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LONG BLOG

The Sopa Box: Stop enabling Whales.

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(Pixel Art Hitch Hikers Guide Whale from happy_tree_12 )

So this one is going to be unpopular but then people yelling at me or being angry isn't something new. If you do take serious umbrage with what I'm saying here kindly give the Dtoid mods a rest and send any death threats or personal abuse to my twitter or my email so I can kindly tell you quite what you can do with them assuming I'm not in a fit of laughter.

There are lots of people responsible for Lootboxes in gaming and the ultimate responsibility lays with the he Publishers pushing for them and the developers not telling the publishers they can kindly take a long walk along a short pier. However these is another group who are responsible for the growth of lootboxes in gaming. People who buy the games.

One of the big excuses bounded about or deflections by people don't give a shit or don't want to feel bad is "well the lootboxes are only optional, you don't have to buy them." This is true, you don't have to buy them but it doesn't matter if you do buy them or not if you've bought the game already. By buying the game you're populating it and enabling the constant monetisation. Because you and others like you have bought the game you're supporting it by giving other players people to keep playing against. If people are putting in time and seeing a game isn't dead they're also more likely to buy into the micro transactions and that doesn't just mean the person who buys 1-2 of the lowest tier of lootboxes, no this means the Whales too. Without a community there so called whales often have no real reason to stick round with the game and spend money.

The present model of lootboxes and micro transactions is so profitable specifically because it focuses on these so called whales. Just because you don't buy the microtransactions it doesn't matter the whales will. By merely supporting an environment where whales can be hooked in you're helping support predatory microtransactions and lootboxes. People refusing to buy the game at all and to try and cause the community to tank or only playing the modes without microtransactions is the only way to not be contributing to the problem. Even Buying pre-owned still puts you as part of the community who exists not to help enable whales.

The worst part of all this is how little people realise or care about the harm they're doing. It's not just harm to the industry by even suggesting to companies that you're fine with predatory monetisation and causing more companies to put them in because money. No it's the harm this is doing to the whales. The common misnomer is the whales are some vastly wealthy 1% people with the disposable income to do this. No they're often people who are vulnerable be it permanently due to an addictive personality disorder or temporarily due to looking for a direction in life having lost their job or looking for some-one who seems to care about them having just gone through a break up. Extra Credits did a video before on predatory monetisation with tales of the reality of some whales such as: A woman who maxed out her credit card trying to support her clan and then ended up in hospital near suicidal because she thought she was letting everyone down; A Husband whose stole from his kids college fund to feed his habit for micro transactions; A Woman who when the company gave her a free ticket to come to the convention to meet the team who build the game she couldn't attend because she couldn't afford the cost of the train to the airport having spent almost every cent she had on the game. These are the same predatory practices from free to play games being put into full price titles and the kind of victims described by extra credits will likely be the same kind.

So when you tell me "I don't care I just want to play the games cause they're fun" tell me, why should I care for your feelings? Why shouldn't I just call you out for being so self centred and not caring about people being exploited? Because it's toxic to make you feel bad?

Well CisPlatin in highly toxic, it's also used to treat cancer and that's how I see lootboxes and the increasingly predatory micro transactions. Cancer eating away at the industry infesting more and more areas of gaming and what will likely end up causing the next big industry collapse when people finally get fed up of it.

The thing is for all the shit you might think I'm giving other people here. This is also directed back at myself too. I'm part of the problem and deserve my share of the scorn and blame. Not to the extent that I don't care about games etc but because early on I was part of what enabled this. I play Overwatch which was one of the games that truly popularised lootboxes in AAA gaming as of late. I played GTA Online with its heavy grind and quite exploitative micro transaction system designed to tempt players to just pay ever increasing amounts of real money to skip the grind put in place. I didn't see them as a huge problem because they're "just optional" not realising the potential harm such a line of thinking was doing to others just by supporting that environment. An environment that is steadily pushing towards more and more predatory exploitation of vulnerable people.

- Named MMO of the year by The Grumble


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About Dwavenhobbleone 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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