What's new

Welcome to Cosmic City Crews!

Beyond Creativity

15 European gambling regulators unite to tackle loot box threat

ShineCero

The Strongest
ADMINISTRATOR
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Messages
8,081
Location
Nothingness
Less than a week after Belgium began a criminal investigation into FIFA's loot boxes, 15 gambling regulators from Europe and one from the US have together announced they will "address the risks created by the blurring of lines between gaming and gambling".

The collaborative effort, organised at the 2018 Gambling Regulators European Forum, includes signatories from the UK, France, Ireland, Spain, and even the US (via the Washington State Gambling Commission).

The key focus for the parties involved appears to be "tackling unlicensed third-party websites offering illegal gambling linked to popular video games". If you're wondering what this is, think back to skin betting site CS:GO Lounge, which allowed users to bet real money on a pot of their CS:GO items until Valve cracked down on the site in 2016. Many of these still exist, and regulators want both the video games industry and technology platforms "to play their part in helping crack down on these websites".

But the investigation won't stop there. The regulators stated games providers must "ensure that features within games, such as loot boxes, do not constitute gambling under national laws". This indicates more countries will now examine whether loot boxes can be classed as gambling.


The effort appears to be motivated by concerns about consumer protection and the safety of children online. Neil McArthur, chief executive of the UK Gambling Commission, said regulators "want parents to be aware of the risks and to talk to their children about how to stay safe".

"Unlicensed websites offering skins betting can pop up at any time and children could be gambling with money intended for computer game products," McArthur stated. "We encourage video games companies to work with their gambling regulators and take action now to address those concerns to make sure that consumers, and particularly children, are protected."


Although no solid action has yet been taken, the international effort signals a major shift in the loot box regulation debate. The move comes in the wake of a crackdown on loot boxes by several European countries, including Belgium and the Netherlands, indicating pressure is mounting on publishers who continue to include loot boxes in their games.

The wording of the statement also shows regulators expect game companies to be more cooperative. In context, this is probably a direct response to Blizzard's recent statement claiming it disagreed with the Belgian Gaming Commission's "interpretation of Belgian law," and EA's complete refusal to remove loot boxes from FIFA in Belgium.

The international nature of the agreement is also significant. Previous attempts at regulation have been taken by individual countries, while this approach may bring about coordinated and wide-spread regulatory changes: ones which could potentially be harsher than those taken by individual nations. It hints some countries which previously stated they did not consider loot boxes to be gambling, such as the UK, may now re-evaluate the issue. Will we soon see more countries change their position?

Source
 

LoopyPanda

Black Jacket
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Messages
12,022
Location
cyberia cafe
Lootboxes have been a plague on free-to-play games and even ones you already purchase for many years now. Although I wouldn't inherently call them gambling because for these games, you basically pay for a grab-bag of items and not money in return... it's unfortunately spawned many CSGO gambling scam sites.

Though, I will gladly acknowledge that Youtubers who make their living off of uploading content revolving around the lootbox system games like Fortnite and Overwatch exploit their fanbase at the ready. I've seen trending videos where 14 and 15 year old Fortnite youtubers will do a "Using My Mom's Card to Buy Skins... without her permission" prank challenge series... while most people who aren't literal children understand it's just cringeworthy content that you can ironically make memes for, actual children tend to copy what they see. It's a plague.

Elder Scrolls Online's Morrowind game also uses a lootcrate system, except getting crown gems is rare versus all the stuff you normally get in the crate (I forget if you earn these crates or can buy them). Crown gems are the only way to buy any cosmetics that you want to pimp out your player character, and usually are there for a LIMITED TIME OFFER

Crown gems have a piss-poor item conversion rate, so grinding for items isn't viable, meaning ESO basically forces you to buy crown gems (them shits ain't cheap) if you want any of these. Normally most people wouldn't care about customizing their avatar, but MMOs where it's mostly kids who see arbitrary value in looking cool in-game, they will do anything to get their hands on some PSN gift cards. So addicted they get that they willingly will spend your money without your permission. My brother once bought 30 dollars worth of crown gems off my account knowing that it was my PSN credits.

He still hasn't paid me back the money, but I just make him run errands for me as payment :^)

Companies like Blizzard and the like don't care about how much stress-inducing habits they produce, as long as they make money off of you. And the only way to do that is release 3 super cool 3000 credit skins and make those damn near impossible to get via lootbox by stuffing the RNG pool with 30 new icons, 5 ugly as fuck epic skins (cough, recolors) that are worth just a little under the price of a normal legendary, and at least 10 new sprays. In addition to the normal loot pool. 

