Selling Gambling to Children - Do we ACTUALLY care?

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Potentially controversial topic ahead but one I feel could be interesting.

I'm sure many people here are at least vaguely familiar with the Battlefront 2 news surrounding loot boxes. Essentially, negative PR has lead to people and even countries calling out Loot boxes as potentially predatory practices that are akin to legal gambling accessible to children. The reason for this is because loot boxes represent random rewards for money spent where it could take an excessive amount of spending until you get the thing you desire (assuming you ever do).

I've seen a lot of people jump on board this issue and using the defense of children as the0 major point to strengthen their beliefs.

This is where things get interesting/controversial....

If this was our personal belief all along then why did it take until 2017 for this to become a HUGE issue in gaming?

Team Fortress was the first major franchise to popularize this concept to my knowledge.
We've had literally DECADES of facebook games and mobile games doing this.
Tons of credible free to play games have done something similar as well.

So the issue has been around for decades...children have had access to it for decades WITH NO BARRIER TO ENTRY SINCE IT WAS OFTEN FREE TO PLAY on platforms kids have direct access to.

If this issue truly is an ETHICAL and MORALE one...why did we stay silent?

It's my opinion that people getting on board the 'gambling to children' bandwagon are using it as a crutch to justify their actual purely selfish preferences on game design.

It reminds me of other controversial debates you'd hear about growing up from generation's prior. Don't listen to that music because _______. Don't play D&D because of _____.

Maybe being able to unite under a single reason that sounds good is all that matters if it leads to positive change?

Personal Note: Not that it should matter but I have not played any of the big 2017 loot box games. This post isn't coming from any personal bias for or against any particular game getting backlash. I don't personally care for loot box progression as a concept so I simply didn't buy any of those games.

People with lack of critical awareness for whatever reasons are always the most susceptible to predatory tactics...in every sense of the words. These are what profiteering assholes love to extract from. You're god damn right there are many out there who care about this shit being pushed on those who may not know any better. Just because you may not understand, it does not mean the same for everybody else. (I, for one, have young family currently being groomed by YouTube vids portraying easily excited people opening up randomised...things. It appears to entertain them and is directed at young kids specifically. This is bound to create more positive nostalgic association for later years as with any childhood pastime, all they need is dressing up for an older audience and a price tag for their newly found income. The exploitation of nostalgia entwined with gambling tendencies does not a good feeling of hope, give.)

A little bit?

Honestly, its more of a hopeful angle to get industry practices as a whole examined. As generally noted, Kids shouldn't even be able to buy the loot crates unless their parents are doing something wrong anyways, and the hypothetical transition of games with those to AO/M ratings (which is the most likely outcome) won't change that exposure anymore then it stops teenagers playing GTA.

As noted, you could also apply the logic to everything from Pokemon cards, to baseball cards, to the those machines at grocery stores where you throw a quarter in (its probably more nowadays) for some kind of sticker or toy. Or carnival claw games. All also conventionally aimed at children.

Chopping up games to sell season pass style DLC, the Overwatch price scam with the special edition (which hasn't been perfectly repeated, but I've noticed this new thing where they have sales, but only on the super-special editions, not the base game. Often with "Save 30-50% but still being more then the 60 dollar baseline.). Pay to win mechanics. And games that force a continous stream of payments or being shunted out of an atcual playable state (FPS map packs). Or just insanely overpriced DLC in general.

All of the above will go merrily unaffected by the gambling argument, but might get noticed and perk some investigation with a light shone on it.

I think you hit the nail on the head, if a person has an ethical problem with kids accessing loot boxes and didn't say shit about Pokemon or Yu Gi Oh cards being sold is a hypocrite.

Though I haven't seen too many people make that argument, I'd expect The Jimquisition to be stupid enough to do so... Let me check... Oh god it's 15 minutes, if anyone has that much time and patience please let me know if the moral argument comes up.

No, not really. I mean, no more than I care about kids staying off of drugs; It would be nice, but it's one of those issues that I have little to no power over, because it involves forces so gargantuan and evil.

So I guess I do care, it's just buried underneath piles and piles of impotence, as I'm sure it is with most other people. All I can do is try and set an example by not adding to it myself.

