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f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  Gaming  |  Topic: The DoJ is coming for your LootBoxes 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
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Author Topic: The DoJ is coming for your LootBoxes  (Read 1006 times)
SurfD
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on: January 18, 2019, 12:37:27 AM

So, the DoJ has appearently revisited a previous interpretation of the Wire Act and has now changed their stance to be that Online Gambling is in violation of said Act.  Now, as lootboxes are probably considered to be a form of gambling, I imagine this is going to throw a huge monkey wrench into the monetization schemes of everybody who has gone down the lootbox route.   If this stands, I imagine it is also going to pretty well kill a good chunk of the mobile gaming market as well (pretty much every game with a Gatcha mechanic would fall under this blanket).

Any thoughts on the likelyhood of this actually going through?

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schild
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Reply #1 on: January 18, 2019, 12:41:22 AM

Good. I hope it does. Don't you dare fucking touch my CCGs though.
Teleku
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Reply #2 on: January 18, 2019, 12:57:57 AM

Ha! Was just going to say "So, whats their opinion on Magic booster packs....."

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SurfD
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Reply #3 on: January 18, 2019, 02:01:01 AM

Hard to say.   If they go after lootboxes and gatcha games, CCG booster pack would probably fall under the same category.   Probably the only way to tell would be to look at somewhere like Belgium where they recently implemented Online Gambling laws / rules that basically killed the Gatcha Game market there (Final Fantasy Brave Exuvius basically shut down operations for Belgian users rather than try to modify the game to allow it to comply with the rules), and see if online CCG's are still allowed to function there.

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Cyrrex
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Reply #4 on: January 18, 2019, 02:08:00 AM

As a parent who has to deal with this crap via a couple of teenagers, lootboxes and the like need to be lasered from orbit.  It is definitely gambling, and it is definitely being aimed at a demographic least likely to resist the temptations.  If it destroys a segment of mobile and online gaming, well, that segment needed destroying.

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schild
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Reply #5 on: January 18, 2019, 02:12:35 AM

The difference between Magic and regular gatcha shit is guaranteed distribution (1 rare, 3 uncommon, 11 common) in every pack. One mythic every six packs or so. One foil every three packs. The odds are consistent and explicit. Digital lootboxes less so.
Cyrrex
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Reply #6 on: January 18, 2019, 02:19:29 AM

Yeah, I would also see that as a fair transaction.  In games where it is something more like "earn between 1 and 5 rares" or whatever the loot type is....not a fan.  Not as bad as some of the naked robbery going on in other games, but still not great.

"...maybe if you cleaned the piss out of the sunny d bottles under your desks and returned em, you could upgrade you vid cards, fucken lusers.." - Grunk
Velorath
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Reply #7 on: January 18, 2019, 02:54:47 AM

If I'm not mistaken a lot of game publishers have made the percentages for their loot boxes public in the past 6 months or so, and Apple has a policy now that any app on their store with loot boxes has to reveal the percentages as well. Actual gambling has generally known odds and percentages, so I'm not sure why that would really be a factor anyway. Honestly I don't see any significant difference between CCG's and loot boxes but I also don't see a need to crack down on this stuff either.
schild
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Reply #8 on: January 18, 2019, 02:57:45 AM

If I'm not mistaken a lot of game publishers have made the percentages for their loot boxes public in the past 6 months or so, and Apple has a policy now that any app on their store with loot boxes has to reveal the percentages as well. Actual gambling has generally known odds and percentages, so I'm not sure why that would really be a factor anyway. Honestly I don't see any significant difference between CCG's and loot boxes but I also don't see a need to crack down on this stuff either.
Slot machines have a nebulous hold rate. This is where things get messy. No slot machines have their percentages revealed.

Loot boxes are slot machines, not roulette. This is exactly the problem.

You know what you're getting in a paper CCG in every single pack. The pictures on the cards may be different, but the cards in abstract are identical every time barring outliers (foils, etc).
Velorath
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Reply #9 on: January 18, 2019, 03:21:32 AM

I don't think you can just handwave away the outliers though or the fact that cards of the same rarity typically don't all have the same value. That's the fun of cracking open a pack is hoping you get a valuable rare, or particular cards you're looking for. That also causes some people with poor impulse control to blow more money than they should chasing after certain cards.

I think the real difference with CCG's is that if you really want, you can trade or just buy the card from somebody and know exactly how much you're paying to get it, whereas you don't always have that option with loot boxes in video games.
Draegan
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Reply #10 on: January 18, 2019, 07:38:49 AM

CCGs wont be touched because then you go down the rabbit hole of talking about shit like baseball cards.
Hawkbit
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Reply #11 on: January 18, 2019, 08:24:53 AM

The difference between Magic and regular gatcha shit is guaranteed distribution (1 rare, 3 uncommon, 11 common) in every pack. One mythic every six packs or so. One foil every three packs. The odds are consistent and explicit. Digital lootboxes less so.

