Lootboxes, Microtransactions, and [Gambling in Gaming]

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  • NyysjanNyysjan FinlandRegistered User regular
    I may just be the old man yelling at clouds.
    But i miss the times when games came in a huge ass box, with a fucking book for a manual, with character bios, art, credits and shit in them.

    JaysonFourAntinumericBethryndiscriderJazzFencingsaxRedcoat-13Kayne Red RobeForarKetarMoridin889LoisLaneAegisElvenshae38thDoeBullheadAistanLord_AsmodeusSolarEmperorSethHefflingkimeDrovekNobodyGONG-00ShadowfireMartini_PhilosopherN1tSt4lkerdavidsdurionsNobeardbowenJeep-EepSolventThawmusCambiata
  • MillMill Registered User regular
    Honestly, I'm perfectly fine if we enter a world where the likes of Blizzard can't design their game to be a fucking job. I largely stopped playing the game because the design decisions that make it like a fucking job, are the exact decisions chosen to ensure that people are unlikely to put the game down or unsub. It's not done to make the game an enjoyable experience, it's done to make the company as much money as possible without regard to how harmful that is. I'd wager Blizz knows damn well that making it so the game is like a job that punishes people putting it down, keeps people playing and they have probably based that off of research. Much like the tobacco companies and fossil fuel companies, they know damn well their design picks away at easily manipulated parts of the human mind and that there are people who'll lose their jobs and generally screw up their lives. Probably what makes them worse than tobacco companies and fossil fuel companies, is that they know society will be like "well people should do a better job at time management," and they probably intend to use that to skirt responsibility and keep doing this. So fuck them if their little house of cards crumbles.

    Just like companies can still make money without loot boxes. They can also make money, if they can't use unethical design choices to maximize money. Maybe this shit will finally get enough of society on board with the idea of maybe their needs to be a discussion on how we should police companies and that maybe we shouldn't tolerate mindsets that put profits above all. The really shitty choices are being chosen entirely because it ensures these companies can maximize their short term profits, while not giving a fuck about anything else.

    AntinumericdiscriderIncenjucarDrovekJeep-Eep
  • -Loki--Loki- Don't pee in my mouth and tell me it's raining. Registered User regular
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    I may just be the old man yelling at clouds.
    But i miss the times when games came in a huge ass box, with a fucking book for a manual, with character bios, art, credits and shit in them.

    I just found my Homeworld and Homeworld Cataclysm game manuals that were lore encyclopaedias.

    More games need that.

    Nyysjan
  • JaysonFourJaysonFour Classy Monster Kitteh Registered User regular
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    I may just be the old man yelling at clouds.
    But i miss the times when games came in a huge ass box, with a fucking book for a manual, with character bios, art, credits and shit in them.

    I still have all the boxes and stuff for most of mine. Artbooks and extras were always a selling point to me- I ate that shit up like candy, and it's always nice to be able to go deeper into the story/world/what have you (I'm a sucker for a good story).

    Raid mechanics need a kick in the ass, easily- at least Blizzard's do. Is the way FFXIV does it- instead of gear for the big raids, you get tokens to exchange for gear, so you don't just run for nothing each time- you always get something useful- any better, so you don't have to constantly hope your shit drops?

    steam_sig.png
  • NyysjanNyysjan FinlandRegistered User regular
    I still have the original baldur's gate manual.
    I actually used it while playing the enhanced edition baldur's gate.

    AntinumericKayne Red RobeAegisTNTrooper
  • JaysonFourJaysonFour Classy Monster Kitteh Registered User regular
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    I still have the original baldur's gate manual.
    I actually used it while playing the enhanced edition baldur's gate.

    I, uhm... don't throw anything out. I still have my old game magazines and stuff from the 90s, and I use them to great effect nowadays what with everything being rereleased (plus it gives me a reason to re-read them).

    I could even say I don't mind when stuff was just released as DLC- I mean, if it was a good pile of stuff for the money, then sure, I didn't mind- like a whole mess of maps for a shooter that hadn't been hidden on the disc, or a new expansion, or whatever. But stuff coded on a disc that goes Day 1 DLC? That's the kind of thing that needs a smack. Why not just put it in the base game if it's on the disc?

    steam_sig.png
  • NyysjanNyysjan FinlandRegistered User regular
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    I still have the original baldur's gate manual.
    I actually used it while playing the enhanced edition baldur's gate.

    I, uhm... don't throw anything out. I still have my old game magazines and stuff from the 90s, and I use them to great effect nowadays what with everything being rereleased (plus it gives me a reason to re-read them).

    I could even say I don't mind when stuff was just released as DLC- I mean, if it was a good pile of stuff for the money, then sure, I didn't mind- like a whole mess of maps for a shooter that hadn't been hidden on the disc, or a new expansion, or whatever. But stuff coded on a disc that goes Day 1 DLC? That's the kind of thing that needs a smack. Why not just put it in the base game if it's on the disc?
    Please throw things out. Not doing so makes the fire marshal sad.

    Frankly, i'd say on disc dlc is still a step better than not having anything in CD and having to download everything anyway.
    That said day one DLC on disc is still a fucking travesty, but we seem to have mostly gotten past that, and into worse territory.

  • -Loki--Loki- Don't pee in my mouth and tell me it's raining. Registered User regular
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    But stuff coded on a disc that goes Day 1 DLC? That's the kind of thing that needs a smack. Why not just put it in the base game if it's on the disc?

    Publishers and feature lock, basically.

    Generally, Day 1 DLC is planned as a separate feature, and has a different team working on it. If it’s actually ready when the game goes gold, there’s no reason to not put it on the disk and save everyone the bandwidth.!Publishers don’t like it when you give away something that was meant to be monetised, since it eats into their take. They don’t like extra features in general after feature lock (like the VtM: Bloodlines dancing that was added after feature lock and pissed off Activision).

