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Penny Arcade - Comic - oVoid

DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
edited June 24 in The Penny Arcade Hub

imagePenny Arcade - Comic - oVoid

Videogaming-related online strip by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. Includes news and commentary.

Read the full story here


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Posts

  • GrahamfGrahamf Registered User new member
    ...Aren't Kinder Surprises banned in the USA?

  • darklordgenesisdarklordgenesis Registered User new member
    they are not currently banned here, but were previously

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON IndiaRegistered User regular
    I thought they were banned because you could choke on the toy.

    MenasorH3Knucklestastydonuts
  • PlatyPlaty Registered User regular
    Kinder Surprise still seems banned but the Kinder Joy variant isn't (which doesn't have the toy embedded)

    The US ban operates on the assumption that you would put the whole egg plus internal plastic container in your mouth

    Smrtnik
  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited June 24
    The ban goes a little farther than that. They ran afoul of a law from the 30's, but when they were first being spread globally they were being considered for (and looked likely to get since they weren't the first food given a pass on this law) approval anyway, with some labeling requirements. That consideration went away in 1997 because they were caught illegally labeling them as a different product and importing them through intermediaries to hide their origin.

    It didn't help that they got caught still importing them under false labels a couple more times. Ferrero almost had to pull all their products from the US, but there were mysteriously no records of the mislabeled boxes anywhere so nobody could prove they authorized them.

    Hevach on
  • Kwisatz Haderach Kwisatz Haderach The power to destroy a thing is the absolute control over it. Registered User regular
    Platy wrote: »
    The US ban operates on the assumption that you would put the whole egg plus internal plastic container in your mouth

    #America 8-)

    Bobblebowen
  • PlatyPlaty Registered User regular
    We once tried to test how well we could fit an entire Dickmann in our mouths

  • PlatyPlaty Registered User regular
    One thing about loot boxes which gets me is that 9 out of 10 times it's something like "white t-shirt" or "brown shoes"

    You have to open box after box to get anything cool, don't think I was ever disappointed by the contents of a Kinder Egg

    HeatwaveH3Knuckles
  • twmjrtwmjr Registered User regular
    Loot boxes become pretty indefensible to me if you consider a simple situation: any of these companies could make decent amounts of money selling specific items in loot boxes by putting them in an item store for a fixed price -- even if that price was substantial for certain items. They could do this and receive relatively little push back (ignoring a scenario where the items are non-cosmetic in a multiplayer game etc). So why don't they do this? Why insist on loot boxes when this is a better model for both the consumer and their own PR? Because the extra income from the predatory nature of lootboxes outweighs bad PR and bad consumer treatment. The fact that there's a formula that spits out "People think we're aholes and we're abusing our customers but moneyhats!" is a huge problem.

    AssuranDjiemLeon2309Man in the MistsHeatwaveSorceAldoH3Knucklesfurlion
  • ironheadironhead Registered User regular
    As shitty as this behavior is, it's not going to change until people stop buying these games. Making it illegal will hurt them in the short term but it will only be temporary. Companies like EA will find loop holes in the law or they will find some other predatory practice to help exploit the financially irresponsible. And honestly, as callous as this may sound, it's not their job to worry about your brother with a gambling addiction. That responsibility should be on him and his loved ones.

  • PlatyPlaty Registered User regular
    ironhead wrote: »
    As shitty as this behavior is, it's not going to change until people stop buying these games. Making it illegal will hurt them in the short term but it will only be temporary. Companies like EA will find loop holes in the law or they will find some other predatory practice to help exploit the financially irresponsible. And honestly, as callous as this may sound, it's not their job to worry about your brother with a gambling addiction. That responsibility should be on him and his loved ones.

    Games like Fortnite specifically target and market to children

    Also governments have been regulating and supervising gambling for hundreds of years

    H3Knuckles
  • dennisdennis Registered User regular
    ironhead wrote: »
    As shitty as this behavior is, it's not going to change until people stop buying these games. Making it illegal will hurt them in the short term but it will only be temporary. Companies like EA will find loop holes in the law or they will find some other predatory practice to help exploit the financially irresponsible. And honestly, as callous as this may sound, it's not their job to worry about your brother with a gambling addiction. That responsibility should be on him and his loved ones.

    Fuck THAT. It is their responsibility to worry about your TEN YEAR OLD brother with a gambling addiction that they enabled.

