How video game lockboxes use psychology to manipulate you

We here at Massively OP can’t get rid of lockboxes, but by gum, we’re not going to roll over and give up on fighting them. At the very least, we can help to educate the gaming public about the insidious nature of these gambleboxes.

In that spirit, we want to share this post on the psychology of lockboxes and gambling and how both casinos and video game studios use the same techniques to manipulate players into spending far more than they ever should. There are five tricks listed: the gambler’s falacy, the sunk costs effect, the availability heuristic, the illusion of control, and the near-miss illusion.

“Casinos long ago discovered that if they let a player make some kind of meaningless choice or tap a button to potentially ‘nudge’ a slot machine reel into a winning position, they would love it and gamble more,” author Jamie Madigan notes. “Even when the odds of winning are held constant. You could totally do this with loot boxes, too. Instead of clicking on a loot box to open it, let them choose between three boxes, all of which in reality have the same contents.”

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198 Comments on "How video game lockboxes use psychology to manipulate you"

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kjempff
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kjempff

If you were not aware of how ALL f2p systems (not just lockboxes) use psychology to manipulate you. then you are a gawd damn moron.
If you think you are unaffected because f2p pshychology doesn’t work on you (cause you are so special and clever), you are an idiot.
If you think building a game around f2p doesn’t have deep implications on how the game works from overall game design to every little detail, and the quality of your game experience, you are a fool.
Nothing more to say.

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Veldan

Lol. It’s perfectly possible to not be affected. I’m not affected myself. I never buy stuff in F2P games unless I first have reached the decision that I want to support the game because I like it. And then I make a well thought out decision and spend exactly what I want, never more. I’ve never spent a single euro / dollar because of “f2p pshychology”.

Don’t call people with more restraint than yourself an idiot, it only makes you look like one instead.

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kgptzac

The overall theme is not confined to F2P games. Ever wondered why shits label their cost at $59.99 instead of $60.00?

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Mr_Planthead

They need to limit the amount of time gamers can spend in MMO’s. Too many people have had their lives destroyed by spending so much time in games, losing their jobs/families/homes. Game companies even have psychologists working to figure out how to get people to maximize time spent playing MMO’s. If you make a law saying no more than X amount of hours playing in games I bet there’d be a lot less people buying lockboxes because they’d feel less of a need to have whatever items it is they’re after because the MMO world would be less a part of their lives. This will take care of people addicted to gambling and people addicted to MMO’s so its a win-win situation for all of us

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Jadefox

The only way to fix lockboxes is to give the items in it a fixed maximum cost.

Here is how lockboxes should work. Every box that is opened drops a token. The token is in addition to the items in the box. Every item is assigned a token value. So if the super rare cool weapon has a value of 50 tokens. After 50 loot boxes you have enough tokens to buy the item from an npc.

If you rng is kind to you. Then you will have received the item for less that the fixed cost.

If a lockbox is $5. Then the item in my example would cost $250 maximum.

With this system Dev/Publishers/Companies can be held accountable.

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JonBuck

That’s how the lockboxes in STO generally work. You get “lobi” whatever else you get from the RNG. There’s a store for exclusive lobi items, from pets, ground and space gear, even ships. What I’d like is to be able to unlock a ship I get through the RNG for all my characters on the account. TOR actually did that part right.

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camelotcrusade

Really good read – made it fun to get through a topic that basically reminds me I’m a gullible idiot. It’s a nice way to inoculate until I forget all that stuff again.

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kimowar101

A few years ago, I was one of the loudest voices on here against the f2p movement as I saw a lot of this coming…..time and time again I was shouted down, How dare I speak ill of free, how dare I suggest someone pay for their gaming.
Its true, I lost and you guys won….you now have all your precious f2p so Grats!
If you cant beat them join them! so yesterday a bunch of us on eso had a party, we each bought 30 crown crates and cheered as we opened them……I got some cool stuff:)

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Jeffery Witman

It’s not just f2p games that are doing this, though. Many of them rely heavily on lockboxes, but they’re plenty of b2p and sub games selling these things, too. They’re also some f2p games that don’t rely on robbing people blind with lockboxes.

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kimowar101

No game robs someone blind, they either chose to spend money or don’t…..

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jay

I would love to say the best way to fight the lockbox craze is to stop playing games that have them, but what would that leave us with? I struggle to think of a game without them. WoW is the only one I can think of.