    However, it gets hard to tell if something was actually planned DLC and finished in time to be put on the disk or if it was content cut from the base game to be sold to make extra money.

  • reVersereVerse Attack and Dethrone God Registered User regular
    edited September 2019
    On disc DLC was a thing because the 360 didn't have a hard drive by default, so you couldn't patch games. They still wanted to sell you DLC though, so they just slapped it on there and then charged you for a 10kb unlock code. And since the 360 was the lead console of its generation, no one bothered to do it different for the PS3 versions.

    reVerse on
  • DrascinDrascin Registered User regular
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    reVerse wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    Why can't they just make a decent game and sell the damn thing and make money that way, like they used to?

    Because while that would make them money, it won't make them geometrically increasing sums of money quarter after quarter.

    ...I'm starting to think I might have approved more of how games were developed before all of this shit became normal.

    I've hated the shift in game development ever since microtransactions became a thing, the trend has been nothing but a cancer on good game development since it started. You remember when games used to have fun cheat codes? Can't have that shit anymore, it's gotta be parceled out as paid (extra!) content. Neat alternate costumes? Have to pack that crap into lootboxes to make it tenfold more time consuming to get, but with a convenient cash option to speed up the process (but not skip it!). New maps? DLC. Double new maps? Split it up and sell it as four map packs. Expansion pack? To hell with that, bloat it out a bit and call it a sequel, now with lootboxes!

    There's a reason the industry has been plagued with mediocre sequels instead of new originals, and it's mostly because nobody wants to make new original content when they can just use rewarmed old content to mine people out with lootboxes and microtransactions.

    I don't even mind DLC microtransactions in theory! In the end it's just parcelling what used to be a big expansion into a ton of little things you can pick up a la carte - no real issue with that, in theory. Like, Paradox wants to sell ten 5 dollar DLC packs instead of one 40-dollar expansion? No issue here!

    The problem is when microtransactions have come to mean "spend money on in-game currency to buy [predatory random boxes/boosters you need to make the game tolerable/energy to play the actual fucking game/basic quality of life stuff that should have been basic design]"

    Steam ID: Right here.
  • JaysonFourJaysonFour Classy Monster Kitteh Registered User regular
    Like locking the best healing potions- the ones that heal 50% of your total HP- in an MMO in lootboxes that are an absolute pain to grind keys for if you don't just break out the credit card and buy the damned things from the cash shop? The potions that are pretty much essential for super-late-game content because the mobs hit like Abrams tanks? And the armor materials in different lootboxes that take the same freaking keys, to make the armor that allows you to even tank hits from them, and the fact that even making the armor is a damned crapshoot? (My next armor level requires a lot of resources, and it's a fucking coin flip if I don't just piss away all the mats...)

    steam_sig.png
  • NyysjanNyysjan FinlandRegistered User regular
    Drascin wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    reVerse wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    Why can't they just make a decent game and sell the damn thing and make money that way, like they used to?

    Because while that would make them money, it won't make them geometrically increasing sums of money quarter after quarter.

    ...I'm starting to think I might have approved more of how games were developed before all of this shit became normal.

    I've hated the shift in game development ever since microtransactions became a thing, the trend has been nothing but a cancer on good game development since it started. You remember when games used to have fun cheat codes? Can't have that shit anymore, it's gotta be parceled out as paid (extra!) content. Neat alternate costumes? Have to pack that crap into lootboxes to make it tenfold more time consuming to get, but with a convenient cash option to speed up the process (but not skip it!). New maps? DLC. Double new maps? Split it up and sell it as four map packs. Expansion pack? To hell with that, bloat it out a bit and call it a sequel, now with lootboxes!

    There's a reason the industry has been plagued with mediocre sequels instead of new originals, and it's mostly because nobody wants to make new original content when they can just use rewarmed old content to mine people out with lootboxes and microtransactions.

    I don't even mind DLC microtransactions in theory! In the end it's just parcelling what used to be a big expansion into a ton of little things you can pick up a la carte - no real issue with that, in theory. Like, Paradox wants to sell ten 5 dollar DLC packs instead of one 40-dollar expansion? No issue here!

    The problem is when microtransactions have come to mean "spend money on in-game currency to buy [predatory random boxes/boosters you need to make the game tolerable/energy to play the actual fucking game/basic quality of life stuff that should have been basic design]"
    Except now you paid 50 dollars instead of 40.
    But that is a fairly, minor, example.
    It all comes down to same thing, publishers trying to sell small things for more money than most would ever pay in a single lump sum.

  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    I mean, I know that lootboxes need to be dealt with, easily. I'm just looking ahead to everybody who's ever glanced at something gaming-related to start flinging frivolous lawsuits at the game companies for every little thing that goes wrong in their lives. Smear the lootboxes all across the ground, for all to see. I'm just waiting for the lawsuit from the guy who stayed up three whole days raiding the new WoW expansion, missed their final, and then come whining to the court as to how Blizzard made him raid all three days and therefore they need to pay for him to retake the course with lots of punitive damages. Fall off a curb and fuck up your knee playing Pokemon Go? Sue Nintendo and Niantic, it's obviously their fault you didn't look where you were going!

    ...maybe I'm just getting old. I mean, if you screw up or make a stupid choice, step up and own it. If you decided your time was better spent in the new raid rather than studying for your final, I would think that's on you. If there's a real problem there, then yeah, go whole hog on it. But you're also going to get the "super mario got me to eat all these mushrooms and that's why I got fired for being high" types of cases.