Perhaps you want to just get lots of credits so you can just BUY the skins? Too bad, you can only buy lootboxes. Some people argue that we just need to suck it up and let companies fuck us over with this cancerous loot system because cosmetic items don't improve your chances of winning games despite knowing that this isn't the reason why people are complaining. I don't get why some people are such adamant bootlickers of a system that does nothing but exploit people's wallets to get a prized skin for their favorite hero, and continually frustrates people every time an event rolls around that doesn't even come with new modes or minigames to make the lootbox grinding bearable... capitalism I guess? Skins certainly haven't improved the number of people actually playing, I'm stuck in Skirmishes 24/7.

Blizzard threw a hissy fit that Sweden (correct me if im wrong) banned their game unless they took out the lootboxes, and seemed more annoyed than anything that they had to remove their #1 source of leeching money out of people. Maybe that's why they tried the Nanocola Challenge since you just need to play the game and win to get the free goodies. I smell a system revamp coming.

For fortnite, this may be a different can of worms because unless you buy the Switch game, it's completely free to play, and kids don't seem to mind begging their parents for 20 dollars to buy a few skins here and there. Unlike Overwatch, which you have to shell out 59.99 STILL. Despite having been out for 2 years now. Both still participate in a greedy practice, but the latter is more ridiculous than the former.
 

ShineCero

The Strongest
ADMINISTRATOR
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Messages
8,081
Location
Nothingness
LoopyPanda said:
Lootboxes have been a plague on free-to-play games and even ones you already purchase for many years now. Although I wouldn't inherently call them gambling because for these games, you basically pay for a grab-bag of items and not money in return... it's unfortunately spawned many CSGO gambling scam sites.

Though, I will gladly acknowledge that Youtubers who make their living off of uploading content revolving around the lootbox system games like Fortnite and Overwatch exploit their fanbase at the ready. I've seen trending videos where 14 and 15 year old Fortnite youtubers will do a "Using My Mom's Card to Buy Skins... without her permission" prank challenge series... while most people who aren't literal children understand it's just cringeworthy content that you can ironically make memes for, actual children tend to copy what they see. It's a plague.

Elder Scrolls Online's Morrowind game also uses a lootcrate system, except getting crown gems is rare versus all the stuff you normally get in the crate (I forget if you earn these crates or can buy them). Crown gems are the only way to buy any cosmetics that you want to pimp out your player character, and usually are there for a LIMITED TIME OFFER

Crown gems have a piss-poor item conversion rate, so grinding for items isn't viable, meaning ESO basically forces you to buy crown gems (them shits ain't cheap) if you want any of these. Normally most people wouldn't care about customizing their avatar, but MMOs where it's mostly kids who see arbitrary value in looking cool in-game, they will do anything to get their hands on some PSN gift cards. So addicted they get that they willingly will spend your money without your permission. My brother once bought 30 dollars worth of crown gems off my account knowing that it was my PSN credits.

He still hasn't paid me back the money, but I just make him run errands for me as payment :^)

Companies like Blizzard and the like don't care about how much stress-inducing habits they produce, as long as they make money off of you. And the only way to do that is release 3 super cool 3000 credit skins and make those damn near impossible to get via lootbox by stuffing the RNG pool with 30 new icons, 5 ugly as fuck epic skins (cough, recolors) that are worth just a little under the price of a normal legendary, and at least 10 new sprays. In addition to the normal loot pool. 

Perhaps you want to just get lots of credits so you can just BUY the skins? Too bad, you can only buy lootboxes. Some people argue that we just need to suck it up and let companies fuck us over with this cancerous loot system because cosmetic items don't improve your chances of winning games despite knowing that this isn't the reason why people are complaining. I don't get why some people are such adamant bootlickers of a system that does nothing but exploit people's wallets to get a prized skin for their favorite hero, and continually frustrates people every time an event rolls around that doesn't even come with new modes or minigames to make the lootbox grinding bearable... capitalism I guess? Skins certainly haven't improved the number of people actually playing, I'm stuck in Skirmishes 24/7.

Blizzard threw a hissy fit that Sweden (correct me if im wrong) banned their game unless they took out the lootboxes, and seemed more annoyed than anything that they had to remove their #1 source of leeching money out of people. Maybe that's why they tried the Nanocola Challenge since you just need to play the game and win to get the free goodies. I smell a system revamp coming.

For fortnite, this may be a different can of worms because unless you buy the Switch game, it's completely free to play, and kids don't seem to mind begging their parents for 20 dollars to buy a few skins here and there. Unlike Overwatch, which you have to shell out 59.99 STILL. Despite having been out for 2 years now. Both still participate in a greedy practice, but the latter is more ridiculous than the former.