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Nathan Aldana

FF14, DDO, Warframe, the vast majority of singleplayer games in existence

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

XIV doesn’t have them. A few upcoming games have spoken out against them (CU, and the superhero games). UO actually doesn’t have them (I assume DAOC is the same), but I don’t think that’ll last. It’s not much. So basically, you are right – abstinence-only is not really a workable solution here.

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Schmidt.Capela

My criteria is a bit different. I will still play games with lockboxes, as long as nothing I truly want is exclusively available from lockboxes. The moment the game puts out a lockbox whose contents could potentially tempt me into purchasing it, I will instead stop playing the game.

Caveat: I still consider lockbox items that can be traded or sold in the AH as being exclusively available through lockboxes. I will never, ever, purchase from other players any item that comes from lockboxes. Heck, I even refuse to purchase from other players with in-game gold anything that can be obtained with real money, as that would make me feel like an officially sanctioned gold farmer.

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Arktouros

I take what appears to be a novel approach. I play a game and I try to have fun. That’s it. If I’m not having fun then I stop playing and go find something else fun to do.

Part of that is a game’s business model. In ArcheAge, for example, I ran into a payment wall with that RNG upgrade system requiring cash shop gamble boxes. That wasn’t fun, it was stressful. So I quit. Conversely in POE for example there’s certainly gamble boxes and they’re atrocious as most games gamble boxes but they don’t really impact my enjoyment of the game.

I don’t see why there needs to be this giant polarizing debate over the topic or justifications for or against them or anything really. If it’s fun, play it. If it’s not, do something else. It’s video games, not some eternal moral struggle over your soul.

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Jeffery Witman

I take what appears to be a novel approach. I play a game and I try to have fun. That’s it. If I’m not having fun then I stop playing and go find something else fun to do.

That’s a fantastic way to enjoy these games. Good on ya!

But that doesn’t have anything to do with people here examining the trend of lockboxes that is having a huge impact on the lives of people who play these games. Lots of people are finding their favorite games implementing these lockboxes are making the games no longer fun. Then they try to find a new game to enjoy, but can’t because they all have similar lock boxes. Some people have problems stopping the lockboxes and succumb to addiction like any other gambler or addict might, and the companies benefiting from that auction don’t seem to care that their revenue is coming at the cost of human misery. In fact, many are doing everything in their power to make their lockboxes as appealing as possible to potential addicts.

I don’t see anyone here forcing you to read about it, but it does interest a lot of people involved in the MMO communities.

So, take your own advice and only read the things you find fun. If you read something that’s not fun, then quit and find something fun.

Simple, right?

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Arktouros

But that doesn’t have anything to do with people here examining the trend of lockboxes that is having a huge impact on the lives of people who play these games.

Sure it doesn’t because that’s not the section of my reply that dealt with lockboxes or how I deal with them.

Some people have problems stopping the lockboxes and succumb to addiction like any other gambler or addict might, and the companies benefiting from that auction don’t seem to care that their revenue is coming at the cost of human misery.

No they’re a business that recognizes that while unfortunately some people are susceptible to addiction that doesn’t mean the item in inherently addictive or bad. It’d be like expecting Sara Lee to shut down because some people are addicted to food or Jack Daniels to close because there are alcoholics.

So, take your own advice and only read the things you find fun. If you read something that’s not fun, then quit and find something fun.

I find these discussions fun as all get out because people are incapable of over stating the scenario. You read most of these comments and it’s like there’s some public epidemic rending society at it’s core. However when you ask for a few objective facts, data and numbers on the topic that we all know isn’t there the whole argument falls apart and devolves into needing to feel a sense of “social responsibility” lol…

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Cosmic Cleric

I don’t see why there needs to be this giant polarizing debate over the topic or justifications for or against them or anything really. If it’s fun, play it. If it’s not, do something else. It’s video games, not some eternal moral struggle over your soul.

I would argue there’s something more than just your own personal happiness and joy involved in this, that we have a responsibility to each other as well, and if you patronize a company that’s doing an immoral act of addicting people so they can make money, then that’s not something you should do, even if you’re enjoying yourself using the products of that company.

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Arktouros

we have a responsibility to each other as well, and if you patronize a company that’s doing an immoral act of addicting people so they can make money, then that’s not something you should do, even if you’re enjoying yourself using the products of that company.

Oh boy I don’t see that fitting anywhere into my schedule.

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Melissa McDonald

“this game IS war. You gotta learn that.” – Golden Leg (from the awesome comedy Shaolin Soccer)

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Toy Clown

Last time I played ESO, and they gave out a handful of free lockboxes, I understood then the appeal they had over the playerbase. Before, I stayed away from them because I hate wasting my money. But the way they have it figured out, where you can sell the stuff back you don’t want, build up points to get what you want, combined with the ability to obtain neat and unique stuff they don’t put in the game otherwise had me gnashing my teeth.