    I don't want to see the industry turn into a piggy bank for stupid people and scummy lawyers, is the thing. But as far as lootboxes? Yeah, they need to pay through the nose for them.
    Or maybe you're just becomming goose.
    The whole "frivolous lawsuit" issue is largely an invention of people who don't want to be held responsible for their fuckups.
    Like a "sues macdonalds because their coffee is hot" thing usually drops the fact that the they had to go to a hospital because of the burns the coffee left on them.

    ...I'm not trying to come off as a goose, not at all. I mean, at least I hope I'm not- that wasn't my intention at all. If I am, I apologize. ...I don't think I've ever tried to be a goose in my time here on the forums. Like I said, I'm not trying to be one.

    I hate lootboxes. I want to see them eradicated from games because they're fucking predatory, and the only reason they exist is because the publishers don't think they make enough money. I would welcome the chance for game companies that rely on lootboxes to get a day in court to explain and to be held responsible.

    But at the same time, I also know there is a small segment of the population who will immediately glom onto the fact we're finally taking game companies to task for things like loot boxes and they'll try and come in and say stupid things to try and get some go-away money, like blaming Nintendo for the fact they did a bunch of mushrooms before a job interview and blame a Mario game for it.

    ...or maybe this is a question that either needs a better thread or to be dropped entirely, because if it's getting me called a goose, then maybe it's not a thread I ought to be involved in.

    You either need a semi-plausible case or a sack full of money to get a lawyer to represent you, and representing yourself is a quick way to lose. This isn't really something to worry about.

    ...I think you're right. I'm just one of those types who just thinks of every possible situation that might come down the pike, is all. My brain gets like that sometimes- it gets hung up on the small details and things. Well, that and not trying to come off as a goose. (Sorry if it looked like I was coming off as one, I really wasn't trying.)

    I'm just amazed at how far developers will go for a buck these days. I grew up in the 8 and 16-bit era, and I was just used to going out and buying a game that looked good- it's what I've always done. But at actively trying to psychologically manipulate me to spend more (remember the infamous plant scene in Hogwarts Mystery- the one set right about as you run out of energy, leaving your avatar wrapped up and slowly being strangled by Devil's Snare and in obvious distress?), that's... really, really fucked up. Why can't they just make a decent game and sell the damn thing and make money that way, like they used to?

    Oh, you grew up in the 8 and 16 bit era going out and buying games.

    My parents wouldn't spring for expensive game consoles, so I went to arcades.

    They've just got better at taking kids quarters, and brought the arcades home and to people's pockets.

    This machine kills threads.
  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    redx wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    I mean, I know that lootboxes need to be dealt with, easily. I'm just looking ahead to everybody who's ever glanced at something gaming-related to start flinging frivolous lawsuits at the game companies for every little thing that goes wrong in their lives. Smear the lootboxes all across the ground, for all to see. I'm just waiting for the lawsuit from the guy who stayed up three whole days raiding the new WoW expansion, missed their final, and then come whining to the court as to how Blizzard made him raid all three days and therefore they need to pay for him to retake the course with lots of punitive damages. Fall off a curb and fuck up your knee playing Pokemon Go? Sue Nintendo and Niantic, it's obviously their fault you didn't look where you were going!

    ...maybe I'm just getting old. I mean, if you screw up or make a stupid choice, step up and own it. If you decided your time was better spent in the new raid rather than studying for your final, I would think that's on you. If there's a real problem there, then yeah, go whole hog on it. But you're also going to get the "super mario got me to eat all these mushrooms and that's why I got fired for being high" types of cases.

    I don't want to see the industry turn into a piggy bank for stupid people and scummy lawyers, is the thing. But as far as lootboxes? Yeah, they need to pay through the nose for them.
    Or maybe you're just becomming goose.
    The whole "frivolous lawsuit" issue is largely an invention of people who don't want to be held responsible for their fuckups.
    Like a "sues macdonalds because their coffee is hot" thing usually drops the fact that the they had to go to a hospital because of the burns the coffee left on them.

    ...I'm not trying to come off as a goose, not at all. I mean, at least I hope I'm not- that wasn't my intention at all. If I am, I apologize. ...I don't think I've ever tried to be a goose in my time here on the forums. Like I said, I'm not trying to be one.

    I hate lootboxes. I want to see them eradicated from games because they're fucking predatory, and the only reason they exist is because the publishers don't think they make enough money. I would welcome the chance for game companies that rely on lootboxes to get a day in court to explain and to be held responsible.

    But at the same time, I also know there is a small segment of the population who will immediately glom onto the fact we're finally taking game companies to task for things like loot boxes and they'll try and come in and say stupid things to try and get some go-away money, like blaming Nintendo for the fact they did a bunch of mushrooms before a job interview and blame a Mario game for it.

    ...or maybe this is a question that either needs a better thread or to be dropped entirely, because if it's getting me called a goose, then maybe it's not a thread I ought to be involved in.

    You either need a semi-plausible case or a sack full of money to get a lawyer to represent you, and representing yourself is a quick way to lose. This isn't really something to worry about.

    ...I think you're right. I'm just one of those types who just thinks of every possible situation that might come down the pike, is all. My brain gets like that sometimes- it gets hung up on the small details and things. Well, that and not trying to come off as a goose. (Sorry if it looked like I was coming off as one, I really wasn't trying.)

    I'm just amazed at how far developers will go for a buck these days. I grew up in the 8 and 16-bit era, and I was just used to going out and buying a game that looked good- it's what I've always done. But at actively trying to psychologically manipulate me to spend more (remember the infamous plant scene in Hogwarts Mystery- the one set right about as you run out of energy, leaving your avatar wrapped up and slowly being strangled by Devil's Snare and in obvious distress?), that's... really, really fucked up. Why can't they just make a decent game and sell the damn thing and make money that way, like they used to?

    Oh, you grew up in the 8 and 16 bit era going out and buying games.

    My parents wouldn't spring for expensive game consoles, so I went to arcades.

