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LONG BLOG

The SOPA Box: Funbux are betting chips.

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One of the recent claims being presented and loopholes that a number of companies have been looking at to deal to gambling laws is putting an extra step between the customer and being able to buy the lootbox directly. This is often a premium currency of some kind in game, often gold. The trick is normally in said games that often the funbux currency is designed to further exploit people by not being sold in easily spendable quantities. It's designed to make it hard to ever fully spend all of said money in one go thus trying to prey on OCD people who can see they haven't spent all their money and reset the amount to 0. The amount is also designed to make it so it's not an easy amount to work out a direct comparison, if it's a nice round number it's pretty easy say 400 funbux to $5 gives you a pretty good idea how much you're paying for a number of transactions as $1 = 80 Funbux and people tend to be ok on their 8 times table.  However if you put it as 370 funbux for $1 well not that many people tend to know their 37 times table. It's all about obfuscating the cost.

The argument that somehow because you have to buy something else to get lootboxes doesn't make it gambling is bullshit. In many gambling houses you buy chips to use in place of standard currency. Often those Chips can even be gambling house specific they have no true value outside of that gambling house. It comes to something really when the betting chips (look the word filter won't let me post this with the word like Casio in it) are easier to place a worth on than the Funbux currencies being employed to try and get people to open more lootboxes. Yes I'm saying gambling houses are possibly being far less deceptive with consumers than some AAA video game publishers.

AAA publishers are having to hang on an absolute minute technicality to claim loot boxes aren't gambling because you get something. Well as I had pointed out to me there are such things as slot machines that can pay out less than was put in but still pay out. Does that make them not gambling? Lootboxes are playing on the same psychology as gambling too. Pretty much the only small way AAA companies are trying to weasel out of it is by claiming the items don't have a monetary worth as they can't be sold for after you get them.

The fact the industry is too short sighted, too blinded by money to have the ESA or other such group step in is baffling to me. These groups are meant to exist to protect the industry from governments etc needing to step in and believe me step in governments are the now they smell the potential to get money off this and see the industry isn't already regulating this. It's not even taken 5 years for governments to start cracking down or looking into creating regulations round lootboxes.

As I've pointed out in previous C-blogs lootboxes and predatory micro transactions can and do exploit vulnerable people. Pretending "Oh it's the persons own fault" other than being a smeggy move just denies the reality that at some point in life everyone will be vulnerable unless you live the most charmed privileged life imaginable.

You know what I think I'll agree with the AAA industry Lootboxes aren't gambling, they're worse. They're worse because they try to exploit people far more than Vegas gambling houses. They're worse because unlike the gambling commission there's no oversight body to enforce standards as the ESA are washing their hands of lootboxes it would seem. They're worse because gambling has to make people aware of resources available to them such as in the UK gambling addition help site. Gambling premises in the UK have to allow people to ask to be barred from the place, that's right if some-one has a gambling habit they can specifically ask to be barred from entering betting shops and if they do the shops have their legal permission to throw them out and remove them by force and if they don't they can face having their operating licence revoked. This doesn't exist for lootboxes. You know what else? At least gambling shops etc are up front about what they are, they don't feel the need to slip stuff past the customer by pretending there's no lootboxes in the game or keeping silent and hoping people don't find out before getting the game, preying on uninformed consumers. At least with gambling you know the odds too.

Lootboxes aren't Gambling, they're much much worse.

Thank you for reading and remember THE REVOLUTION WILL BE LIVESTREAMED

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About Dwarvenhobbleone of us since 8:33 AM on 06.19.2012

A qualified Environmental Chemist who happens to live in a fairly dense city with no real environment or chemistry industry.

I review indie games on another blog and you'll see them pop up here if I think the review is a good or interesting one (along with a shameless bit of self promotion)

I also operate another blog reviewing films and I mean t pick that back up when I can.

I've been gaming since the SNES days. I've been in the pro scene before for tribes 2 but hate the present pro scenes and have no interest in going back into it.

I tend to get into quite a few Betas and love ones without NDA as it means I can write about them. I have even beta tested an xbox 360 game in my time (and no not a normal public Beta one )

In gaming I'm normally the guy looking at the shelf below the AAA titles first to see if there are any great hidden gems.

My gaming drug of choice: Timesplitters in any flavour (Why won't you make Timesplitters 4 Crytek, why ????? I need my fix of insanity )
Xbox LIVE:hobblejp
Steam ID:dwavenhobble


 

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