People do care. And they didn't before. Why? Because of human nature. Most people don't care about stuff until it affects them personally. They didn't care about stuff like pokemon or mobile games because it didn't affect them. But not it's being put into their OWN games, and becoming more prevalent in them. So now they care.

Hypocritical? Yes. But at least people care now...

Always cared, just wasn't loud enough or numerous enough for anyone to care. Mainstream stuff usually takes a while to catch onto the bullshit that's seeping in elsewhere. I tend to think on things for excessive amounts of time so seeing that people were playing me as a child trying to waste my time and money. Then there were the rules in place to protect children from even worse things that want everything I own that isn't nailed down and it became clear from an early age that businesses want to fuck you and manipulate you, it's obvious from stupid marketing campaigns you don't get only to realize it works tremendously well on others because it is a tailored assault on their personality and circumstance for their money.

I think of course some people latch onto this like any for their own personal selfish gain, others finally have a front that has momentum after pushing against the defenders of these kind of practices without too damaging an effort for them to identify and care. When I realized buying pokemon cards was just me throwing my efforts away, I got upset and kinda mad. It STILL upsets me not that many people seem to care now, it's only the unbelievable extremism of Battlefront 2 with how much it does and how popular star wars is that got anyone talking enough for the people with power to hear and look into the matter.

Every now and again you see an article about someone dropping like half a grand or several thousand whatever currency on a game and everybody just seems to move on like it won't grow bigger and infect more things the longer it goes unchecked. There was a poem in my English class that was basically the story of someone ignoring a problem that was slowly affecting everyone around them but themselves till the knock on the door finally came. I thought it was ludicrous that someone would ignore harmful and concerning things if it didn't affect them but fuck I was WROOOONG, it's infuriatingly common.

There wasn't silence, you just weren't listening to the right places.

I expect the fact that it's now dressed up in Star Wars clothing is a major factor. Star Wars is a popular franchise, with films, comics, TShirts, cartoons, apps, toys and other stuff firmly ingraining it not only into popular culture, but into kids imaginations. It's ideal for kids since it has clear goodies and baddies, lasers, colourful, silly alien characters, Disney violence and magic. Kids love it and so having Star Wars sell gambling is a different level of nefarious compared lesser known games or properties. Shadow of War is pretty horrific too, and I don't doubt Tolkein would turn in his grave to see what WB have done to his world.

Yes we should, because if we dont care then every game is going to become a glorified App Store skinner box with progression gimped to encourage payments for random rewards.

The people who tackle this issue from a "protect the kids" angle tend to be pretty anti-gaming for the most part and think about it in simplistic terms such as these games being bad for having these systems and not simply the systems being bad but the games being otherwise fine. That being the case, I am always hesitant to nod along because these are the same people who would be crying about violent or sexual games a few years ago.

I think 'objectionable' artistic content is quite different from monetization schemes so the two don't really compare. I think the problem people have with lootboxes is not so much the content but rather that the product itself is sold under false pretenses. This makes it a particular insidious form of gambling. That children are especially at risk only makes it even worse.

People have no problem with entertainment products just as most people have no problem with gambling as long as it's clearly identifiable which is which but mix the two together under the guise(and purchasing price) of an entertainment product that heavily relies on a gambling component or that is otherwise monetized in ways that are contrary to reasonable consumer expectations and you not only have gambling in a product where it doesn't belong but also some deliberate and flagrant false advertising.

These bigger publishers will continue to try how far they can go. Like with EA and Battlefront a consumer backlash can help but I also think lootboxes and stuff should fall under the much more strict gambling regulations so that they aren't sold as entertainment products in eg toy stores where you would expect gambling has no place.

babinro:

So the issue has been around for decades...children have had access to it for decades WITH NO BARRIER TO ENTRY SINCE IT WAS OFTEN FREE TO PLAY on platforms kids have direct access to.

If this issue truly is an ETHICAL and MORALE one...why did we stay silent?

Because until now no one cared enough, lawmakers probably weren't playing Hat Fortress and gamers were just avoiding the titles rather than communicating their preferences strongly. Now we have a situation where gamers started shouting loud enough for lawmakers to hear.