    They've just got better at taking kids quarters, and brought the arcades home and to people's pockets.

    I think that's an unfair comparison... arcades were never remotely as evil as gacha.

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  • DrascinDrascin Registered User regular
    edited September 2019
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    Drascin wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    reVerse wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    Why can't they just make a decent game and sell the damn thing and make money that way, like they used to?

    Because while that would make them money, it won't make them geometrically increasing sums of money quarter after quarter.

    ...I'm starting to think I might have approved more of how games were developed before all of this shit became normal.

    I've hated the shift in game development ever since microtransactions became a thing, the trend has been nothing but a cancer on good game development since it started. You remember when games used to have fun cheat codes? Can't have that shit anymore, it's gotta be parceled out as paid (extra!) content. Neat alternate costumes? Have to pack that crap into lootboxes to make it tenfold more time consuming to get, but with a convenient cash option to speed up the process (but not skip it!). New maps? DLC. Double new maps? Split it up and sell it as four map packs. Expansion pack? To hell with that, bloat it out a bit and call it a sequel, now with lootboxes!

    There's a reason the industry has been plagued with mediocre sequels instead of new originals, and it's mostly because nobody wants to make new original content when they can just use rewarmed old content to mine people out with lootboxes and microtransactions.

    I don't even mind DLC microtransactions in theory! In the end it's just parcelling what used to be a big expansion into a ton of little things you can pick up a la carte - no real issue with that, in theory. Like, Paradox wants to sell ten 5 dollar DLC packs instead of one 40-dollar expansion? No issue here!

    The problem is when microtransactions have come to mean "spend money on in-game currency to buy [predatory random boxes/boosters you need to make the game tolerable/energy to play the actual fucking game/basic quality of life stuff that should have been basic design]"
    Except now you paid 50 dollars instead of 40.
    But that is a fairly, minor, example.
    It all comes down to same thing, publishers trying to sell small things for more money than most would ever pay in a single lump sum.

    I legit don't mind that the total price comes out to more if I want EVERYTHING, honestly. I picked that example very intentionally - because it's no skin off my back if the total is more when I can simply pick up bits and pieces I like instead of a big expansion half of which I will never really use. That is plainly not a problem to me.

    Basically, I don't mind buying stuff. It's when I'm asked to buy "the possibility of MAYBE stuff" and "the chance to make the intentionally annoying bits go away" that I bristle.

    Drascin on
    Steam ID: Right here.
    ForarPolaritiemrondeau
  • AntinumericAntinumeric Registered User regular
    I think earlier in this thread, or perhaps a previous incarnation, I discussed a "tier list" of features from least to most unfriendly.
    1. Buy complete game
    2. DLC
    3. Microtransactions
    4. Game as a service (WoW)
    5. Limited time mtx/store items
    6. Pay gating playtime
    7. Loot boxes

    And plenty of other player hostile design e.g. many in game currencies, too many micro progression paths etc.

    It's up to you where you draw your ethical line. For me it's around 4.

    In this moment, I am euphoric. Not because of any phony god’s blessing. But because, I am enlightened by my intelligence.
    Bethryn
  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Polaritie wrote: »
    redx wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    I mean, I know that lootboxes need to be dealt with, easily. I'm just looking ahead to everybody who's ever glanced at something gaming-related to start flinging frivolous lawsuits at the game companies for every little thing that goes wrong in their lives. Smear the lootboxes all across the ground, for all to see. I'm just waiting for the lawsuit from the guy who stayed up three whole days raiding the new WoW expansion, missed their final, and then come whining to the court as to how Blizzard made him raid all three days and therefore they need to pay for him to retake the course with lots of punitive damages. Fall off a curb and fuck up your knee playing Pokemon Go? Sue Nintendo and Niantic, it's obviously their fault you didn't look where you were going!

    ...maybe I'm just getting old. I mean, if you screw up or make a stupid choice, step up and own it. If you decided your time was better spent in the new raid rather than studying for your final, I would think that's on you. If there's a real problem there, then yeah, go whole hog on it. But you're also going to get the "super mario got me to eat all these mushrooms and that's why I got fired for being high" types of cases.

    I don't want to see the industry turn into a piggy bank for stupid people and scummy lawyers, is the thing. But as far as lootboxes? Yeah, they need to pay through the nose for them.
    Or maybe you're just becomming goose.
    The whole "frivolous lawsuit" issue is largely an invention of people who don't want to be held responsible for their fuckups.
    Like a "sues macdonalds because their coffee is hot" thing usually drops the fact that the they had to go to a hospital because of the burns the coffee left on them.

    ...I'm not trying to come off as a goose, not at all. I mean, at least I hope I'm not- that wasn't my intention at all. If I am, I apologize. ...I don't think I've ever tried to be a goose in my time here on the forums. Like I said, I'm not trying to be one.

    I hate lootboxes. I want to see them eradicated from games because they're fucking predatory, and the only reason they exist is because the publishers don't think they make enough money. I would welcome the chance for game companies that rely on lootboxes to get a day in court to explain and to be held responsible.

    But at the same time, I also know there is a small segment of the population who will immediately glom onto the fact we're finally taking game companies to task for things like loot boxes and they'll try and come in and say stupid things to try and get some go-away money, like blaming Nintendo for the fact they did a bunch of mushrooms before a job interview and blame a Mario game for it.

    ...or maybe this is a question that either needs a better thread or to be dropped entirely, because if it's getting me called a goose, then maybe it's not a thread I ought to be involved in.

    You either need a semi-plausible case or a sack full of money to get a lawyer to represent you, and representing yourself is a quick way to lose. This isn't really something to worry about.

    ...I think you're right. I'm just one of those types who just thinks of every possible situation that might come down the pike, is all. My brain gets like that sometimes- it gets hung up on the small details and things. Well, that and not trying to come off as a goose. (Sorry if it looked like I was coming off as one, I really wasn't trying.)

