One the big reasons I don't play Hearthstone much is because I need X legendary for a deck and the only way to get it is to throw money in a black hole and pray. But you can play Magic without ever buying boosters. It's still expensive, but I can put the deck I want into coolstuffinc or whatever and know I can drop $400 to have this deck or not.

    You can also pay ~10c to print out a few pages of cards on a photocopier and stuff them into sleeves to play, but for some reason that isn't allowed in most play circles.

    Because, clearly, you are a better gamer if you spend money on arbitrary goods for card unlocking rather than simply sitting together to play a game.

    Proxy tournaments in Magic used to be a pretty common thing until Wizards of the Coast cracked down on them.

    They can't stop you from running a proxy tournament, but they can withhold other perks from local game stores where such tournaments are held.

    Yeah, I mean that's the problem. So many of these circles are built around the games stores which, in turn, are complicit in encouraging the spending behavior (both because they need it to stay open as their profit margins are slim, and because Wizards will pull product if they don't). Its a cultural problem, and it is entirely toxic.

    Contrast set-based games with fixed decks or replayable, cooperative content (such as Board Games) which generally don't require micro-purchases for an equivalent amount of time of fun for a much lower price point. A quality product is made, and quality enjoyment is derived, but nobody is making $Texas off of it. Just a reasonable amount of sales from the publisher, who in turn uses that to sell expansions for a tidy profit.

    Like Catan or Arkham.

    Or, in the digital realm, a wide range of Co-Op video game MMOs and Multiplayer Co-Op games.

    Or you know the board game: Robo Rally.

    Which was the game Wizards of the Coast actually wanted to release, but didn't have the money to do a good enough production run off. So they released some random card game called Magic:the Gathering from the same designer as a quick cash grab.

    True story.

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    EncElvenshaeshryke
  • 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
    dang drafts
    Enc wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    Enc wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    I personally think digital CCGs should have marketplaces. One the big reasons I don't play Hearthstone much is because I need X legendary for a deck and the only way to get it is to throw money in a black hole and pray. But you can play Magic without ever buying boosters. It's still expensive, but I can put the deck I want into coolstuffinc or whatever and know I can drop $400 to have this deck or not.

    You can also pay ~10c to print out a few pages of cards on a photocopier and stuff them into sleeves to play, but for some reason that isn't allowed in most play circles.

    Because, clearly, you are a better gamer if you spend money on arbitrary goods for card unlocking rather than simply sitting together to play a game.

    Proxy tournaments in Magic used to be a pretty common thing until Wizards of the Coast cracked down on them.

    They can't stop you from running a proxy tournament, but they can withhold other perks from local game stores where such tournaments are held.

    Yeah, I mean that's the problem. So many of these circles are built around the games stores which, in turn, are complicit in encouraging the spending behavior (both because they need it to stay open as their profit margins are slim, and because Wizards will pull product if they don't). Its a cultural problem, and it is entirely toxic.

    Contrast set-based games with fixed decks or replayable, cooperative content (such as Board Games) which generally don't require micro-purchases for an equivalent amount of time of fun for a much lower price point. A quality product is made, and quality enjoyment is derived, but nobody is making $Texas off of it. Just a reasonable amount of sales from the publisher, who in turn uses that to sell expansions for a tidy profit.

    Like Catan or Arkham.

    Oh, yeah. I totally agree. I enjoy Magic as a game, but I've been pretty vocal about how the business model is a little bit pyramidy.

    It's not a pyramid scheme per se, but there's an aspect of that there.

    Running a tournament is usually a net-loss or break-even proposition for a game store. The incentive to run a tournament is to bring in foot traffic and sell cards and drive the singles market.

    A big distributor like Star City Games or Channel Fireball is buying, and opening, vast volumes of booster packs at wholesaler prices (roughly $2.20 per pack, or $79.20 per box). Compare to MSRP of $3.99 per pack or $143.64 per box. They have people paid minimum wage (or even volunteers) open pack after pack after pack, sort them, upload them to an inventory system, and sell them as singles. The prices then reach equilibrium based on this $2.20 per pack cost plus overhead, labor, and profit.

    Then they run a retail operation, either a storefront or a table at a tournament, where you can sell your cards back to them at 50-60% of their singles price... but the singles prices are already based on that 45% wholesaler markdown.

    If you're a game store and you can get adequate volume, that's a decent business model.

    If you're a player, and you're buying packs at MSRP, this is the equivalent of playing a casino game with roughly 25-33% rate of return. Even as casino games go, that's pretty bad.

    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.
    milskiEncBrainleechElldren
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