GW2’s cash shop effected me the same way, but in a different way. They sell quality-of-life features that should come with a game on the cash shop and make them rare by rotating them in and out.

Both of these games, while I have enjoyed the content of both and spent my fair share on them, are games I’ve stopped investing in. I will be the first to admit I’m a sucker for unique fluff and anything that takes the monotony and drudgery of a game away, but I don’t have enough disposable income to indulge in that often. It’s why I will pay (albeit grudgingly) $25 for an outfit in BDO occasionally because I know what I’m paying for and I’ve accepted that choice.

I hate lockboxes because they take that all away, and I lose respect for a company that has their cash shops tied up in psychological manipulation cash-grabs.

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Chosenxeno .

Chasing items in lockboxes is just silly. These things probably have all kinds of hidden counters(i.e. at 50 lockboxes you receive 1 of 5 rare items at 200 you receive 1 of 5 legendary). I’m gonna tell you Why BROWSER GAMES do the gacha thing better. In Browser Games they will sometimes have a counter that GUARANTEES you will get a shot at Myhthic or Legendary toons or items(Usually every 10 nets you a chance). These AAA companies haven’t smartened up enough to do that. That is actually how you protect yourself. You have to attach a guarantee to these systems to make them less like the gambling systems they are. Ever notice that Browser Games have never drawn the ire of gaming commissions and governments? This is why.

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Arktouros

That you know of?

There’s lots of things you can do with coding :)

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Chosenxeno .

I’m confused by your statement lol

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Arktouros

I mean if you wanna go get the box of Aluminum Foil while we make some hats we could come up with all sorts of hidden, yet minor enough things we could add after a person spends money to make their game experience that much more enjoyable so they keep spending money. The only trick really would be making it not overt enough anyone would really notice.

The fact is that a game company could code all sorts of subtle bonuses tied to spending money in a game. For example after spending $X you get an item drop buff rate for next Y hours. The result is that player will feel more lucky for a while and have a better time with the game. How about match making and being pit against statistically worse opponents?

Ultimately, though, probably best if we stick to things we can objectively prove that’s happening than discuss all the crazy ideas that could possibly be happening.

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Cosmic Cleric

Ultimately, though, probably best if we stick to things we can objectively prove that’s happening than discuss all the crazy ideas that could possibly be happening.

So, ignore things we suspect, until we have absolute proof?

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Arktouros

As opposed to imaginging all the worst possible scenarios that you’ll never be able to prove or disprove as ever happening? That seems like the road to misery.

But if you really want we can go get the tin foil and theorycraft out all the sinister shit game companies could be doing? I prefer my tinfoil hats in the “swan” shape. Do you go with the standard brim design or you get fancy with it too?

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Cosmic Cleric

As opposed to imaginging all the worst possible scenarios that you’ll never be able to prove or disprove as ever happening?

1) Way too extreme on your part. There’s something in the middle. Living in a world of ignorance is not healthy either.

2) You’re assuming things can never be proven later on, which is not true.

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Arktouros

Asking for objective facts and proof of something is not living in ignorance. Refusing to believe in proven facts would be ignorance.

Questioning if something exists today doesn’t preclude I would refuse to accept it tomorrow. It just means I refuse to accept as fact today something that may or may not be proven tomorrow.

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Cosmic Cleric

It’s ok to ask about a thing, before you can prove a thing.

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Arktouros

To which, again, I’ll be happy to don the Tinfoil Swan hat and speculate on all the crazy shit they could be doing but lets not pretend it’s anything other than tinfoil theory until we get some sort of corroborating proof or anecdotes from someone who can speak from a position of authority on the matter.

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Cosmic Cleric

You are assuming tinfoil hat zone. There’s enough discussion on lockboxes and gambling and addictions by others to suggest you may be incorrect about that.

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Arktouros

Actually what Chosenxeno brought up was how traditional gaming companies haven’t caught on to rewarding users more regularly to lull them into a false sense of security which is why they’ve never been investigated. I responded that at least that he knows of, as realistically for all we know games use this tactic all the time. Reality is we could speculate on this idea endlessly and come up with all sorts of possible sinister things game companies do but at the end of the day without the ability to prove anything it just comes off as tinfoil theory nonsense.

What you’re referring to has little to do with what we’re talking about and is largely a different topic entirely and is actually pretty well documented.