EDIT: You also have a situation where a decent proportion of gamers simply didn't care. For instance I couldn't care less how EA shits up multiplayer because I simply don't play multiplayer, as long as it doesn't affect single player I couldn't care less what the companies do to multiplayer.

ProfMcStevie:

Every now and again you see an article about someone dropping like half a grand or several thousand whatever currency on a game and everybody just seems to move on like it won't grow bigger and infect more things the longer it goes unchecked.

Usually because it was their money and there is a large degree of personal responsibility to look after your own money and spend it wisely. Like a drug addiction in society, outlawing drugs won't won't stop drug addicts getting their fix.

Unless you place spending limits via your bank then you're free do with what ever money you can hold of - the price of freedom

The poem you're looking for is Not My Business by Niyi Osundare. Quite frankly, he was talking about government corruption and you're talking gambling. You're missing his point, over shot it and sent it into space while undermining the suffering his country went through.

This clearly was a "Wont somebody think of the children!!!" argument once it went mainstream. The thing is it's really the only thing that will get people to care who aren't gamers.

But no, I don't care about the kids at all. They usually are smart enough to know what they are doing. They also are going to be paying using daddy's wallet, so the only problem I see there is the kid not understanding the value of a dollar. The real issue is how predatory the practice is and how often it's done beyond the monetization scheme. A F2P mobile game that feeds you in-game currency for playing, but entices you to spend more if you want to roll more often on the mcguffin machine for better gameplay, that's OK with me. A MMO that has no subscriptions but continues to update and add new content as if it did because they offer some paid bonus loot is also passable. A full retail $60 game with premium DLC expansions as well as loot boxes can go get fucked.

babinro:
Maybe being able to unite under a single reason that sounds good is all that matters if it leads to positive change?

Yes. I think you answered your own question. I don't think most gamers give two shits about the children, or they ARE children and don't want their options limited.

This stuff has been around forever with baseball/football cards. I remember when I was 13-15, and got into (American) football cards for a stretch. I'd beg my dad to give me some money to get a box of football cards (like $30 a box in the 1980's). Then I'd sift through them and get that gambling high, trying to complete my set. Spent $hundreds on that shit. Same, exact thing as loot boxes.

The only reason people are pissed is because they are having to also pay $60 for the game itself, and they want ALL the content included in that initial price instead of it being locked behind the loot box wall. But nobody complained about these same tactics being used in free to play games.

I hope governments crack down and developers phase out the model, because I think it's an annoying model. I don't like games advertising their store crap to me while I'm playing. But I don't care about the kids. Not really. If they want to spend money on that, they can go get a job. And if parents don't want them to spend money on that, they can tell their kids no.

I know that gambling addiction is real, and it's every bit as bad as heroin or nicotine addiction. But I don't believe it can be legislated out of people's lives. People are going to find a way to do what they want to do. Just like they continue to do illegal drugs, and gambling on the internet is available to anyone with a click, and it's basically unenforceable.

Hell, I talked to my 25-year old step-son yesterday about this. And he was all pissed that Battlefront removed the loot box store. Now he's not going to buy the game, because loot boxes is a big part of the fun to him in games. He likes to collect skins and mounts and crap, and he doesn't want to have to farm for them. So there's the other side of it.

I think this is a losing battle. Loot boxes are here to stay.

inu-kun:
I think you hit the nail on the head, if a person has an ethical problem with kids accessing loot boxes and didn't say shit about Pokemon or Yu Gi Oh cards being sold is a hypocrite.

Though I haven't seen too many people make that argument, I'd expect The Jimquisition to be stupid enough to do so... Let me check... Oh god it's 15 minutes, if anyone has that much time and patience please let me know if the moral argument comes up.

Watch it yourself if you want to shit on him that badly.