    I don't know how much I have to even explain why this is so. I'm all for drug legalization, but not for someone selling my kids (even otherwise legal) drugs.

    DjiemNightslyrLeon2309Man in the MistsNothingH3Knuckles
  • GrendusGrendus Registered User regular
    I'm OK with loot boxes if you can buy the contents individually for a reasonable price. Taking The Division 2 as an example, while you can buy lootboxes from the store you can also buy the skins, outfits, and emotes directly from the store for a bit more. It remains to be seen how well that mixed style of microtransactions and lootboxes will play out, but TD2 seems to be doing well so we'll see how it shakes out when Ubisoft reports their earnings next quarter.

  • KaitensatsumaKaitensatsuma Registered User regular
    Wait, how did Cracker Jacks not get banned under the same "Your dumb kid may swallow the toy" logic?

  • T-DangerT-Danger Registered User regular
    The expressions throughout this comic are brilliant. That woman is either thinking "Fuck, this sounded so much more convincing in the shower this morning." or "Oh no, they've activated the suicide chip in my brain!"

  • DaimarDaimar A Million Feet Tall of Awesome Registered User regular
    T-Danger wrote: »
    The expressions throughout this comic are brilliant. That woman is either thinking "Fuck, this sounded so much more convincing in the shower this morning." or "Oh no, they've activated the suicide chip in my brain!"

    I saw the actual answer in a news wrap up video and it is just as creepy in real life. I think this should start around the 3 minute mark, but if it doesn't just skip there for the excerpt, her answer runs about 2 minutes.

    steam_sig.png
    twitch.tv/kragaar
    Kaitensatsuma
  • GONG-00GONG-00 Registered User regular
    Regulated gambling has a requirement that the odds of winning, slight though they may be, are available to inform decision making in regards to playing or not. Slot Machines and other mechanical of chance are subject to inspection for tampering or rigging which might make it harder to win. Likewise, the source code for wholly computerized machines are available to regulators. Currently, there is no regulations at all to make sure that the digital rolls of the dice behind the screen are legit and not weighted by some algorithm designed to milk whales of their cash. Personally, I prefer ala carte microtransaction systems, but if loot boxes or surprise mechanics are going to stick around, I'd rather their be some sort of oversight and regulation.

    Future Employee of Planetary Acquisitions, Inc.
    Pax Arcadia(PC) Division Agent
    xu257gunns6e.png

    H3Knuckles
  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    At a certain point, aren't people going to realize, as the comic states, they're selling eggs that aren't real, containing toys that don't exist?

    And the gambling thing is a bit of a farce. People who get sucked into these things aren't addicted to gambling. They have a really poor judgement of value. They're the kind of people who feel like having something simply because it's "rare" gives it value. They also falsely believe having these "rare" items somehow is going to bring actual joy, pride, and a sense of being special in their online games.

    I knew a guy who apparently spent between $1k and $2k in Star Wars because he needed to have some sort of special light saber color that only dropped from loot boxes, as if that would fulfill some sort of missing space in his life. It didn't. And when he finally got that super rare, super special cosmetic, he was hot shit for all of 2 minutes. And then no one gave a fuck. Everyone went back to enjoying their own game. It wasn't until then that the realization of the emptiness of it all (including his wallet), hit him like a blast from the 2nd Death Star.

    The reason I bring this up is that we can put all sorts of rules and regulations on this. Regulate it like it's gambling. Make gaming illegal for minors. Force EA games to be behind glass in Wal-Mart. Do whatever. But it won't do a single thing to change the industry, because it's not actually getting to the root of the problem. Sure, some regulation to make sure game companies aren't literally cheating customers (by releasing the odds to the public, and making sure the algorithms and code behind the boxes are available to regulators). But you're not actually going to stop people from cashing in on loot boxes.

    People with what you might call a mental disability are still going to fall full on sucker for these types of things. Classifying it as gambling does nothing to deter the person who doesn't see themselves as gamblers. The best we can hope for is that these poor bastards who are throwing millions of dollars away, chasing fantasies, are at least NOT getting illegally ripped off.



  • KaitensatsumaKaitensatsuma Registered User regular
    edited June 24
    Daimar wrote: »
    T-Danger wrote: »
    The expressions throughout this comic are brilliant. That woman is either thinking "Fuck, this sounded so much more convincing in the shower this morning." or "Oh no, they've activated the suicide chip in my brain!"