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Melissa McDonald

Sometimes when I try to understand a person’s motives, I play a little game. I assume the worst. What’s the worst reason they could possibly have for saying what they say and doing what they do? Then I ask myself, “How well does that reason explain what they say and what they do?”.

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thalendor

The best way to win the lockbox game? Do not play the lockbox game.

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Tandor

” At the very least, we can help to educate the gaming public about the insidious nature of these gambleboxes.”

Doesn’t educating the gaming public extend to allowing both sides of an argument to be put?

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Arktouros

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from life it’s that objectivity is rarely appreciated or desired.

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Chosenxeno .

Sensible objectivity is welcome. Just don’t don’t come around here trying to convince us that there’s health benefits to injecting heroin…

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Arktouros

Objectively speaking no one is trying to convince you that there are health benefits to lockboxes either. In fact the other side of the argument is that it’s immensely hyperbolic and wholly a misrepresentation to compare gamble boxes to heroin in the first place. There are other parts to it as well, but those aren’t allowed around here for reasons we can’t discuss (hence his original wording).

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Chosenxeno .

Those other parts are just spin. EA killed just about every argument for loot boxes when they proclaimed. “The removal of loot boxes will not affect our bottomline.” There isn’t a 2 sided debate to be had about loot boxes. That’s an indisputable fact. They provide nothing for the gamer. They do not improve the experience. There is nothing hyperbolic. LOOT BOXES ARE BAD! END OF!

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Arktouros

You don’t know what I’m referencing. Bree does. However the other parts have nothing to do with spin or any other kind of justification for lockboxes but that was your first thought and go to. Rather than go with I’m unwilling or unable to discuss what I vaguely mentioned and discuss other parts you immediately jumped to it all just being spin.

I’ll not be the person who will argue for lockboxes, but like others, I would argue that lockboxes are not an inherent undebatable evil. Instead I would argue that lockboxes are merely one form of business strategy that evoke a strong negative response out of a majority of people. I would agree that “lockboxes” are not an inherently useful debatable topic unto themselves either but rather need to be put into the comparison of something else in order to be usefully debated. Lockboxes vs Subscriptions. Lockboxes vs High Priced items in cash shops. When we just talk about “Lockboxes: Good or Bad.” that doesn’t really accomplish anything because even if we all 100% agree they’re bad it doesn’t address what the viable alternative will be (let alone if we have the right to make that kind of opinion/decision for a company).

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Cosmic Cleric

I would argue that lockboxes are not an inherent undebatable evil.

If it causes addiction, so that people spend money they cannot afford to spend, then that is an immoral act.

There’s a difference between offering a service that entertains, vs. one that harms.

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Arktouros

There’s a difference between offering a service that entertains, vs. one that harms.

The problem with this line of argument and thinking is that it’s not harmful to the vast majority of people. In fact it’s only specific individuals with specific issues that have these kinds of problems. While we can bring up the hyperbolic example of the guy who loses their house over a video game (or whatever) the fact remains this isn’t the base line experience for most people. Instead that’s a sad example of how mundane and amoral things can be made into looking good or evil because of the unfortunate conditions and afflictions of specific individuals.

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Cosmic Cleric

The problem with this line of argument and thinking is that it’s not harmful to the vast majority of people. In fact it’s only specific individuals with specific issues that have these kinds of problems.

So, what percentage of the population needs to be affected, before this becomes an issue for you?

it’s not harmful to the vast majority of people.

How do you know this? Vast, that is.

And by harmful, are you considering how this affects children today, when they are adults tomorrow?

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Arktouros

So, what percentage of the population needs to be affected, before this becomes an issue for you?

It will never be an issue to me.

How do you know this? Vast, that is.

And by harmful, are you considering how this affects children today, when they are adults tomorrow?

If you look up gambling addiction statistics it’s in the single % range. That is not a majority of people. I don’t consider how it affects children today because they aren’t my responsibility to consider. My responsibility to society is taxes, beyond that leave me alone.

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Chosenxeno .

My “viable alternative” is getting them out of gaming. You people act like lootboxes were always here or something.

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Arktouros

That’s not a viable alternative. That’s a sentimental viewpoint that’s neither pragmatic or realistic. The previous models used were flawed for a variety of reasons and that’s why they got replaced.

Simply wishing they’d go away is a nice sentiment but simply isn’t practical.

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Cosmic Cleric

That’s not a viable alternative. That’s a sentimental viewpoint that’s neither pragmatic or realistic. The previous models used were flawed for a variety of reasons and that’s why they got replaced.