    I'm just amazed at how far developers will go for a buck these days. I grew up in the 8 and 16-bit era, and I was just used to going out and buying a game that looked good- it's what I've always done. But at actively trying to psychologically manipulate me to spend more (remember the infamous plant scene in Hogwarts Mystery- the one set right about as you run out of energy, leaving your avatar wrapped up and slowly being strangled by Devil's Snare and in obvious distress?), that's... really, really fucked up. Why can't they just make a decent game and sell the damn thing and make money that way, like they used to?

    Oh, you grew up in the 8 and 16 bit era going out and buying games.

    My parents wouldn't spring for expensive game consoles, so I went to arcades.

    They've just got better at taking kids quarters, and brought the arcades home and to people's pockets.

    I think that's an unfair comparison... arcades were never remotely as evil as gacha.

    Making games basically bad and manipulative so operators could maximize profits based on small transactions is nothing new in gaming. It doesn't excuse mechanics with the same intent in newer games, or "surprise mechanics" which weren't really being talked about in the post I replied to.

    This machine kills threads.
    Fencingsax
  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    Drascin wrote: »
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    Drascin wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    reVerse wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    Why can't they just make a decent game and sell the damn thing and make money that way, like they used to?

    Because while that would make them money, it won't make them geometrically increasing sums of money quarter after quarter.

    ...I'm starting to think I might have approved more of how games were developed before all of this shit became normal.

    I've hated the shift in game development ever since microtransactions became a thing, the trend has been nothing but a cancer on good game development since it started. You remember when games used to have fun cheat codes? Can't have that shit anymore, it's gotta be parceled out as paid (extra!) content. Neat alternate costumes? Have to pack that crap into lootboxes to make it tenfold more time consuming to get, but with a convenient cash option to speed up the process (but not skip it!). New maps? DLC. Double new maps? Split it up and sell it as four map packs. Expansion pack? To hell with that, bloat it out a bit and call it a sequel, now with lootboxes!

    There's a reason the industry has been plagued with mediocre sequels instead of new originals, and it's mostly because nobody wants to make new original content when they can just use rewarmed old content to mine people out with lootboxes and microtransactions.

    I don't even mind DLC microtransactions in theory! In the end it's just parcelling what used to be a big expansion into a ton of little things you can pick up a la carte - no real issue with that, in theory. Like, Paradox wants to sell ten 5 dollar DLC packs instead of one 40-dollar expansion? No issue here!

    The problem is when microtransactions have come to mean "spend money on in-game currency to buy [predatory random boxes/boosters you need to make the game tolerable/energy to play the actual fucking game/basic quality of life stuff that should have been basic design]"
    Except now you paid 50 dollars instead of 40.
    But that is a fairly, minor, example.
    It all comes down to same thing, publishers trying to sell small things for more money than most would ever pay in a single lump sum.

    I legit don't mind that the total price comes out to more if I want EVERYTHING, honestly. I picked that example very intentionally - because it's no skin off my back if the total is more when I can simply pick up bits and pieces I like instead of a big expansion half of which I will never really use. That is plainly not a problem to me.

    Basically, I don't mind buying stuff. It's when I'm asked to buy "the possibility of MAYBE stuff" and "the chance to make the intentionally annoying bits go away" that I bristle.

    And when it's super obvious that they cut something out to sell as day 1 DLC. I can think of a couple games that have a skip in the story and then you find out that section is DLC.

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  • JazzJazz Fuck cancer. Un-UKRegistered User regular
    I was thinking, when was the first time I came across lootboxes as we know them in a game? I think for me it was Mass Effect 3's multiplayer. You could earn currency in game to buy them, or buy them outright with real money - it was at least before the era of buying in-game currency. Pretty sure they were around prior to that but that's the first example I can think of, so early 2012.

    And EA. Obviously.

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  • NyysjanNyysjan FinlandRegistered User regular
    Drascin wrote: »
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    Drascin wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    reVerse wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    Why can't they just make a decent game and sell the damn thing and make money that way, like they used to?

    Because while that would make them money, it won't make them geometrically increasing sums of money quarter after quarter.

    ...I'm starting to think I might have approved more of how games were developed before all of this shit became normal.

    I've hated the shift in game development ever since microtransactions became a thing, the trend has been nothing but a cancer on good game development since it started. You remember when games used to have fun cheat codes? Can't have that shit anymore, it's gotta be parceled out as paid (extra!) content. Neat alternate costumes? Have to pack that crap into lootboxes to make it tenfold more time consuming to get, but with a convenient cash option to speed up the process (but not skip it!). New maps? DLC. Double new maps? Split it up and sell it as four map packs. Expansion pack? To hell with that, bloat it out a bit and call it a sequel, now with lootboxes!

    There's a reason the industry has been plagued with mediocre sequels instead of new originals, and it's mostly because nobody wants to make new original content when they can just use rewarmed old content to mine people out with lootboxes and microtransactions.

    I don't even mind DLC microtransactions in theory! In the end it's just parcelling what used to be a big expansion into a ton of little things you can pick up a la carte - no real issue with that, in theory. Like, Paradox wants to sell ten 5 dollar DLC packs instead of one 40-dollar expansion? No issue here!

    The problem is when microtransactions have come to mean "spend money on in-game currency to buy [predatory random boxes/boosters you need to make the game tolerable/energy to play the actual fucking game/basic quality of life stuff that should have been basic design]"
    Except now you paid 50 dollars instead of 40.
    But that is a fairly, minor, example.
    It all comes down to same thing, publishers trying to sell small things for more money than most would ever pay in a single lump sum.

