EA Defies Belgian Lootbox Law

GoodBoy

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90% of sports games today have an online PvP mode where you make your own team. You need to open card packs to get players and the best players are the hardest to get. Imagine hearthstone (or MTG you farts) but all of the common cards have 1/1 stats and all the legendary cards have 10/10 stats. Card rarity brings an objective advantage in these games. So pay money, get more packs, get more good cards, win more games. And each pack you open is one pull on the slot machine.

Here's a good video describing the so-called "Wilson Lootbox" (5:40 for a FIFA 201X pack opening):




It was once the case where you couldn't pay money to open packs in these games, and they were the means of progression, earning them through normal play. So the drop rates were fairly tuned to keep players engaged albeit using gambling-esque loops.

Once they started charging for the packs in later games, it suddenly takes longer and longer to earn your packs without paying, and you start to lose many more matches to people with top tier decks spending thousands of dollars.


Yeah, that's bullshit, especially for a game that probably costs $59 upfront. I can see why it pisses people off. Hope they learn something from this Belgian lawsuit/fine.

I know I know but one can dream. The thing about cosmetic MT is that it started all this shit. That God damn horse armor started all this.

Team Fortress 2 started all of this about 10 years ago. Particle effects on hats was first, which could only come from an opened 'loot box' (they call them crates) that you had to pay $2.49 to open, and it was about 1 in 100 chance to get one of the unique ones, and even then it was 100% random, so you might get a hat you don't really like or effect you don't really like. Then later came the "passes" that allow you to complete objectives (Contracts) that sold for $5.99. Those would run about 6 months, and is almost directly comparable to Fortnight "seasons".
 

ChadD

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Team Fortress 2 started all of this about 10 years ago. Particle effects on hats was first, which could only come from an opened 'loot box' (they call them crates) that you had to pay $2.49 to open, and it was about 1 in 100 chance to get one of the unique ones, and even then it was 100% random, so you might get a hat you don't really like or effect you don't really like. Then later came the "passes" that allow you to complete objectives (Contracts) that sold for $5.99. Those would run about 6 months, and is almost directly comparable to Fortnight "seasons".

They lifted the idea from Asia.

In many Asian countries players don't really have the money to buy games full pop. They pirate their windows... they would pirate their games. So in the early 2000s, Giant in China started making Free to Play games where they would make money off loot boxes. The story goes that within a year of setting up their model games like ZT online where making them $15+ million a month.

https://www.engadget.com/2008/11/25/chinas-zt-online-moves-away-from-rmt-still-earns-as-much-as-wo/

Game was already old in 2008... and it was making more money then Wow per user.
 

mjz_5

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How the fuck do you shoehorn loot boxes into a sports game anyway?

You have to somehow degrade the quality of the game to make the loot boxes attractive, is there some kind of grind to these games now?

The new thing in fifa if FUT (fifa ultimate team). You build your own team with money you earn by playing or buy buying loot boxes to get “random” players.
 

MrTryfe

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Additionally, companies like EA don't disclose 'pack weight', meaning you're rolling the dice for more expensive packs/lootboxes, without some guarantee that you will get back a serviceable item.

I also lay the blame on these YouTubers, especially where FIFA is concerned. Lot of lip service is given by these individuals when it comes to pointing out how broken the game is, but these same people will drop a video the same day with a clickbait title, in which they spend upwards of thousands of dollars on packs. Kicking and screaming ensues when they get nothing, but with the YouTube revenue rolling in, they can be right back at it the next day.

It's cool when you have a gambling problem that you can deal with temporarily with ad revenue. Unfortunately, those 11-12 year olds watching your video aren't so lucky.
 

HockeyJon

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So the government that sells lottery tickets is concerned that loot boxes are a form of gambling?
 

DrLobotomy

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I don't understand this at all. If someone can make something that someone else wants and is willing to pay for it, then what difference does it make what it is.

Stupid people buy stupid shat all the time. Who cares.
 