Someone should tell Blizzard and Square that.

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Arktouros

Someone should tell Blizzard and Square that.

Is that the same Blizzard who’s made year over year profits but still added a cash shop to their game? Hrm or is there another Blizzard? Please go on and explain how non-greedy Activision Blizzard is…lol

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Cosmic Cleric

That’s not a viable alternative. That’s a sentimental viewpoint that’s neither pragmatic or realistic. The previous models used were flawed for a variety of reasons and that’s why they got replaced.

Someone should tell Blizzard and Square that.

Is that the same Blizzard who’s made year over year profits but still added a cash shop to their game? Hrm or is there another Blizzard? Please go on and explain how non-greedy Activision Blizzard is…lol

The same companies that have monthly subscription options, what you were referring to as a “failed” model.

Nice try trying to move the goal posts though.

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Arktouros

The same companies that have monthly subscription options, what you were referring to as a “failed” model.

Nice try trying to move the goal posts though.

Shall we really go over the numerous games that failed under that model and then reported flourishing financials after switching?

There’s no goal post moving. Pointing to WOW and trying to make any comparison is absurd. It was that entire mentality that brought us the numerous waves of failed games from 2005-2011 all of which tried the subscription model until it failed them and they had to adopt the F2P/B2P model instead just to stay open. This is well documented.

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Cosmic Cleric

You’re purposing ignoring the point that was being originally made. You said that other forms failed, P2W is the successor, I pointed out that there are companies that are doing both monthly subscription and b2p, and you counted that they have shops so that invalidates their subscription/buy-to-play models.

You can pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time, just as a monthly subscription model can have a cash shop with cosmetics. If Blizzard didn’t have the shop (for example) they would not go out of business and WoW would not be shut down. Blizzard would just earn less income, but their subscription model would hold.

Enough of the goal post moving already, sheesh.

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Arktouros

No, I’m not.

I’ve said that the previous business models were flawed. They were. I did not mention P2W. You then pointed to two companies, one of which actually did fail in their game to the point they had to shut it down and relaunch it, and the other is such a bizarre standout that no other games have come close to matching it in any category which makes it a statistical anomaly. I then brought up the more average and numerous examples of games that also failed under the flawed subscription model and later released as more successful under newer game models that included things such as lockboxes.

I think this is the core of your problem. You seem to be reading things, but not really understanding just like you seem to still not understand that lockboxes don’t cause addiction. It’s unfortunate and it’s making continuing to communicate with you difficult because you don’t seem to understand :(

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Cosmic Cleric

I think this is the core of your problem. You seem to be reading things, but not really understanding just like you seem to still not understand that lockboxes don’t cause addiction. It’s unfortunate and it’s making continuing to communicate with you difficult because you don’t seem to understand :(

Have a good evening, citizen.

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Chosenxeno .

I offered a viable and HISTORICALLY PROVEN Alternative(as I said before there was a time when lootboxes didn’t exist…exept in beat’em ups lol:) But they are somewhat going away. Bree just listed a few upcoming games that have vowed not to have lootboxes:)

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Arktouros

Historically speaking a lot of those games were failing to meet their financial goals and targets using previous methods. In fact you can see a vast majority of games have slowly adopted and transitioned their business models over the years. Even WOW has a cash shop these days despite being the flagship example of the subscription model.

Bree’s point was, in fact, so many games have lockboxes that abstaining from games without lockboxes is basically unrealistic if you want to have gaming be your hobby.

Talking about the past is great and all but it’s not an indicator of the way forward. Constantly repeating that there wasn’t always lock boxes isn’t really an argument for why they should go away now that they’re here.

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Chosenxeno .

The past is the way forward imo. Let the failures fall. I don’t think we should be arguing in any capacity for the “other side” when that other side seeks to exploit. Everyone must be punished. Again, you wanted a viable alternative. I gave you one. Don’t try to reshape the criteria to suit a new narrative, You never said it had to be realistic or unrealistic. Just viable:) That’s my view and this argument is tired now.

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Arktouros

However this is why an objective viewpoint is good and should be valued. Most of your viewpoints and formed entirely from the viewpoint of the consumer. You see predatory business models and think the businesses should fall.

Yet what if you were the owner and operator of one of these business studios? Would you be willing to tell 30 or 50 or 100 people too bad and they’re all fired? Friends and colleagues you worked for 5+ years to get your product out with as your product of passion and effort? Would you just quietly shut things down and wrap it all up and better luck next time? What if you could increase your salary and your coworkers salaries by adopting a new business model that will bring in more profit? What if you could grow your company and hire more people and start up new projects because of the extra funds you’ve made?