    I legit don't mind that the total price comes out to more if I want EVERYTHING, honestly. I picked that example very intentionally - because it's no skin off my back if the total is more when I can simply pick up bits and pieces I like instead of a big expansion half of which I will never really use. That is plainly not a problem to me.

    Basically, I don't mind buying stuff. It's when I'm asked to buy "the possibility of MAYBE stuff" and "the chance to make the intentionally annoying bits go away" that I bristle.
    And that's great if you have an extra ten to spend.
    And i guess it could be argued that if you have no extra ten, maybe you should not be buying DLC's (i wish people didn't, but they will).

    But more often than not, it is not just extra 10 to a 40 dollar dlc, more likely it will be 20, or 40, or 80 (with all the cosmetic dlc's, and the game will fucking harp on about them).
    Extra 10 to a 40 dollar dlc, not so bad, problem is that once you go there, it suddenly is not ust extra 10.

  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    Jazz wrote: »
    I was thinking, when was the first time I came across lootboxes as we know them in a game? I think for me it was Mass Effect 3's multiplayer. You could earn currency in game to buy them, or buy them outright with real money - it was at least before the era of buying in-game currency. Pretty sure they were around prior to that but that's the first example I can think of, so early 2012.

    And EA. Obviously.

    Mainstream for me, sure. Various f2p mmo timewasters had them before that, but...

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  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    edited September 2019
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    I may just be the old man yelling at clouds.
    But i miss the times when games came in a huge ass box, with a fucking book for a manual, with character bios, art, credits and shit in them.

    I don't think the conclusion from this thread is that they should stop abusing gambling addiction and start abusing collector/hoarders instead?

    I still have a bunch of game manuals from NES/SNES/64 days. I'm probably going to go throw them in the recycling right fucking now since you reminded me that I kept all that thrash that came with me games decades ago

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  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    Two of my three roomates bought the Halo 2 collector's edition. You know, the steel case that comes with a 'making of' DVD? That thing no one ever watched.

    We both played the same game. They spent $20 more for the game. And they never once watched the DVD or...I actually don't even have a fictional way of making the steel case for the game worth more than the plastic case.

  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    Burtletoy wrote: »
    Two of my three roomates bought the Halo 2 collector's edition. You know, the steel case that comes with a 'making of' DVD? That thing no one ever watched.

    We both played the same game. They spent $20 more for the game. And they never once watched the DVD or...I actually don't even have a fictional way of making the steel case for the game worth more than the plastic case.

    The fact that reproducing individual instances of a video game costs nothing has seriously screwed with the consumer perception of value for those games. Even the most worthless of physical junk is seen as having value because it's "real", but people can't stand the fact that in-game cosmetics that may actually be used by players could cost additional money.

    That effect, along with the industry habit of releasing all games at the same arbitrary price and then rapidly dropping that price, has seriously screwed with the market for games as a whole. When you have people fondly reminiscing about the days when you'd pay full price for the exact game that you'd now get graphically enhanced and bundled together with its two sequels for less than the price of a new game, something is just broken.

    mcdermottFencingsax
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    reVerse wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    Why can't they just make a decent game and sell the damn thing and make money that way, like they used to?

    Because while that would make them money, it won't make them geometrically increasing sums of money quarter after quarter.

    And because the Free-to-play/Cheap-to-play style model where you give the base product away for free and then extract money on the backend establishes a pattern in consumer behaviour that it's hard to get around. It is easier to sell people a $60 game and then $40 in micro-transactions then it is to sell them a $100 game and you will get less complaints.

    Elvenshae
  • JazzJazz Fuck cancer. Un-UKRegistered User regular
    Burtletoy wrote: »
    Two of my three roomates bought the Halo 2 collector's edition. You know, the steel case that comes with a 'making of' DVD? That thing no one ever watched.

    We both played the same game. They spent $20 more for the game. And they never once watched the DVD or...I actually don't even have a fictional way of making the steel case for the game worth more than the plastic case.

    I remember watching it. I quite like a decent making-of documentary, and I confess to liking the odd steelbook too. There was a spate of games after Halo 2 paved the way that had a special edition with a steelbook or other form of metal case and a making-of (sometimes plus etc) DVD. Some were, frankly, gorgeous. Some (especially after the steelbooks got dropped and you just got charged ten more bucks for literally just the DVD) were atrocious. I got burned on one or two of those later ones, and learned a lesson. But equally, I still have a few of those special editions, including some steelbooks & other metal cases, that are very proud parts of my collection. (You can prise my three original Mass Effect trilogy collector's editions out of my cold, dead hands.)

    But yeah, going back to Halo 2 in particular, it's true that didn't add anything to the game itself, but you had the option. You could easily look at it as the guy who bought the regular edition didn't lose out on any part of the game because he didn't want the extra fluff. And that was fine.

    In this age, though, editions like that for $10-20 more are getting rarer. They usually go bigger now and chase a different customer. There's $150-200 collector's editions with a mahoosive statue or something (I really don't understand the popularity of those, but someone's buying them), or the plain old regular edition, with nothing in between and I find that a bit of a shame. But also, occasionally you get a steelbook as a "free" pre-order (or otherwise day-one) bonus, and that can be a nicer way of doing it.

  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus premium Registered User regular
    Burtletoy wrote: »
    Two of my three roomates bought the Halo 2 collector's edition. You know, the steel case that comes with a 'making of' DVD? That thing no one ever watched.

    We both played the same game. They spent $20 more for the game. And they never once watched the DVD or...I actually don't even have a fictional way of making the steel case for the game worth more than the plastic case.

    The manual for the game was different, too! All the information you got about weapons and enemies was from the Covenant perspective, instead of the USMC perspective.

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  • JazzJazz Fuck cancer. Un-UKRegistered User regular
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Burtletoy wrote: »
    Two of my three roomates bought the Halo 2 collector's edition. You know, the steel case that comes with a 'making of' DVD? That thing no one ever watched.

