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Victorian Gambling Authority: "what occurs with loot boxes does constitute gambling"

PowerUp! - The state of Victoria has joined the throng of governments who have voiced concern about the practices of loot boxes in games. Belgium and Hawaii have both come out against loot boxes today and now the state of Victoria has joined the ranks."

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Mikelarry24d ago (Edited 24d ago )

Look at how everyone all of a sudden now see it as gambling when for weeks gamers have been saying this. Thanks Belgium for being the first to step up and calling this what it is

AnubisG24d ago

At least now it has gotten attention and being taken seriously.

thorstein24d ago

So. What are they going to do? This has been going on for over a decade. Are they going to get all our money back from Valve, Activision, King, and all the MTs? If not, then I really am getting bored with the whole thing.

Sciurus_vulgaris23d ago (Edited 23d ago )

No, if you were impulsive enough to buy Loot Boxes, you’re not entitled to refunds.

G20WLY23d ago

That made you sound like an entitled millennial.

Dragonscale23d ago

This is for loot boxes specifically, not all dlc.

XiNatsuDragnel24d ago

Everything is coming up pro gamer

Relientk7724d ago

I'm glad this is happening. Hopefully this severely decreases the number of games that have microtransactions, loot boxes, and pay 2 win BS. Ultimately, I wish it would just die and zero games would implement these greedy practices.

TankCrossing24d ago

It won't discourage micro-transactions or pay 2 win. Just loot boxes.

Still, celebrate each victory!

Swiftfox23d ago

I'm not sure what the reality will be the for the USA, however. We won't see an end to micro-transactions or pay to win elements in games, unfortunately. People want an outright ban, but I fear what will happen is simply games with lootboxes will be given an automatic "M" rating and a special icon to let people know the game has micro-gambling devices. I can't see the parent companies of EA or Activision not lobbying against an outright ban or legislation which categories them as gambling under the law or an amendment to such a law.

The work isn't done...but it's a start. People need to keep the pressure on.

rainslacker23d ago

MT aren't going anywhere. Even P2W is likely to stick around. Just this particular implementation of them....or things similar...are likely to go away. A company would still be free to charge for specific products like a skin, weapon, or character, it's just that the person will know what they're getting.

However, since people can do this, it means that they're likely to spend less trying to get what they want, because they don't have to wade through crap to get to the good stuff. That's the opposite direction that publishers want to go, and realistically, is the only reason to offer up random loot for money.

We'll likely see some other stupid anti-consumer BS come to replace loot boxes at some point, because these publishers seem very creative in thinking of ways to fleece money from the consumer. If they kept it out of the P2W realm, and didn't design their games around the payed way being more appealing than actually playing the game, then there probably won't be more than the normal grumbling about MT that we've seen for quite a while now....and publishers can go back to ignoring us again.

ArchangelMike24d ago

This is awesome news for gamers, hopefully the cancer of loot boxes dies and takes microtransactions with it.

nitus1023d ago

Not all microtransactions are bad, especially ones that are cosmetic only which are designed to appeal to some gamers egos. The problem you have is where do you actually draw the line since we know that microtransactions can lead to "pay to win" and loot boxes?

radiantmind1324d ago

Goodbye $60 dollar game. Publishers will find a way to maximize profits, and will in turn just raise the prices of games. I don't see how MT or lootboxes constitute gambling. If you don't want to buy a lootbox then don't. I believe the backlash will be greater from the industry, and in the end gamers will lose in the end. Publishers have already been dipping their toes in a higher price point for games now since the X360 and PS3 days with collectors editions and deluxe editions etc. I can see by next gen the price of a AAA published games from the big 3 being $89-$99 for the base game. Bunch of whiny entitled babies crying over nothing /smh

TankCrossing24d ago

Why do you think publishers don't already charge more than $60?

Come up with an answer, and then ask yourself if that will be any less true if loot boxes are banned.

nitus1023d ago

Setting a price on anything is a balancing act. Too much and you have fewer consumer purchases, too little then profits (if any) will be significantly reduced.

Like it or not loot-boxes were a form of gambling since you had to use in-game money which can be purchased with real money to place a "bet". This, in turn, resulted in a random output (ie. chance) that may or may not be beneficial to the player.