It’s very easy to be the heartless executioner when you don’t have to tell people you could change your business strategy and save their jobs but you’re not going to because it’s the moral thing to do. Wow if my boss told me that? Fuck him.

I said viable alternative. Your suggestion was not viable. It’s not even historically viable as historically it was shown not to be viable. It’s okay if you can’t answer and I don’t begrudge you it. It’s a tough question that game studios have been asking themselves for a long time now and no one has really been able to come up with a universally liked business strategy. But if you’re not trying to fix anything and you’re not trying to come up with a viable alternative then all you’re really doing is just complaining. And hey, that’s fine too, but equally it’s alright when people get tired of the complaining.

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Cosmic Cleric

You see predatory business models and think the businesses should fall.

That’s how Capitalism works. Or at least how we’ve all been told it’s supposed to work; vote with your wallet.

If you can’t make a product that sells, you go out of business, not that you make your product addictive, so that it sells.

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Arktouros

That’s how Capitalism works. Or at least how we’ve all been told it’s supposed to work; vote with your wallet.

If you can’t make a product that sells, you go out of business, not that you make your product addictive, so that it sells.

You can still vote with your wallet.

The difference is now in the new system my fatter, larger wallet speaks louder than when all our wallets were normalized to the same amount. Now your smaller wallet matters less.

Has nothing to do with addiction, just basic math.

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Cosmic Cleric

You can still vote with your wallet.

People who are addicted, cannot. They buy, and buy, and buy, until the shouldn’t, and then they buy some more.

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Arktouros

People who are addicted, cannot. They buy, and buy, and buy, until the shouldn’t, and then they buy some more.

An alcoholic can buy and buy and buy until they shouldn’t and then buy some more.

At some point personal accountability comes into play. Just because some people have a disorder that prevents them from drinking doesn’t mean prohibition was the right call. Just because people are incapable of controlling their spending doesn’t mean we can’t have business models like lockboxes.

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Cosmic Cleric

At some point personal accountability comes into play.

If you’re mentally ill, you can’t have personal accountability. The whole point of an addiction is that you can’t control yourself. If there’s no free will, there’s no accountability.

Just because people are incapable of controlling their spending doesn’t mean we can’t have business models like lockboxes.

It sure does, if they use addictive means to keep a person interested.

Having said that, I’m actually not advocating against lock boxes all together, just that they do NOT implement gaming/addiction based mechanisms, so that they’re safe for children and addicts to interact with. Design a lock box that isn’t addictive, that isn’t gambling, and there’s no moral dilemma.

I still think they suck from a gameplay point of view (f’ing hate RNGsus in my gaming), but then that’s a game design discussion, and not a gambling/addiction/children discussion.

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Arktouros

If you’re mentally ill to the point you’re unable to control your actions shouldn’t have the freedom to be within society or locked up in an institution that is better suited to your condition.

It sure does, if they use addictive means to keep a person interested.

Lockboxes do not cause addiction. Addiction is a mental illness that they already have that is triggered by the lockboxes. The addiction and the disorder is there if the lockbox is or is not there. Therefore to imply that lockboxes are using an addictive means to keep people interested is a fault of logic as it’s not the lockbox that is addictive but rather a trigger to the addiction that’s already there. This is why, again, the vast majority of us can buy them and not really care and very small percentage of people are selling their house to get that next hit of RNG. Also again, we don’t need prohibition because there’s alcoholics.

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Cosmic Cleric

If you’re mentally ill to the point you’re unable to control your actions shouldn’t have the freedom to be within society or locked up in an institution that is better suited to your condition.

We’d lock up allot of people who just wanted that dessert even though they’re on a diet, with that kind of thinking, let alone people with gambling addiction.

Addiction is what it is, I didn’t invent it, I didn’t define it. You want to interpret addiction differently, fine, go right on ahead, make up your own facts, that seems to be the trendy thing to do these days.

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Arktouros

We’d lock up allot of people who just wanted that dessert even though they’re on a diet, with that kind of thinking, let alone people with gambling addiction.

As opposed to your solution of eliminating all the desert for everyone because some people have a food addiction?

My argument has been and remained that the addiction is there regardless if the triggers are or aren’t. Eliminating lockboxes doesn’t solve addiction, it removes the triggers for those who are susceptible. However that solution is in vein with prohibition and other unreasonable scenarios in dealing with addiction.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Usually, the argument (from players) in favor of lockboxes boils down to, “but without lockboxes, X would have shuttered long ago, because they need lockboxes to survive in the current industry because everyone else is doing it, and I don’t care how X makes money from people as long as it’s alive and I can play it.” It’s not even a bad argument. Our former STO columnist has made this argument repeatedly in favor of her favorite game.