Laowai

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So the government that sells lottery tickets is concerned that loot boxes are a form of gambling?
As to why one is allowed while another isn't...I don't think there is a simple answer, or if there is, it eludes me.
Like, why is pot illegal but alcohol and tobacco aren't?
Either way, I don't think the fact that Belgium permits some lotteries means they are then required to permit all forms of gambling.
 

MavericK

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So the government that sells lottery tickets is concerned that loot boxes are a form of gambling?

Lottery tickets are regulated, same with casinos and other obvious forms of gambling. The problem is that lootboxes in video games, currently, are not, while having about 99% the same mechanics.
 

Briguyatx

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You know, I always thought the purpose of gambling was to get back some tangible, physical reward that includes a transfer of ownership if you win. EA is still the owner of the digital goods after you "win" with a lootbox.

No actual reward with monetary value changes hands, therefore not gambling. Same reason you can spam spend quarters on digital slot machines and games of chance at the bar even in places where gambling is illegal. Interested to see how this goes in court for them.
 

Uvaman2

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You know, I always thought the purpose of gambling was to get back some tangible, physical reward that includes a transfer of ownership if you win. EA is still the owner of the digital goods after you "win" with a lootbox.

No actual reward with monetary value changes hands, therefore not gambling. Same reason you can spam spend quarters on digital slot machines and games of chance at the bar even in places where gambling is illegal. Interested to see how this goes in court for them.
If you want to get down that rabbit hole... You still win a license , hence tangible, hence gambling.
 

axdx

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I don't understand this at all. If someone can make something that someone else wants and is willing to pay for it, then what difference does it make what it is.

Stupid people buy stupid shat all the time. Who cares.

Yeah, who cares about a 300 billion illicit drug trade, 30 billion human trafficking or 9 billion annual revenue illicit wildlife trade. Someone is willing to pay and therefore it's ok, right?
If you let predators roam unchecked, it's just a matter of time before they turn their gaze to you.

I doubt that 10 years ago any sane person thought it be normal to spend over 1000$ yearly on a mobile phone, yet - here we are.
 

TheOne&OnlyZeke

100% Irish
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Messages
11,060
People bitch and bitch about this.
I fucking guarantee you that you can still buy those sticker albums and packs of cards with random shit in it and have to keep buying to get your "shiny super duper card"
This stuff is everywhere
 
D

Deleted member 204526

Guest
The government shouldn't have a monopoly on gambling (or anything for that matter).
 

Master_shake_

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i miss when only pc games were online and consoles were forever disconnected.

i'm sure if that were still the case operators would be standing by waiting for your credit card number so you can buy the latest shit from some sub par game that only exists to fleece money from stupid people.
 

DrLobotomy

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Yeah, who cares about a 300 billion illicit drug trade, 30 billion human trafficking or 9 billion annual revenue illicit wildlife trade. Someone is willing to pay and therefore it's ok, right?
If you let predators roam unchecked, it's just a matter of time before they turn their gaze to you.

I doubt that 10 years ago any sane person thought it be normal to spend over 1000$ yearly on a mobile phone, yet - here we are.
if it wasn't illegal then there would be no black market.

Such a lame strawman argument.

Let them gaze at me. I have a surprise for them as I always have.
 

HockeyJon

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As to why one is allowed while another isn't...I don't think there is a simple answer, or if there is, it eludes me.
Like, why is pot illegal but alcohol and tobacco aren't?
Either way, I don't think the fact that Belgium permits some lotteries means they are then required to permit all forms of gambling.

Not saying required, but if the government is going to block loot boxes because it encourages gambling, then facilitating a lottery is nothing short of hypocritical.
 

HockeyJon

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Lottery tickets are regulated, same with casinos and other obvious forms of gambling. The problem is that lootboxes in video games, currently, are not, while having about 99% the same mechanics.

Regulated, and yet normal people lose literal fortunes at the casino and can apparently buy as many lottery tickets as they see fit. All facilitated by the state. Funny how that works.
 
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