While loot-boxes for many games resulted in cosmetic items most players were tolerant of that but where it became objectionable was when loot-boxes were used for 'pay to win" or in sleaze speak "accelerated experience". 😎

BTW. Being "tolerant" means that you are willing to put up with something even though you may not like it.

rainslacker23d ago (Edited 23d ago )

Because they know that the market isn't likely to accept it at that price. While they'd make more per copy, chances are, they'd have fewer buyers. If the industry deems that the loss of customers at that price can't be made up through the increased revenue, then the prices stay where they're at to maximize sales.

If game publishers thought they could charge more for their games, they'd have already done it. They already are in some regions, and we have seen several price increases in the past couple years in countries other than the US.

In any case, just because loot boxes go away, it doesn't mean that MT in general are going to go away.

OnionThief24d ago

How about developers and publishers stop bloating their budgets, including horrendously expensive and useless things such as celebrity voice acting and superbowl ads and release a full product that isn't cut into pieces designed to milk the everliving daylight out of our wallets.

Some of us want to buy a game from a shelf for £50 and get the game. No strings attached, no cut content reserved for a season pass, or pre-order bonuses, or microtransaction DLC, or gambling mechanics.

If AAA publishers cannot release a game onto the market for £50, release several more expensive tiered versions of the game sometimes totalling twice the cost of the base game... Release a day one season pass that isn't guaranteed to cover the lifespan of the game anymore, cut content for additional microtransaction purchases and hide even more content behind preorder bonuses... And STILL not break even, then they don't deserve to be in the industry and need to re-evaluate themselves as a company.
Was all that stuff I mentioned keeping them afloat? Did they need to add loot boxes to that list, or they absolutely need to increase cost of games otherwise they'll lose money?

Need I remind you that even though inflation is a thing, the development process of making a game has become significantly easier thanks to newer development tools, new software and programming languages?
Need I remind you that cartridges were notoriously expensive to produce in bulk and CDs are significantly cheaper? Or that thanks to digital distribution the cost of distribution, logistical storage and printing has reduced to almost nothing?

The games industry enjoys all these benefits it didn't years ago, but for some reason inflation is completely the reason games can't make a profit anymore and NEED to use these predatory, parasitic business models.

plmkoh24d ago

Would rather they be upfront about the true cost of the game instead of hiding behind convenient season passes, 'director cut' DLC, preorder bonuses and 'expansion' packs.

That way I can choose to see if it is worth my money.

fenome24d ago

I'd rather pay more for games without free to play mobile game aspects like cooldown timers and crap like that. That kind of stuff doesn't belong in AAA games. The cool thing is that this won't happen because people just won't buy their games for that much, let them try it. It's not like they're the only ones making games.

From here on out maybe they'll actually have to be competitive instead of just coasting on the name and raking in profits. Their developers are a lot better than they allow them to be. I'd like to see what they're actually capable of.

datriax24d ago

Let them raise the prices. I'll have no problem with that myself. Should be hilarious to watch the fallout though.

agent453223d ago

The cost of gaming is going down especially if say game developer/publisher make their game sold only through digital distribution. Blu-ray manufacturing costs have gone down as well; unless, a new physical format is introduced. ......

nitus1023d ago

Gambling constitutes an element of chance where you as the player will be the one actually placing a "bet" either with real money or pseudo-money (equivalent to tokens in a casino) which in turn can be equated to real money.

Microtransactions are not gambling since you can see or know exactly what you are purchasing. Of course, we all know that microtransactions can be abused.

Note: Using RPG's as an example. Say you defeat a particular boss or enemy you may get one or more random items which may be what passes as money in the game and/or weapons, armor, magic, ... etc. This is not gambling, although there is some element of chance since you don't actually use in-game money or real money to place what could be construed as a "bet".

rainslacker23d ago

I'll be happy when the attempt to maximize profits is in making better games that more people want.

I know it's crazy, but maybe some of them should be giving that a go. Try it while they attempt to get away from the MT heat they're getting now.

There are a few publishers which seem able to produce a really good game, sometimes without MT....sometimes with less annoying ones....and still turn pretty good profits.

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