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  • Star Wars Battlefront II AMA Happening Today - 'This is Fine' - News

    immodium said:
    immodium said:
    immodium said:
    And all that without even acknowledging the elephant in the room that makes digital lootbox much, much worse than any physical trading card game:

    If Magic stops making cards, you still have the cards in your possession.  In fact, those cards are likely to objectively increase in value.

    If EA shutters BF2, they can literally reduce the value of the items won to abso-fucking-lutely nothing, to the point of legally and actively preventing you from enjoying any value out of them.  Just as the lootbox winnings in Overwatch, and just as the lootbox winnings in any other online game.  Wizards of the Coast can't force you to send them their cards back.
    That's not unique to lootboxes. Look at the amount of MMO's people own that they can't play due to being shutdown.

    You can argue that many games with purchasable loot boxes are prolonging the life of the product they've purchased.
    It's not, but it's a key difference that makes the comparison to physical trading cards inaccurate and misleading.
    But labeling loot boxes gambling is also inaccurate and misleading.

    Gambling implies you can lose, you never lose with loot boxes. Whether you got what you wanted from it is irrelevant. You get something of cash value regardless.

    If it is classed as gambling it's the best form of gambling as you always win.
    Many casinos offer free VIP cards that accrue points as you lose that can be redeemed for items/comps.  So you technically never lose there, either.  Doesn't affect the regulations they must adhere to.
    So should trading cards then as well, they need to adhere to gambling regulations.

    Despite their differences there's more in common with loot boxes and trading cards than casinos.

    Whether your "winnings" last forever or not is irrelevant.
    Its important to distinguish between gambling as a concept, and types of gambling that are regulated by law. 

    Anything where you pay real money for a chance at a return is gambling. That includes lotteries, trading card packs, raffles, loot boxes. This is pretty much globally recognised and all legal investigations have shown this to be true. 

    However, gambling regulations in the majority of countries only cover gambling activities where the return is either money or can be converted into money in a guaranteed manner (e.g. exchanging tokens for cash). This is how game developers get away with it. In the EU for example, the Isle of Mann is the only country that follows a different model in that it doesn't care what format the gambling return comes in - money, cards or digital goods. 

    So, in the Isle of Mann, SWBF2's lootboxes are illegal. 

    The legal investigations being launched by Belgium and other countries are generally not focusing on whether in-game gambling breaks the law or not. They already know it doesn't. The investigations are mostly focusing on determining whether other laws have been broken (in the UK, for example, EA can get prosecuted for aggressively pushing lootboxes on players under other consumer protection laws) and also on how to create new legislation to regulate in game gambling. 
  • Embattled Star Wars: Battlefront II Microtransaction System Taken Offline - News

    cheyane said:
    Phry said:
    Belguim? i think it is that is currently looking into this game as gambling, if they determine it is, and with the terminology they were using it seems possible that it will be, then EA faces huge fines. It may be that they don't intend to reintroduce microtransactions until after the case is resolved, one way or the other.
    I see so the celebrations are premature and what prompted it was not the backlash but real fines.
    The backlash against BF2 is what has directly caused micro-transactions to be turned off. 

    The legal investigations are another matter entirely. They have been going on for a while now. Shadow of War, Overwatch, Forze 7, Fifa and NBA 2k18 have all been officially investigated. Belgium is currently making the most publicity with their investigations but the UK government is running it's own too. 

    Unfortunately within the EU, gambling laws only apply if the items won can be converted into real money. This is how the games industry is currently getting away with it - if you were able to sell your Star Cards in BF2 for money, the game would be instantly fucked. 

    There are also additional consumer protection laws that apply. In the UK, we have Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. This specifically requires business not to, ‘anyone to misleading or aggressive marketing practices, or, for example, direct exhortation to buy products, such as games content, including in-game purchases such as loot boxes.’

    This tends to be the main focus on investigations against individual games, but the consequences aren't great. This law basically allows gambling in lootboxes as long as the devs aren't pushing their players to buy them, and even if you are found to be pushing them you generally just have to change your marketing messages. Its rare that you get fined. 

    With all that said, there are many governments around the world who have now acknowledged gambling within computer games as a problem and are considering new legislation. The UK secretary of state is currently running a commission with the goal of coming up with new consumer protections against lootboxes and microtransactions. So, from my point of view, the writing is on the wall. Whatever new legislation comes through won't remove microtransactions or lootboxes entirely but they will likely protect us against their overly predatory nature. I expect to see more items being sold directly in shops or simply other monetisation methods (more expensive games) to cover the loss of income. 

  • Star Wars Battlefront II AMA Happening Today - 'This is Fine' - News

    So, I read through a lot of the AMA answers, most were pretty shit. No admissions of wrong doing or any stated intentions to get stuff changed, just the usual "we acknowledge your complaints, we'll keep monitoring the situation". 

    On the subject of gambling, I'm all in favour of more regulation when it comes to gaming. First off, I think gambling is just stupid anyway, at least as far as gambling as a business goes. It is designed from the ground up for the house to win, so we as customers are setup to lose. It is how businesses make money off gambling and it works extremely well. I have no problem with people doing things like placing bets amongst friends, or shoving £5 each into a pot for poker night (thought I personally avoid both) because at least in those situations you aren't being deliberately setup to lose, plus the enjoyment is being derived from the activity (watching a game/race or playing cards) and the cash aspect is just a nice bonus at the end. 

    So, within gaming, I firmly believe that we should be regulating gambling. Specifically, we should be regulating any mechanic where a customer can pay real money to gamble on an item. Whether that regulation takes the form of banning the practice (my preference) or just shoving an 18+ rating on games that monetise gambling doesn't really matter. The result should be the same - a reduced amount of gambling in games (which is good for gamers) or reduced sales of games that include gambling (which should prompt developers to focus on making better games that will sell better). 
  • Microtransactions is working

    SEANMCAD said:
    Your bad english aside, microtransactions are working for the developers

    I would argue they are not working for the players themselves. I'm also surprised to see you supporting microtransactions. 
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II Review – This is the Star Wars Game You’ve Been Looking For - Not So MMO -

    I'm a big fan of Star Wars but I refuse to buy games from Electronic Arts in general as they are always a disappointment. With the lootbox / mt drama, there is even less chance with this game. 

    I also get curious about reviews like this. This was a very glowing review of the game, yet the majority of reviews I've read have basically called it mediocre rubbish. Whilst EA have given us a campaign this time and fleshed out some other bits, the core gameplay still seems to be over simplified and dull. The card mechanics introduced power gaps to a pvp game which is retarded. Levels that include heroes also seem to be shit as heroes are so imbalanced. I've also read on many sites that the levels themselves are crap - each seems to funnel everyone into one or two key areas, resulting in endless random killing as everyone just spams grenades and blind fires. 

    What confuses me even more is the review scores this game is getting. I played the last Battlefront on my brother's xbone. It was pretty mediocre. Sure, the maps look great and the graphics are pretty awesome, but the actual gameplay was dull and repetitive. It wasn't even as good as the original. 

    I can understand making the game for nostalgia's sake, but when you ignore a decade's worth of improvments to the FPS genre, it should not be getting high review scores.