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Cosmic Cleric

Usually, the argument (from players) in favor of lockboxes boils down to, “but without lockboxes, X would have shuttered long ago, because they need lockboxes to survive in the current industry because everyone else is doing it, and I don’t care how X makes money from people as long as it’s alive and I can play it.” It’s not even a bad argument.

It’s a fine point of view, if your perspective is just about yourself, and not others.

I can’t image any ethical/moral way to supporting addicting consumers to a product to sell said product, that would not sell otherwise.

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kimowar101

1. A person should be held accountable for themselves.
2. Who are you to Tell another whats ethical/moral
Example: I chew tobacco and have for many years, I am addicted to it. Would I quit if it were easy? NOPE!! I enjoy it as an adult in free society and its not your place to tell me that I cant. If someday I get cancer or tooth loss, then that is on me, not the tobacco……

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Cosmic Cleric

1. A person should be held accountable for themselves.
2. Who are you to Tell another whats ethical/moral

1) Addictions don’t work that way.

2) I’m a citizen of our tribe, one with free speech, talking about how we should treat each other. Feel free to speak of an alternative as to how we should treat each other, if you disagree with mine.

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Arktouros

1) Addictions don’t work that way.

Yes, yes they do. They are terrible, terrible personal issues but ultimately they aren’t the issues for everyone. We shouldn’t make everyone wear shoes because someone has a foot fetish. We shouldn’t stop everyone from gambling because a minority has a gambling addiction problem. We shouldn’t have prohibition because people have a disorder that makes them over indulge drink.

My alternative is let other people do what they want within the laws of our society. Full stop.

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Cosmic Cleric

They are terrible, terrible personal issues but ultimately they aren’t the issues for everyone.

My alternative is let other people do what they want within the laws of our society. Full stop.

I get it, you don’t want to be responsible for anyone else, and you don’t want anyone else to tell you what to do. I get your point.

But, guess what? You live in a society with others, and we as a society write laws all the time telling each other what to do, so that the society can continue to function. Because if we really just did let everybody do WTF they want whenver the F they want, our “center would not hold”, and our society would fall apart.

And one of those decisions we made as a society was to not allow children to gamble. Another one is to not treat people with mental illnesses as things that can be discarded at the side of the road.

1. A person should be held accountable for themselves.

1) Addictions don’t work that way.

Yes, yes they do. They are terrible, terrible personal issues but ultimately they aren’t the issues for everyone.

That’s not how addiction works, its a metal health issue. For those who don’t have an ‘issue’ they don’t have an addiction. And I don’t meant that they want something, but that they cannot REFUSE something.

Can we give it a rest? At this point its painfully obvious that we have to completely different (opposite ends of the spectrum even) outlook on life, and we’re diverting WAY away from the original subject of this article we’re posting on. We are not going to convince each other at this point, so no need to drag this out any longer.

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Arktouros

But, guess what? You live in a society with others, and we as a society write laws all the time telling each other what to do, so that the society can continue to function. Because if we really just did let everybody do WTF they want whenver the F they want, our “center would not hold”, and our society would fall apart.

No, what you don’t get is I am not responsible for everyone else in society and I do not have to listen to what everyone else says in it.

I clearly stated there that so long as people are doing things within the laws of our society have at it. Under those very same laws you’re talking up nothing here is illegal. You can have the opinion it’s immoral but at the end of the day that just doesn’t count for much in modern society.

They’re personal issues in that they’re not issues that other individuals within the society are responsible for. I shouldn’t be limited in my purchases of alcohol because someone else is an alcoholic. Similarly I shouldn’t be denied cash shop mechanics such as lock boxes because someone else has an addiction. Again, at some point personal responsibility must be accounted for and if someone is incapable of having personal responsibility then that person should be taken away from the rest of society where their needs can be attended to and looked after.

As always I just enjoy the discussion usually regardless of what the discussion is about. I’ve never had the goal of convincing anyone. You can certainly stop at any time, unless you’re addicted to replying? Maybe we should outlaw discussion threads for the social good! :o

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Nathan Aldana

I’d say the counterargument is “if a game cant appeal to enough people to turn a profit without exploiting its playsers, the game probably deserves to be shut down”

Andrew Ross
Staff
Andrew Ross

So much this. There are games I’ve lost in the past, but if I worked for a company that told me I’d have to introduce a mechanic that could harm customers to keep us afloat, I’d probably have to leave.

