Belgium has made the call: Lootboxes ARE Gambling

Archive link because I'm not a fan of PCGamer. More like "Politically Correct Fake Gamer", but they're the first site I've seen do anything on this.

image

Hopefully, this is just the beginning...

EDIT: One Angry Gamer link because I actually see OAG and its owner William Usher rather highly.

It's DEFINITELY Happening.

EDIT2: Add the Hawaiians to the list now, too. Holy shit.

image
Cue the all gamers are addicts campaign spun by mass media. Though honestly watching that Hawaii guys conference it gives a lot of hope that this time actually authorities see what exactly is the problem and that it is not gamers = people who love to play video games but predators = corporations trying to take advantage of it using unregulated gambling venues.

Its a step to victory, but take a grain of salt, because it hasn't even hit an EU ban yet (which is the point at which itll particularly be a victory).

Its also only the RNG boxes. To take the Star Wars case, they could still have Vader sitting there for 80 dollars worth of credits. This just means he wouldn't be in a random crate as money bait.

American Tanker:
Archive link because I'm not a fan of PCGamer. More like "Politically Correct Fake Gamer", but they're the first site I've seen do anything on this.

image

Hopefully, this is just the beginning...

EDIT: One Angry Gamer link because I actually see OAG and its owner William Usher rather highly.

It's DEFINITELY Happening.

EDIT2: Add the Hawaiians to the list now, too. Holy shit.

Actual link for people who want to actually support the sites that they view (crazy concept, eh)

Good on Belgium, a country that actually quickly came to the right decision on this

I don't have anything against loot boxes necessary but they are gambling and manipulative and should be regulated as such

Sorry, I'm maybe not all that well-versed in this topic having only read an article or two, and handful of youtube videos, but why is this narrowed only to Battlefront II? I know Shadow of War just got out from the spotlight by the skin of its teeth, but that marketplace is essentially the same thing. And so is Overwatch.

Now, I understand that Overwatch, despite being online only, is only aesthetic and does not give you an edge over enemies if you spend money, making it not a "Pay-To-Win" scenario, but it's still "gambling" by definition of a loot box.

As quoted by [translated] the Belgium Gaming Commission, "the mixing of money and addiction is gambling". And then the minister of Justice Koen Geens says "Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child."

So we've made a big fuss about this because they've turned it into a grindfest vs. pay to win, but what about all the other full price games that have loot boxes (such as the examples cited above, not to mention Forza 7, also released this year). I'm curious as to how this will pan out, or do all games released before Battlefront II get a free pass? I've given only a handful examples, but this has been going for years now.

Edit: Will this affect the mobile, free-to-play market as well? Just because they're free, doesn't mean the paid elements aren't gambling either, in fact many of them are.

JohnnyDelRay:
Why is this narrowed only to Battlefront II?

It isn't.

JohnnyDelRay:
Sorry, I'm maybe not all that well-versed in this topic having only read an article or two, and handful of youtube videos, but why is this narrowed only to Battlefront II? I know Shadow of War just got out from the spotlight by the skin of its teeth, but that marketplace is essentially the same thing. And so is Overwatch.

Now, I understand that Overwatch, despite being online only, is only aesthetic and does not give you an edge over enemies if you spend money, making it not a "Pay-To-Win" scenario, but it's still "gambling" by definition of a loot box.

As quoted by [translated] the Belgium Gaming Commission, "the mixing of money and addiction is gambling". And then the minister of Justice Koen Geens says "Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child."

So we've made a big fuss about this because they've turned it into a grindfest vs. pay to win, but what about all the other full price games that have loot boxes (such as the examples cited above, not to mention Forza 7, also released this year). I'm curious as to how this will pan out, or do all games released before Battlefront II get a free pass? I've given only a handful examples, but this has been going for years now.

Edit: Will this affect the mobile, free-to-play market as well? Just because they're free, doesn't mean the paid elements aren't gambling either, in fact many of them are.

Battlefront II may be getting all the attention now, but that because of two 3 things
-its the most resent controversy
-it's based on an insanely popular IP (more so than any other IP used for a video game)
-it's arguably the worst implementation of lootboxes in a AAA video game

Back when Overwatch came out there was significant concern and outrage among some gamers, but most tolerated it because it was only cosmetics.

Shadow of War caught a lot of flak, but in the end it was tolerated because it was primarily a single player game and based on what I have seen and been told, the game does not significantly impede your progress if you decide to not buy lootboxes. There's also the fact that EA and Battlefront have now stolen all the attention.

I think a lot of people do realize that cosmetic or not, lootboxes are gambling and any legal action taken against EA and Battelfront will affect other games that have lootboxes.

American Tanker:

JohnnyDelRay:
Why is this narrowed only to Battlefront II?

It isn't.

Ah thank you. It may be only one place where it's mentioned, and only a passing comment saying "they're being investigated", but it's a sign. Not that I'm happy to see others get broken down mind you, I was just really curious if others were getting a free pass or not. Going by the current sentiment, some people seem to think it's ok if your favorite game does it. Then it would be unfair victimization of EA for being horrible, when everyone else is just as bad.

The only point there that seems justifiable is the person who said TF2 is not so bad because it's free to play, and you can just trade away the stuff you don't want. But even he/she admitted that gambling is gambling.

Don't worry, the vaguely defined 'National Committee for Games Policy' has sprouted out from the woodwork to...uhh, get involved?

Some other organisations who have weighed in on the matter:

The UK Gambling Commission says lootboxes aren't gambling
The ESRB also says they aren't gambling

Of course, the ESRB is an independent self-regulatory organization founded by the ESA, the video game industry trade organization made up of EA, Ubisoft, Activision, Warner Bros and pretty much every other major publishers. So their opinion may or may not be entirely unbiased.

Let's see how it develops. Eventually the EU will have to form an opinion. If they ban it, it is gone as that market is too big.

I'm actually not really in favour of this. This all just comes across as some gamers hating that the likes of EA are pulling such stunts (perfectly understandable to be honest). But trying to tie the idea of loot boxes to gambling in an effort to trigger the government to get involved? I think this is a bit of a tall order - It's no more gambling that the likes of a Kinder Surprise egg is or a packet of Pokemon cards is. And personally, i'd much prefer the government to stay right the fuck out of industry matters as they have proved time and time again that they do not "get" gaming.

Why cant people just NOT buy the game/DLC like a normal pissed off consumer? If the mass-market consumers alone can sustain this as a worthwhile business practice for now, EA are going to do it regardless of what "traditional" gamers think. But like the PS2 Singstar/Buzz bubble, the Wii Bubble or more recently, the farmville/mobile gaming market before it, this business model is doomed to fail in the long term when the average consumer gets bored of throwing money into such pointless stuff. It is then that EA will try to woo traditional gamers back again. Question is, will all those who "hate EA" stay away?

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here