    I saw the actual answer in a news wrap up video and it is just as creepy in real life. I think this should start around the 3 minute mark, but if it doesn't just skip there for the excerpt, her answer runs about 2 minutes.

    "If you go to your version of a Target and you go to the Toy Section"

    Let me stop you *right there*

    I know damn well what toy I'm buying when I go to a Toy Store. I don't hand the Cashier ten bucks and say "Surprise me" XD

    Then he repeats the question of whether they're *Ethical Or Not* and she tries to subtly assert he's mischaracterizing what she said

    Kaitensatsuma on
  • marsiliesmarsilies Registered User regular
    Wait, how did Cracker Jacks not get banned under the same "Your dumb kid may swallow the toy" logic?

    Cracker Jack toys, or toys in cereal for that matter, aren't "embedded" in the food/candy, i.e. completely or partially enveloped by it.

    https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/cms_ia/importalert_107.html
    Section 402(d)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act provides that confectionery having partially, or completely imbedded therein, any non-nutritive object is adulterated unless FDA has issued a regulation recognizing that the non-nutritive object is of practical functional value to the confectionery product and would not render the product injurious or hazardous to health.

    A "non-nutritive object of practical functional value" would be something like a lolipop stick. This video explains the reasoning of the ban a bit.


    Platy wrote: »
    The US ban operates on the assumption that you would put the whole egg plus internal plastic container in your mouth

    #America 8-)
    To be fair, the British seem to have issue with crunchy frogs and metal springs in their candy:

    Tofystedeth
  • PlatyPlaty Registered User regular
    ironzerg wrote: »
    And the gambling thing is a bit of a farce. People who get sucked into these things aren't addicted to gambling. They have a really poor judgement of value. They're the kind of people who feel like having something simply because it's "rare" gives it value. They also falsely believe having these "rare" items somehow is going to bring actual joy, pride, and a sense of being special in their online games.

    Looking at PUBG, you buy a key for $2.50 and then you might get a $200 item out of it (which you can sell and then the money goes into your Steam wallet and you can buy games for it)

    Most of the time, you're only getting something where the resale value is only a few cents

    It should be easy to see why this system has similarities to gambling

    marsiliesH3Knuckles
  • PlatyPlaty Registered User regular
    edited June 24
    Actually let's not delve into my personal experiences

    Platy on
  • marsiliesmarsilies Registered User regular
    "If you go to your version of a Target and you go to the Toy Section"

    Let me stop you *right there*

    I know damn well what toy I'm buying when I go to a Toy Store. I don't hand the Cashier ten bucks and say "Surprise me" XD
    To be fair, there's certain toys that have a surprise element where you don't know exactly what you're getting, and she specifically mentions Hatchimals and LOL Surprise, where you don't know which of the variety of models of that toy you're getting when you buy it. Cabbage Patch even did a "Surprise Newborn Twins" toy where they hid the gender of the dolls you were buying:
    http://www.toyboxphilosopher.com/2016/08/sunday-surprise-cabbage-patch-kids.html

    Now, there's a difference in that, putting personal preference aside, these "surprise" toys are always giving you a toy of equivalent value, just different cosmetics. There's isn't one box with a cheap, tiny plastic thing, and the next box has a game console in it. Also, I believe all the varieties are produced in equal quantities, meaning you have an even chance of finding any one particular model.

    So, yes there are toys that "surprise" you a bit with what, specifically, you'll get. However, I don't think any of these are equivalent to loot boxes.

  • dennisdennis Registered User regular
    marsilies wrote: »
    Now, there's a difference in that, putting personal preference aside, these "surprise" toys are always giving you a toy of equivalent value, just different cosmetics. There's isn't one box with a cheap, tiny plastic thing, and the next box has a game console in it. Also, I believe all the varieties are produced in equal quantities, meaning you have an even chance of finding any one particular model.

    Now I'm just imagining the kid opening up their Surprise Newborn Twins package and all it contains is a tiny pair of brown pants.

    marsilies
  • marsiliesmarsilies Registered User regular
    edited June 24
    ironzerg wrote: »
    And the gambling thing is a bit of a farce. People who get sucked into these things aren't addicted to gambling. They have a really poor judgement of value...
    Maybe that's true of some, but for others it's an awful lot like a gambling addiction.