    We both played the same game. They spent $20 more for the game. And they never once watched the DVD or...I actually don't even have a fictional way of making the steel case for the game worth more than the plastic case.

    The manual for the game was different, too! All the information you got about weapons and enemies was from the Covenant perspective, instead of the USMC perspective.

    That had slipped my mind. It was a nice touch.

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar Not a Fictional Character Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    L
    shryke wrote: »
    reVerse wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    Why can't they just make a decent game and sell the damn thing and make money that way, like they used to?

    Because while that would make them money, it won't make them geometrically increasing sums of money quarter after quarter.

    And because the Free-to-play/Cheap-to-play style model where you give the base product away for free and then extract money on the backend establishes a pattern in consumer behaviour that it's hard to get around. It is easier to sell people a $60 game and then $40 in micro-transactions then it is to sell them a $100 game and you will get less complaints.

    For that specific concern, a Kickstarter-like model might be the most ethical safe route. Once the community pays in, the community gets the content for free even if they couldn't afford to chip in, and collectors can't get preyed on unless they're also addicted to patronage itself.

  • FoefallerFoefaller Registered User regular
    edited September 2019
    Jazz wrote: »
    Burtletoy wrote: »
    Two of my three roomates bought the Halo 2 collector's edition. You know, the steel case that comes with a 'making of' DVD? That thing no one ever watched.

    We both played the same game. They spent $20 more for the game. And they never once watched the DVD or...I actually don't even have a fictional way of making the steel case for the game worth more than the plastic case.

    I remember watching it. I quite like a decent making-of documentary, and I confess to liking the odd steelbook too. There was a spate of games after Halo 2 paved the way that had a special edition with a steelbook or other form of metal case and a making-of (sometimes plus etc) DVD. Some were, frankly, gorgeous. Some (especially after the steelbooks got dropped and you just got charged ten more bucks for literally just the DVD) were atrocious. I got burned on one or two of those later ones, and learned a lesson. But equally, I still have a few of those special editions, including some steelbooks & other metal cases, that are very proud parts of my collection. (You can prise my three original Mass Effect trilogy collector's editions out of my cold, dead hands.)

    But yeah, going back to Halo 2 in particular, it's true that didn't add anything to the game itself, but you had the option. You could easily look at it as the guy who bought the regular edition didn't lose out on any part of the game because he didn't want the extra fluff. And that was fine.

    In this age, though, editions like that for $10-20 more are getting rarer. They usually go bigger now and chase a different customer. There's $150-200 collector's editions with a mahoosive statue or something (I really don't understand the popularity of those, but someone's buying them), or the plain old regular edition, with nothing in between and I find that a bit of a shame. But also, occasionally you get a steelbook as a "free" pre-order (or otherwise day-one) bonus, and that can be a nicer way of doing it.

    The collection edition containers I have that were big enough are now used to store legal and tax paperwork I can't afford to lose but only need maybe once or twice a year, like W2s and my birth certificate.

    Remembering exactly which drawer I could put the car title is nowhere near as easy as asking myself "Is it in the Bat Box I got for Arkham Asylum or the tin box for the Ezio statuette from AC2?"

    Foefaller on
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  • OptyOpty Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    reVerse wrote: »
    JaysonFour wrote: »
    Why can't they just make a decent game and sell the damn thing and make money that way, like they used to?

    Because while that would make them money, it won't make them geometrically increasing sums of money quarter after quarter.

    And because the Free-to-play/Cheap-to-play style model where you give the base product away for free and then extract money on the backend establishes a pattern in consumer behaviour that it's hard to get around. It is easier to sell people a $60 game and then $40 in micro-transactions then it is to sell them a $100 game and you will get less complaints.

    In a similar vein, offering everything via a-la-carte purchases with static prices (e.g. how microtransactions originally arrived on the scene) led to news articles where they added up the prices of everything and went "it'll cost $100 extra to buy everything in this whole game up front." Switching to loot boxes allowed game companies of the time to escape that type of reporting by hiding behind a predatory obfuscated mechanic that wasn't fully understood and was hard to quantify into one solid figure past multiplying the loot box cost with the number of available items. We're seeing a return to the a-la-carte model as news stories now have the additional ammo needed to sufficiently go after loot boxes (and in some cases some even praise companies for going back to the previous model).

    V1m
  • AntinumericAntinumeric Registered User regular
    The problem is banning loot boxes doesn't touch the root cause of including addictive mechanics in your game. I think a better way of looking at it is what is the effective value per month extractable from a person buying your game. E.g
    Single purchase games: buy once and you own. Effective value per month tends to zero. There is no incentive to add addictive mechanics, but rather gameplay / visuals that sell.
    Pay per month games: e.g WoW. Essentially a flat amount per month - the monthly fee divided by the maximum playtime possible in a month. You want people to keep playing, but there is less incentive for addictive mechanics as you gain no more from them playing more in a month.
    Lootbox games: effectively infinite - they can spend everything and may not get what they need. You want people to play as much as possible within a month so that
    They are more likely to be wanting and buying boxes. Every addictive mechanic is desired to get more money.
    Pay gated playtime: currencies needed to engage with actual game. Actually infinite - if they want to play they have to pay. Thee is no chance they can play / get everything without requiring money spent. Same addictive mechanics as lootboxes but more effective.

    The problem is banning lootboxes means companies will search for something that allows them to potentially extract similar value. E.g rotating stores with new items added faster than a full rotation happens. This means they will still turn to the same addictive mechanics as more playtime rewards more money to the company. I think a different approach is needed to tackle the extreme addictive mechanics in these games.

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  • LilnoobsLilnoobs Alpha Queue Registered User regular
    oh god, i hate that hours in = value out bullshit.

    then we regulate and legislate the shit out of the industry, like we've done to other abusive practices by companies. It works.

  • Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    One absolute for the situation should be the removal of game- or developer-specific currency systems. No more Xbox points, no more premium currencies, nothing except what the actual monetary value of an action is. Detaching cash value from what is being spent is a classic method of obscuring the actual cost of something, which is 100% a negative against the consumer and for the person with the "premium" money system. If developers want to charge people cash for in-game actions, then they have to convince them to part with the actual money first.

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  • chrisnlchrisnl Registered User regular
    I fully agree that banning the purchasing of in-game currency for real money, and making people look at actual money values of purchases is a good start. It I way too easy to obscure the actual costs of in-game purchases with these intermediate currencies. Clearly posted rates should also be required. Additionally, games with any sort of loot box system (mobile game or console game or pc game or whatever) should be rated at the very least T for Teen (by their own existing guidelines).

    Removing / restricting intentionally addictive gameplay mechanics is also a good step. I've known a bunch of people that have fallen prey to games taking over their lives and causing real harm, so even if it is a minority of people affected by that sort of thing it should still be addressed because those people do exist and shouldn't be taken advantage of.

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  • Local H JayLocal H Jay Registered User regular
    Collector's Edition sometimes hold their value better or become harder to come by than the standard version. Halo 2 is an example of a game with millions of copies in the wild so it's not super hard to find the CE. Now some other rare variants are worth substantially more. Same goes for rare console variants, just look at how expensive Pokemon themed consoles are.

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  • evilmrhenryevilmrhenry Registered User regular
    The problem is banning loot boxes doesn't touch the root cause of including addictive mechanics in your game. I think a better way of looking at it is what is the effective value per month extractable from a person buying your game. E.g
    Single purchase games: buy once and you own. Effective value per month tends to zero. There is no incentive to add addictive mechanics, but rather gameplay / visuals that sell.
    Pay per month games: e.g WoW. Essentially a flat amount per month - the monthly fee divided by the maximum playtime possible in a month. You want people to keep playing, but there is less incentive for addictive mechanics as you gain no more from them playing more in a month.
    Lootbox games: effectively infinite - they can spend everything and may not get what they need. You want people to play as much as possible within a month so that
    They are more likely to be wanting and buying boxes. Every addictive mechanic is desired to get more money.
    Pay gated playtime: currencies needed to engage with actual game. Actually infinite - if they want to play they have to pay. Thee is no chance they can play / get everything without requiring money spent. Same addictive mechanics as lootboxes but more effective.

    The problem is banning lootboxes means companies will search for something that allows them to potentially extract similar value. E.g rotating stores with new items added faster than a full rotation happens. This means they will still turn to the same addictive mechanics as more playtime rewards more money to the company. I think a different approach is needed to tackle the extreme addictive mechanics in these games.

    Finding something with similar profitability as gambling is dubious. There's a reason gambling is regulated so heavily.

    I do see what you mean, though. My suggestion is to cap per-week in-game spending at, say, $100. That should completely eliminate those "my kid bought $10000 worth of stuff on my account because he doesn't understand the concept of money" stories and generally put a solid cap on the amount of damage a game can cause in someone's life, without completely breaking the F2P economy. (I dare them to complain that this means that customers can only spend $5000/year on their product. That'll go over well.)

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  • OptyOpty Registered User regular
    Ignoring the psychological reasons for using a secondary currency, there's a couple of economic reasons as well: first is to limit the number of credit card purchases, since each one has fees associated with it (especially if dealing with foreign currency). Second is that it makes handling refunds super easy since you're just returning in-game currency instead of needing to return actual currency to a credit card (or the negative side of that: where it makes refusing refunds super easy, since you're not dealing with a real currency at that point). If you make using secondary currencies illegal then I doubt anything costing less than $5 would be worth selling.

    mcdermott
  • NyysjanNyysjan FinlandRegistered User regular
    Opty wrote: »
    Ignoring the psychological reasons for using a secondary currency, there's a couple of economic reasons as well: first is to limit the number of credit card purchases, since each one has fees associated with it (especially if dealing with foreign currency). Second is that it makes handling refunds super easy since you're just returning in-game currency instead of needing to return actual currency to a credit card (or the negative side of that: where it makes refusing refunds super easy, since you're not dealing with a real currency at that point). If you make using secondary currencies illegal then I doubt anything costing less than $5 would be worth selling.
    I'm not seeing a problem.

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  • Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    Nyysjan wrote: »
    Opty wrote: »
    Ignoring the psychological reasons for using a secondary currency, there's a couple of economic reasons as well: first is to limit the number of credit card purchases, since each one has fees associated with it (especially if dealing with foreign currency). Second is that it makes handling refunds super easy since you're just returning in-game currency instead of needing to return actual currency to a credit card (or the negative side of that: where it makes refusing refunds super easy, since you're not dealing with a real currency at that point). If you make using secondary currencies illegal then I doubt anything costing less than $5 would be worth selling.
    I'm not seeing a problem.

    Yeah, this is a non-problem as far as I'm concerned and means it actually solves even more problems. It would mean the only things getting sold in video games would have to be priced at higher than five bucks (and presumably at least that valuable), effectively doing away with microtransactions that exist only to minimize player gain and maximize company profit. And if companies have to deal in real money, it means they might face an actual fiscal loss of some kind if a kid drops hundred bucks on shitty lootboxes and the parents want their money refunded.

    I have absolutely zero "premium" currencies in any digital format and buy all my games and game content directly, and I can't say I really see any kind of reason for a legitimate non-predatory game to need microtransactions or premium currencies. That stuff is a net negative for games and consumers, and I've never heard anyone express that microtransactions/premium currencies is something they've enjoyed with games.

    Jeep-Eep
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