Also, the yu-gi-oh and pokemon argument doesn't really work. You know why? Because if you want to, you can just go out and buy whatever card you want for both of those games. Nowadays you can do it stupidly cheap. Hell, my freaking DAD did that back when he played yu-gi-oh with my brother and I when we were kids. He bought a Japanese version of the card Cyber-Stein because he wanted to be able to use a Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon card he had. But you know the main reason it doesn't really work? Because card packs weren't gambling to anywhere near the degree of today's loot boxes. I played yu-gi-oh back in the day, and you know how often I got duplicates? Barely ever. It was pretty much always new cards, and nearly always good cards. This is without getting into starter decks, which gave you a nice combination of cards right out of the gate where you knew exactly what you were getting. And then there were the tins. God, the tins were the freaking best. A massive collection of card packs with no duplicates that I can remember. So the yu-gi-oh and pokemon arguments don't really work, because when you bought a pack, you got guaranteed value. Not the case with modern loot boxes, where you can't just buy the item you want, and duplicates are stupidly common. If yu-gi-oh was actually like modern games, I probably would've burned my card collection instead of still keeping it in my closet...now I want to dig out my old deck.

Also there's the fact that with a card pack, you know exactly what you're getting into. With loot boxes, they're being deceptive from the word go, trying to test your patience and manipulate you into buying more.

Signa:
The real issue is how predatory the practice is and how often it's done beyond the monetization scheme. A F2P mobile game that feeds you in-game currency for playing, but entices you to spend more if you want to roll more often on the mcguffin machine for better gameplay, that's OK with me. A MMO that has no subscriptions but continues to update and add new content as if it did because they offer some paid bonus loot is also passable. A full retail $60 game with premium DLC expansions as well as loot boxes can go get fucked.

I generally agree, but I don't think you can distinguish between those three examples legally. Loot boxes are either going to be deemed illegal or made illegal with new legislation, or they're not.

Well I won't lie that I find the whole lootbox/microtransaction thing reprehensible because it effects my personal enjoyment, however the effect on children is also a factor. So much so that I'd discourage my nephew from playing video games because of it.

erttheking:

Also there's the fact that with a card pack, you know exactly what you're getting into. With loot boxes, they're being deceptive from the word go, trying to test your patience and manipulate you into buying more.

Yeah, a robust secondary market that the publisher of TCG cards doesn't profit from in anyway, static packs where you know exactly what you're getting, and the oft ignored fact that you're getting an actual, physical thing that you own and that won't disappear in 3 years when the publisher shuts down the server are all marks in favor of the superficially similar TCG or sports card packs.

I have no love of gambling. Presumably, I'm never the only one. Anything else?

FalloutJack:
I have no love of gambling. Presumably, I'm never the only one. Anything else?

I never got it either. If an adult wants to do it, they should be allowed to, but it's just not something that interests me at all.
It's like people who want to be famous- more power to you, but it's baffling to me why

inu-kun:
I think you hit the nail on the head, if a person has an ethical problem with kids accessing loot boxes and didn't say shit about Pokemon or Yu Gi Oh cards being sold is a hypocrite.

Though I haven't seen too many people make that argument, I'd expect The Jimquisition to be stupid enough to do so... Let me check... Oh god it's 15 minutes, if anyone has that much time and patience please let me know if the moral argument comes up.

I was into MtG during 3rd edition. Got a bunch of cards, still today. I was also 14 at the time. If I came up to a shopkeeper with a bunch of cash without an adult, they questioned where my money came from (and rightly so, as it could have gained from nefarious means.) I learnt that I had to watch when different staff came on to spread my money around.

Haven't there also been cases of kids stealing cards and racking up huge debts on games. FIFA was the one last time I think.

Silentpony:

FalloutJack:
I have no love of gambling. Presumably, I'm never the only one. Anything else?

I never got it either. If an adult wants to do it, they should be allowed to, but it's just not something that interests me at all.
It's like people who want to be famous- more power to you, but it's baffling to me why

I never understood why people pay casinos to take their money.

Gambling is almost literally a legalized form of scam. IMO, it should be illegal regardless of age.

trunkage:
I never understood why people pay casinos to take their money.

Silentpony:
I never got it either.

People often say "I don't understand", but what they mean is "I don't like".

Just be honest like

Adam Jensen:
Gambling is almost literally a legalized form of scam. IMO, it should be illegal regardless of age.

even if there's a chance (ayyy) it gets you some odd looks and an eye-roll.