    Here's a 19 year old describing how his loot box addiction started at 14:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/StarWarsBattlefront/comments/7dfoqg/an_open_letter_to_dice_ea_and_other_devs_i_am_19/

    A particularly relevant quote:
    My problem stems from a deeper issue, my addiction to gambling. This addiction is a personal failing of mine and the reason I cant in good conscience buy games that offer an loot crate, at all. [Not buying games with loot crates] is a coping strategy that I use to keep away from the temptation of opening these crates...

    I am ashamed to say for the next year or so my mother and I didn't get along. She and I both have very controlled type-A personalities. I think this actually lowers my resistance to gambling, because I cant control the out come it appeals to me in a subtle way. The endorphin rush I get when I win a bet is much larger than some of my more artistic or literary friends, but I digress.

    marsilies on
  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    I kinda do and don't buy their argument. It isn't gambling. You will never get a payout. You knew that when you signed up.

    But comparing it to gambling is sleight of hand. The issue they're papering over is that even gambling isn't about chasing the payout. It's chasing the high of winning. And that's as applicable to a kid playing fortnite as it is to the gambler living in debt.

    That's what they're monetizing. The chase. They're banking that the disappointment of "white t-shirt" stacks up long enough that when you get "blue t-shirt", you'll feel so good you won't really think twice about the fact that you spent real money to do so.

    Steam|FFXIV|Switch SW-3472-4893-0802
    TofystedethNightslyrdennisH3KnucklesSolvent
  • DaimarDaimar A Million Feet Tall of Awesome Registered User regular
    Delzhand wrote: »
    I kinda do and don't buy their argument. It isn't gambling. You will never get a payout. You knew that when you signed up.

    But comparing it to gambling is sleight of hand. The issue they're papering over is that even gambling isn't about chasing the payout. It's chasing the high of winning. And that's as applicable to a kid playing fortnite as it is to the gambler living in debt.

    That's what they're monetizing. The chase. They're banking that the disappointment of "white t-shirt" stacks up long enough that when you get "blue t-shirt", you'll feel so good you won't really think twice about the fact that you spent real money to do so.

    Just to be a nitpick, but Fortnite doesn't have loot boxes, you know exactly which cosmetics you're buying or working toward. Agree with all the rest.

    steam_sig.png
    twitch.tv/kragaar
  • PlatyPlaty Registered User regular
    edited June 24
    On Steam you can buy other games with the Steam wallet funds you get from selling your items - which is a sort of payout

    And there are ways to transfer those funds into real money, though you end up with less of course

    Despite all the white t-shirts there was a time you could almost break even from what you got out of PUBG loot boxes (in terms of Steam wallet funds) - what you "lost" was essentially like a house edge

    It did operate psychologically like a casino in that you always got some of those Steam funds/chips back to keep you playing

    Platy on
  • MarcinMNMarcinMN Registered User regular
    edited June 24
    dennis wrote: »
    marsilies wrote: »
    Now, there's a difference in that, putting personal preference aside, these "surprise" toys are always giving you a toy of equivalent value, just different cosmetics. There's isn't one box with a cheap, tiny plastic thing, and the next box has a game console in it. Also, I believe all the varieties are produced in equal quantities, meaning you have an even chance of finding any one particular model.

    Now I'm just imagining the kid opening up their Surprise Newborn Twins package and all it contains is a tiny pair of brown pants.

    And a little card with the link to the website where he/she can buy a doll to go with those pants. ;)

    Funny side note: Before today I had never even heard of these Kinder eggs. Then after work today I was at the campus bookstore at my community college and there were Kinder Joy eggs on the counter. lol

    MarcinMN on
  • marsiliesmarsilies Registered User regular
    edited June 25
    MarcinMN wrote: »
    Funny side note: Before today I had never even heard of these Kinder eggs. Then after work today I was at the campus bookstore at my community college and there were Kinder Joy eggs on the counter.
    The Kinder Joy eggs have been out in the US for about a year and a half now. They've been slowly getting more distribution.
    https://www.today.com/food/kinder-joy-chocolate-eggs-are-coming-us-t118667

    The Kinder Surprise eggs are still banned in the US. Interestingly, the Kinder Joy eggs created years ago to be sold in warmer climates, where the Kinder Surprise eggs had a tendency for the chocolate shell to melt, making it a sticky mess to get to the toy. Separating the toy and chocolate into distinct halves of the egg packaging solved this problem, and Ferraro eventually figured out they could sell this variation in the US as well.

    marsilies on
  • dennisdennis Registered User regular
    MarcinMN wrote: »
    Funny side note: Before today I had never even heard of these Kinder eggs. Then after work today I was at the campus bookstore at my community college and there were Kinder Joy eggs on the counter. lol

    Now that you're aware of them, you'll see them everywhere. There's even one in your mouth right now.