You will always have type of people that will willingly to blow the load of big companies without forming their own opinions. They're led to believe that Blizzard has good intentions and everyone should "shut up and help this small company becomes big". Especially with the Overwatch League becoming a huge thing, I would be surprised if they advocate lootboxes to be even more expensive.

You're on the head regarding the challenges like the Nano Cola thing. They can easily, EASILY, do something like that that won't result into gambling. Have people earned their skins through conventional means or, at the very least, allow them to buy it.

But I have an itch that Blizzard's the type of company that will charged crazy amount of monies for a skin. Didn't that Lucio Emote thing was like, 35 dollars or something like that?

Lootboxes are, and always been, gambling. And it's laughable how fans tried to defend Blizzard here by saying "well, they give us free content! We should be grateful!". Sorry, but them updating the games doesn't give them the right to created an gambling-like system.

So I'm glad that countries are BTFOing the fuck out of the lootboxes system; hopefully, that'll be the end of them until someone else thinks of another way to con money out of people.
 

fullblue

Green Jacket
Joined
Sep 5, 2015
Messages
806
Location
Stadt, die Wissen schafft
There is this phrase that my mom often says "buying a cat in a sack".

Lootbox and gacha is no different with this. We don't know what is inside until we open it and we can't buy the object that we want without going through the random number generator. Very much unlike TCG, which allow me to buy the prized Charizard card without going through the bullshit as long as I can find it and has the money to buy it.

It is very amusing that EA need gambling licence to keep their lootbox in Belgium given that EU in general has strict gambling law to prevent minors from gambling.  :lmao:

The very nature of this system is abusive. Imagine limited gacha for 2 weeks with around 2% probability (2% is already generous). Impulsive customer will be spending huge just because they want some "limited edition" pixels.
 

ShineCero

The Strongest
ADMINISTRATOR
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Messages
8,081
Location
Nothingness
Lootbox and gacha is no different with this. We don't know what is inside until we open it and we can't buy the object that we want without going through the random number generator. Very much unlike TCG, which allow me to buy the prized Charizard card without going through the bullshit as long as I can find it and has the money to buy it.


This is the first I heard of this. People actually compared TCG to lootboxes? They couldn't be anymore different. 

Unlike Lootboxes, aside from what you said that you can physically seek out a specific card whenever you wish, is that cards actually have value. They have physical forms, nice art, collections, trading, etc. Even if the game is somehow discontinued, you will always, always have the cards and it will always, always have value.

Shit in lootboxes to not have any form of value, especially outside of the game. If the game stops working, shut down, whatever, that 59.99 bucks you just spent to randomly get a skin is now gone forever. Hope it was worth it, gamer! :maybe:
 

fullblue

Green Jacket
Joined
Sep 5, 2015
Messages
806
Location
Stadt, die Wissen schafft
Actually one of the justification for lootbox by these companies is the comparison with base ball cards lol
 

ShineCero

The Strongest
ADMINISTRATOR
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Messages
8,081
Location
Nothingness
Ah, well my comment still stands xD

You can still have those cards, even if the games/whatever no longer exist; simply because they have value. The moment the game shutdowns along with their server, every penny you spent on it is gone forever.

----

It seems that Ireland is backing down from labeling lootboxes as gambling.

Irish Legal News reports that Ireland Department of Justice Minister of State David Stanton told the Irish Senate last week that the department, “does not have a role to regulate game developers on how their games work nor, in the offering of in-game purchases.

............


As Stanton told the Irish Senate, however, that declaration “does not have legal effect.” Still, it reflects concern from gambling authorities about online gaming's impact.

“Where a game offers the possibility of placing a bet or the taking of risk for financial reward within the game, then, in my view it must be licensed as a gambling product," Stanton explained.

https://www.ign.com/articles/2018/10/01/ireland-backs-down-from-labeling-loot-boxes-as-gambling
 

Grey Star

Red Jacket
Joined
Sep 4, 2015
Messages
3,134
Location
Death's Door - Beyond the Gate
I hope the Irish do something about it. America's still supposed to look to other countries for comparison in terms of laws and court decisions. Even if that ideal is as forgotten as a failed bank robber.

I watched John Oliver's video on the lottery and part of me is convinced that, outside of independent health groups doing studies, we're unlikely to get much more than lip service regulation, unless I missed something.
 

ShineCero

The Strongest
ADMINISTRATOR
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Messages
8,081
Location
Nothingness
I just don't understand why companies need to rely on Lootboxes, outside of maximizing their profits or increased the longevity of the game. In the case for Overwatch (don't know about the rest of the companies, although EA's practice was quite pathetic in how they did it with Star Wars) just make an option for people to buy the skins and be done with it. Throwing hissy fits won't do anything good if the European Union, well, most of them, decides to consider Lootboxes gambling.
 
Top Bottom