Don't care overmuch. I mean, no-one had a moral panic when I bought Kinder Surprises or card packs as a child. If you can't trust your child to behave responsible on a game that has lootboxes or something similar, don't give them your credit details or their own.

erttheking:

Also, the yu-gi-oh and pokemon argument doesn't really work. You know why? Because if you want to, you can just go out and buy whatever card you want for both of those games. Nowadays you can do it stupidly cheap. Hell, my freaking DAD did that back when he played yu-gi-oh with my brother and I when we were kids. He bought a Japanese version of the card Cyber-Stein because he wanted to be able to use a Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon card he had.

That is some terrible logic, the fact you can buy the cards directly does not make the random card buying non existant.

But you know the main reason it doesn't really work? Because card packs weren't gambling to anywhere near the degree of today's loot boxes.

So you do agree it's gambling.

I played yu-gi-oh back in the day, and you know how often I got duplicates? Barely ever. It was pretty much always new cards, and nearly always good cards.

So you've got insanely good luck to never get trash cards, I've bought dozen of packs in the hopes of getting a Charizard when I was 10 years old. And that was gambling by the legal definition.

This is without getting into starter decks, which gave you a nice combination of cards right out of the gate where you knew exactly what you were getting. And then there were the tins. God, the tins were the freaking best. A massive collection of card packs with no duplicates that I can remember.

Again, that alternative (that is only true for some cards) doesn't make the actual gambling part disappear.

So the yu-gi-oh and pokemon arguments don't really work, because when you bought a pack, you got guaranteed value.

That is some bullshit, unless you've got some insane luck by statistics alone you will get shitty cards that doesn't amount more than the money you've spent over the very good and valuable rare.

Not the case with modern loot boxes, where you can't just buy the item you want, and duplicates are stupidly common. If yu-gi-oh was actually like modern games, I probably would've burned my card collection instead of still keeping it in my closet...now I want to dig out my old deck.

So it's more gambling because you feel it's less fair? That's not how it works.

Also there's the fact that with a card pack, you know exactly what you're getting into. With loot boxes, they're being deceptive from the word go, trying to test your patience and manipulate you into buying more.

Unless you mean the set pack, actual packs you know at best the range of stuff you are able to get.

It was always something that worried me. I have friends and family members who have young kids and I've had too many conversations start with them asking me "Hey, you play a lot of video games. Why are my kids asking me to buy them charge-cards at the grocery store for games they already bought?" Then, I just groan and say "hang on, that'll take a few minutes....... see there are these things called "reskins" which makes your in-game character look different........"

It's gambling and bad enough when marketed to adults since it is exploiting people with addiction issues. But with Star Wars, you have a game explicitly marketed to young children! Yeah, that is just fucking despicable.

I mean, I collected Hockey cards as a kid (dammit Mom, why did you throw them all out?) but it isn't really comparable. I never racked up hundreds of dollars on my parent's stolen credit card trying to get Teemu Selanne's rookie card.

I think it's important to note that gambling laws vary from country to country and in the U.S., state to state. And I think in most states in the U.S. it has to be more than just a game of chance. You also typically have to be able to win something of value. The question is, are account-specific pixelated rewards that can't be resold something of monetary value? I don't know the answer to that.

And then you've got a hundred years of collectible cards that have never been regulated, and it would seem that one would have to prove that this is somehow legally different, or both mediums would probably have to be regulated.

I'm not a lawyer, but I think it's a steep uphill battle, and one the government regulators are likely to lose, or more likely just decide not to pursue seriously beyond a public scolding. And even if the games do get removed from store shelves in some countries like Belgium, do they even care much? How are they going to regulate people downloading these games online? Any more than they can currently stop people from actual casino or sports gambling online?

I think game developers/publishers anticipated a possible backlash and decided it was worth the risk because there is likely nothing that anyone can do about it. I think loot boxes are here to stay.

I just thought this was more of a parenting issue.
If you know your kid is playing stuff online, why do you leave your credit card details available on the platform?
I leave my credit card details on some things, but I also don't have a snot nosed brat to look after to make sure they don't do something that they have no understanding of.

If there's no card for them to use, then there's no issue.

As for recent loot box controversy in general, it's slowly been making shittier games.

McElroy:

trunkage:
I never understood why people pay casinos to take their money.

Silentpony:
I never got it either.

People often say "I don't understand", but what they mean is "I don't like".