    QuidMichaelLCMoridin889
  • MarcinMNMarcinMN Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    MarcinMN wrote: »
    Funny side note: Before today I had never even heard of these Kinder eggs. Then after work today I was at the campus bookstore at my community college and there were Kinder Joy eggs on the counter. lol

    Now that you're aware of them, you'll see them everywhere. There's even one in your mouth right now.

    I'm choking! :p

    Golden YakdennisTamerBill
  • DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    MarcinMN wrote: »
    dennis wrote: »
    MarcinMN wrote: »
    Funny side note: Before today I had never even heard of these Kinder eggs. Then after work today I was at the campus bookstore at my community college and there were Kinder Joy eggs on the counter. lol

    Now that you're aware of them, you'll see them everywhere. There's even one in your mouth right now.

    I'm choking! :p

    It's not choking, it's "surprise erotic asphyxiation"!

    Steam|FFXIV|Switch SW-3472-4893-0802
    dennisH3KnucklesSorce
  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    Delzhand wrote: »
    MarcinMN wrote: »
    dennis wrote: »
    MarcinMN wrote: »
    Funny side note: Before today I had never even heard of these Kinder eggs. Then after work today I was at the campus bookstore at my community college and there were Kinder Joy eggs on the counter. lol

    Now that you're aware of them, you'll see them everywhere. There's even one in your mouth right now.

    I'm choking! :p

    It's not choking, it's "surprise erotic asphyxiation"!

    Very fun and ethical.

    steam_sig.png
  • DjiemDjiem Registered User regular
    Kinker Surprise

    AldoDelzhand
  • Train DodgerTrain Dodger Registered User regular
    I remember when everyone complained about Horse Armor in Oblivion for $2.50 or whatever, and what a huge ripoff it was. Now, people spend $20 for Silver or Coins or Gems or whatever to get a random pick of shit that’s already in the damn game.

    Did any of us have any idea how bad things could get, back then?

    H3Knuckles
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Yeah that's why they didn't like the horse armour.

    Some would say it was the first wedge in opening this door, but it actually was paying to unlock levels in shareware.

    So Commander Keen is truly the Alpha and Omega of gaming.

    Mugsley wrote:
    So now I need to get it trimmed and adjusted, and all in.

    Steam:MichaelLC
    dennisCommander Zoom
  • dennisdennis Registered User regular
    I don't hate the horse armor, because I know these companies are ravenous for cash and at least that avenue is one that's not Pay to Win. I'm okay with Pay to Look Good/Weird.

    H3KnucklescB557Moridin889
  • RatherDashing89RatherDashing89 Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    I don't hate the horse armor, because I know these companies are ravenous for cash and at least that avenue is one that's not Pay to Win. I'm okay with Pay to Look Good/Weird.

    I personally don't distinguish much between pay to win and cosmetics. I play games for the gameplay, story, appearance... really the whole experience with different priorities depending on the game. So things looking right are just as much "winning" to me as actually winning. I mean, it doesn't affect me much because I don't play multiplayer with strangers very much anymore. But when I did, I almost wished they offered a way to pay to not have everyone else in ridiculous costumes--pay to have things actually look the way the designers intended instead of filled with a bunch of memes the studio made them add.

    Djiem
  • marsiliesmarsilies Registered User regular
    MichaelLC wrote: »
    Some would say it was the first wedge in opening this door, but it actually was paying to unlock levels in shareware.
    Shareware was the precursor to F2P, but at least it was the fairly benign form of "you like this? pay for more!" F2P. Basically fancy/extended demos, where you got like a 1/3 of the game to try out.

    Loot boxes are like a combination of microtransactions with in-game random prizes. Random prizes awarded in game for certain achievements is fine, it's when they add the ability to use real money to buy turns in the random prize games that it turns into gambling.

    H3KnucklesCommander Zoom
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