This is a great point. An argument can be made for how expensive CCGs are, though the guaranteed distribution always feels fair to me with Magic. I get legit excited about opening packs, sometimes disappointed but it always feels like value. Plus the model has allowed third parties like Card Kingdom to thrive, where building a specific deck is going to be a cheaper route than random purchase. That’s not something lootboxes can offer.
Rendakor
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Reply #12 on: January 18, 2019, 09:45:19 AM

CCGs wont be touched because then you go down the rabbit hole of talking about shit like baseball cards.
Serious question: they still make baseball cards?

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Draegan
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Reply #13 on: January 18, 2019, 10:41:18 AM

CCGs wont be touched because then you go down the rabbit hole of talking about shit like baseball cards.
Serious question: they still make baseball cards?

Yep, next time you're in Target or a similar store, there are tons of sports cards.
Spiff
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Reply #14 on: January 19, 2019, 01:40:48 AM

Magic the Gathering, like Pokemon and any other physical card trading game is exempt in Belgium btw, they do fall under our gambling/gaming commission but a specific division (card-games) which isn't as strictly regulated.
I'm sure this has nothing to do with the fact that Magic, like many other card-games, is physically produced by a Belgian company (Cartamundi). We have a very long history printing cards here.
The actual reasoning they give is pretty vague though, it mostly seems like 'old people logic' where being virtual makes something inherently worse, so the fact you get a physical card means it can't truly be corrupting our youth or something.
SurfD
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Reply #15 on: January 19, 2019, 05:13:02 AM

Right, but what about the Online versions of CCGs.  Do those get hit?  Do they still count as Digital Gambling, or is there some loophole that would classify opening a Digital Booster Pack as a different activity from opening a lootbox or doing a Pull on a Gatcha game?

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schild
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Reply #16 on: January 19, 2019, 08:11:10 AM

The loophole is that every pack opened contains basically the same thing so it can't be gambling. They might have to normalize foils and such though.
Sir T
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Reply #17 on: January 19, 2019, 08:38:59 AM

Ok but, Devils Advocate, wouldn't that exempt the CS:GO skin gambling sites as well? After all you are just trading Gun Skins and Player Avatar skins.

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schild
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Reply #18 on: January 19, 2019, 09:19:44 AM

I don't know how the two are related at all. I also don't care enough to look into csgo's hat based economy.
Sir T
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Reply #19 on: January 19, 2019, 04:16:08 PM

Well the skins come from lootboxes so its a moot point anyway.

Sometimes irony is pretty ironic.
Yegolev
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Reply #20 on: January 25, 2019, 08:54:08 AM

Not that I play mobile games, but is it a larger differentiator that I can open a pack of MTG cards and immediately (potentially) trade for what I want? I'm assuming that you can't trade lootbox/gacha items.

Otherwise the difference between the two seems rather small to me.

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schild
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Reply #21 on: January 25, 2019, 08:56:16 AM

This was argued fairly extensively in Europe, among other places.

The difference between baseball/Magic/other things in packs is guaranteed distribution + secondary value.

The problem with loot boxes is they're purely slot machines that you can't cash in.

There's a slew of other things that went into the arguments, but end of the day lootboxes no equal packs of cards.
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Reply #22 on: January 25, 2019, 09:21:09 AM

Yeah, that was what I thought. Even if no one wanted my Mox Pearl, I could still use it to pick my teeth because it is a thing. I can't do shit with a Squirtle.

Was there something about these types of games where you can trade the virtual bits and bobs? Does a virtual secondary market move this closer to non-gambling? Seems like that would give a value to even virtual goods.

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Father mike
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Reply #23 on: January 25, 2019, 09:59:33 AM

It seems like giving lootboxes real world value brings them more into the sphere gambling. 

The idiots who see Star Citizen ships as a real-world investment sorta prove that treating virtual goods as fungible goes off the rails pretty fast.

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Reply #24 on: January 25, 2019, 10:58:22 AM

Sure, that's a given, but in the end it is all about who is getting the money, isn't it? I'm curious about how it works less from a mathematical or logical perspective, and more from what is deemed legal for what reasons. Ultimately, the core reason is money, but how much and to whom?

Why am I homeless?  Why do all you motherfuckers need homes is the real question.
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Father mike
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Reply #25 on: January 25, 2019, 06:30:07 PM

I think the legal questions are focused on who the money comes FROM rather than whom it goes to.  Even tho video games have made more money than Hollywood for years, gaming is still viewed as children's entertainment.  And when you can start to make even tentative links between "kids" and "gambling", folks are going to get worked up enough that laws start getting floated.

Going back to Star Citizen, nobody cared that adults got fleeced for $200,000,000.  But then PS4 games that have minors in their audience adopt a business model that kinda feels slot-machine-ish, and you start seeing calls for regulation.

I would like to thank Vladimir Putin for ensuring that every member of the NPR news staff has had to say "Pussy Riot" on the air multiple times.
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Reply #26 on: January 25, 2019, 07:12:17 PM

Adelson doesn’t want people to be able to be fleeced from the comforts of their homes. He wants them to have to come to his casinos to get fleeced.

(He was the biggest driver of changing DOJ policies on “online gambling” which I am sure dovetails into this)

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