Just be honest like.

What I don't like is the winning aspect of gambling. I did nothing to earn it and its associated with a system that is designed to make you loose.

But, at least for my friends who gamble, that's not the point of gambling. If you get worried about winning, you just lose more. Don't expect to keep any of the thousands of dollars you start with at the beginning of the night.

It's about playing the games. Sounds to me like your just paying money to play blackjack. This is the part where I don't understand the logic.

And this is only anecdotal, so take that with a grain of salt. Am I'm not prostlatising to get rid of it.

As to loot boxes, I only care about them influence kids without their parents supervising them.

McElroy:

trunkage:
I never understood why people pay casinos to take their money.

Silentpony:
I never got it either.

People often say "I don't understand", but what they mean is "I don't like".

Just be honest like

Adam Jensen:
Gambling is almost literally a legalized form of scam. IMO, it should be illegal regardless of age.

even if there's a chance (ayyy) it gets you some odd looks and an eye-roll.

I know exactly what's not to like about it. It's just greed. The gambler and the gamblee are both just being overly greedy, and that's pretty much the end of it. It's wrong all the way around UNLESS this was then used for charity, which of course neither companies nor casinos would ever do. And if they did, it would be after taking a cut, which is wrong. So, on the whole, gambling is just unforgivable, period.

FalloutJack:
It's just greed. The gambler and the gamblee are both just being overly greedy, and that's pretty much the end of it. It's wrong all the way around UNLESS this was then used for charity, which of course neither companies nor casinos would ever do. And if they did, it would be after taking a cut, which is wrong. So, on the whole, gambling is just unforgivable, period.

I'd say that makes you sound like a grump; greed in this world is hardly limited to gambling, after all. Just half an hour ago I tried to get an absurd (but also absurdly limited) Black Friday deal that I would've just put up for sale myself! Unforgivable. Anyway, thanks for elaborating on your brief comment earlier.

trunkage:
I did nothing to earn it and it's associated with a system that is designed to make you lose.

I mean, you just said it yourself: the odds are that you lose. If you beat the odds you win, and thus that's earning it.

But, at least for my friends who gamble, that's not the point of gambling. If you get worried about winning, you just lose more. Don't expect to keep any of the thousands of dollars you start with at the beginning of the night.

It's about playing the games. Sounds to me like your just paying money to play blackjack. This is the part where I don't understand the logic.

One main thing to understand is that games like blackjack and poker are gambling games first and card games second. The whole point is to put something on the line. Risky behaviour is very common in general and gambling is the ultimatum of that: the only risk with odds you know and with an immediate return of investment that's always negative... unless you're lucky.

I don't like how addictive it is, and so regulations are necessary. The hubris some people get from thinking they can "beat the system" can be appalling.

Paid lootboxes are horseshit as they don't disclose their odds.

I care about games being made worse on purpose to sell loot crates just because there are tens of thousands of witless morons out there willing to buy clouds of pixels and encourage it further.

However, I couldn't give a crap to the damage it does to those morons. They deserve it if you ask me. I partially consider it to be schadenfreude; seeing someone screw themselves over has a perverse sense of satisfaction, a self-inflicted justice. It's quite amusing to imagine some idiot kid using mommy's credit card to flush away hundreds on a stupid video game and see the veins on daddy's head pop out as he yells at them.

It's the same as seeing someone comically bumble their way into an electric fence. But I suppose the debate is more about whether there should be an electric fence in the first place where kids can bump into it.

But no, I don't really care. In fact, if it were a way to fund free updates for free games like TF2, I don't care if it drains a toddler's college fund, I'd be all for it. However that's no longer entirely the case. It's now making games much worse with pay-to-win mechanics.

I think that the difference now is that it is packaged as Starwars, which is aimed at the kids, and that it has a multimillion dollar ad campaign to push it.

Team fortress never had that. Personally I think it is no worse that FIFA ultimate team which is predatory. Im glad neither my son or I play that.

No we dont. we accepted, even glorified gambling sold to children for decades. The most popular card game in the world are little more than gambling with a game attached to it.

Right now everyone is pissing around because they want that one example of gambling to be banned but the much worse examples to stay around.

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