vacancies advertise contact news tip The Vault
facebook rss twitter

US politician says EA created a "Star Wars-themed online casino"

by Mark Tyson on 22 November 2017, 11:31

Tags: Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qadnzi

Add to My Vault: x

Opinions about in-game microtransactions are starting to get political. In the last few hours we have seen developments on both sides of the pond, with governmental organisations seeking to protect citizens from the dangers of gambling in computer gaming. In Europe the Belgium Gaming Commission are looking for a continent-wide ban on loot boxes, which it insists are a form of gambling. In the US, Hawaiian House of Representative Democrat Chris Lee has spoken of his intent to protect gamers from the "predatory practices" of gaming companies.

A video published by Rep. Chris Lee of Hawaii is embedded directly above. In the video you will hear the politician call for "future protections for kids, youth, and everyone when it comes to the spread of predatory practices in online gaming". There may have been 'loot boxes' in gaming before Star Wars Battlefront II but EA's game helped push the issues of gambling in gaming to the top of the news pile and then off the cliff edge.

Lee talks in his video about the new Star Wars game being "a trap". Furthermore, he describes the game as "a Star Wars-themed online casino designed to lure kids into spending money". Gambling is prohibited to those under 21 years of age, explains Lee, thus the loot box problem needs to be addressed to protect gamers, especially kids, who didn't buy this type of game for gambling thrills. Lee followed up in a Reddit post to say that "These exploitive mechanisms and the deceptive marketing promoting them have no place in games being marketed to minors, and perhaps no place in games at all."

Now it looks like both the US and Europe will be looking into legislation to prohibit access or even completely prohibit the sales of games which include gambling elements. Hopefully this kind of legislation, and customers voting with their £$s, will put a stop to an exploitative gaming industry trend.



HEXUS Forums :: 17 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
Finally someone will stop those greedy bastards(i mean all companies that do this not just EA).
Devil's advocate - isn't this the same premise as when I used to buy Magic The Gathering booster packs as a kid? I was exchanging money for a packet of thoroughly useless stuff which may have been good or it may have been pointless. This is the same except the amount of money seems to be somewhat larger.

Personally, I think the whole being able to buy upgrades in games is just crap and exploitative anyway. What happened to working for it and gaining rewards for excelling at the game? You're just encouraging kids to throw money at a game which will be obsolete within a year or so in order to give them effectively nothing in return. At least with MTG cards you can trade them, sell them, etc and they never stop working when the developer decides the game has run its course and shuts down the servers.
They can't let this slip by the way-side, they have to pursue this and regulate now, even if taking the issue of minors gambling out of the equation, this type of practice is abhorrent and is ruining the enjoyment and value of gaming as a whole.

I will accept having purely cosmetic items on sale provided you can choose what you buy and it doesn't affect gameplay for others, I even agree with charging for major expansion packs, but everything else needs to go as quickly as possible.
philehidiot
Devil's advocate - isn't this the same premise as when I used to buy Magic The Gathering booster packs as a kid? I was exchanging money for a packet of thoroughly useless stuff which may have been good or it may have been pointless. This is the same except the amount of money seems to be somewhat larger.

Personally, I think the whole being able to buy upgrades in games is just crap and exploitative anyway. What happened to working for it and gaining rewards for excelling at the game? You're just encouraging kids to throw money at a game which will be obsolete within a year or so in order to give them effectively nothing in return. At least with MTG cards you can trade them, sell them, etc and they never stop working when the developer decides the game has run its course and shuts down the servers.
Your Magic card packs didn't come with audio and visuals making the opening process a grand spectacle, while loot box openings are directly modeled on the audiovisual features of slot machines. This is not in any way a coincidence - there's a significant amount of study behind this, into which stimuli trigger excitement, expectation, and keep users coming back for more regardless of the outcome. That this is marketed to kids makes it all the worse. There's good reason why gambling is regulated in most countries, and (even if this has no possibility of a monetary payout, the perceived value of the items at stake is still high) this is nothing more than a form of gambling that circumvents current laws and regulations.
Valantar
philehidiot
Devil's advocate - isn't this the same premise as when I used to buy Magic The Gathering booster packs as a kid? I was exchanging money for a packet of thoroughly useless stuff which may have been good or it may have been pointless. This is the same except the amount of money seems to be somewhat larger.

Personally, I think the whole being able to buy upgrades in games is just crap and exploitative anyway. What happened to working for it and gaining rewards for excelling at the game? You're just encouraging kids to throw money at a game which will be obsolete within a year or so in order to give them effectively nothing in return. At least with MTG cards you can trade them, sell them, etc and they never stop working when the developer decides the game has run its course and shuts down the servers.
Your Magic card packs didn't come with audio and visuals making the opening process a grand spectacle, while loot box openings are directly modeled on the audiovisual features of slot machines. This is not in any way a coincidence - there's a significant amount of study behind this, into which stimuli trigger excitement, expectation, and keep users coming back for more regardless of the outcome. That this is marketed to kids makes it all the worse. There's good reason why gambling is regulated in most countries, and (even if this has no possibility of a monetary payout, the perceived value of the items at stake is still high) this is nothing more than a form of gambling that circumvents current laws and regulations.

I was hoping to draw out a comment like that with the devil's advocate thing and I think you're spot on (I've never looked into it beyond what was briefly covered in my psychology qualifications but I've always been fascinated with the mechanisms behind slot machines and how some flashy lights can draw in grown adults). I think what makes it worse (as you elude to) is the disparity between the perceived worth of the input Vs the output. A slot machine is £20 in, maybe £70 out - it's all money at the end of the day. In this you put in £20 and get an “extremely rare, hardly ever seen, show off to your mates” item back which handily can't be obtained from any other source. They're working on making the items you can “win” seem like they're worth more than the money you're putting in when really they're worth nothing more than a line of code in a file somewhere. It's artificially created supply and demand taken to extremes to create high perceived value and excitement.