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Chosenxeno .

I love you.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

I don’t disagree, though it hurts to say it. I’m just noting that there are some reasonable, good-faith arguments for lockboxes, at least for players of smaller MMORPG studios. Those arguments are much harder to apply to, say, ActiBlizz and EA.

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Cosmic Cleric

I’m just noting that there are some reasonable, good-faith arguments for lockboxes,

I can’t imagine addicting people to a product can be considered ‘reasonable’.

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Arktouros

I can’t imagine addicting people to a product can be considered ‘reasonable’.

That’s because you seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of addiction and who is responsible for addiction.

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Cosmic Cleric

I can’t imagine addicting people to a product can be considered ‘reasonable’.

That’s because you seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of addiction and who is responsible for addiction.

No, actually, have a psychologist in the family, so I have a competent understanding of the subject. Not that I need one to understand though.

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Arktouros

No, actually, have a psychologist in the family, so I have a competent understanding of the subject. Not that I need one to understand though.

Great. Have a talkie with them and have them explain to you that just because some people can get addicted to things doesn’t make the things inherently addictive. Not everyone who drinks is a drunk. Not everyone who gambles is a gambling addict.

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Cosmic Cleric

just because some people can get addicted to things doesn’t make the things inherently addictive. Not everyone who drinks is a drunk. Not everyone who gambles is a gambling addict.

1) If some people can get addicted to something, then its addictive, even if others don’t. And as I mentioned in another reply, addiction isn’t about if you want something, but if you can REFUSE something you want.

2) Nobody said 100% of people would be affected every time, but if enough does, then that’s a problem.

There this thing called ‘science’ that delves into this subject allot more than we can here, about how our brain perceives things, and how addiction works, and when it happens, and to whom, etc., so I’m not going to try and defend my opinions on the matter, you can go look it up, if you don’t believe me.

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Arktouros

To which, again, I’ve never said an addict can refuse what they’re addicted to nor would I downplay it as a mere want. What I have said is that lockboxes do not cause addiction, they simply trigger the addiction that is already there.

As stated previously, looking up the statistics on gambling addiction shows it into the single percentage range. This is not a majority of people.

What most studies show is that there are people who are susceptible to having their addictions be triggered by lock boxes. No one has argued that point otherwise. What has been argued is that because the few are susceptible to an addiction it doesn’t mean we should change our behavior as a result. We don’t need prohibition because there are alcoholics nor do we need a ban on lockboxes because some are addicted to them.

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Nathan Aldana

Oh agreed. especialky when EA says that disabling lockboxes wont impact BF2 making a profit, which means that theyre tacitly admitting it was never about development costs for them

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Arktouros

EA kills off studios because they failed to appeal to enough players to make enough of a profit and we call them the killers of the games industry. But hey, a company resorts to optional gamble boxes, lets pull the plug on those guys ASAP.

Amazing how compassionate we can be when it’s not our money on the line :)

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Nathan Aldana

EA kills off studiios for not making enough profit even when they were actually profitable, because nothing matters to them but sheer profit.

. Thats different than “game doesnt make a profit at all unless it explouits you”

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Arktouros

EA kills off studios for not meeting their financial goals and returns because when they give PersonA $1 they expect to get $2 and if they don’t get $2 when they could have given that $1 to PersonB and gotten $2 then those PersonA lost them the difference of what they could have made with PersonB. They failed and therefore should be gotten rid of.

You’re suggesting we kill off studios for failing to meet their financial goals and are no longer capable of being profitable without even giving them a chance to try a different business model because you judge and deem that other business model as predatory and therefore all their employees should be fired and that company should shut down without compassion.

Hard to see the difference to be honest. At the end of the day all EA cares about is it’s money and all you care about is there isn’t another predatory business model going after your money.

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Nathan Aldana

yeah, I’m definitely just as evil as EA.

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Cosmic Cleric

You’re suggesting we kill off studios for failing to meet their financial goals and are no longer capable of being profitable without even giving them a chance to try a different business model because you judge and deem that other business model as predatory and therefore all their employees should be fired and that company should shut down without compassion.

Yes, exactly. You can’t keep a job if you do so via immoral means.

They can fight 100% to stay alive and profitable, as long as they don’t harm others doing so.

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Arktouros

They can fight 100% to stay alive and profitable, as long as they don’t harm others doing so.

Which there’s means to report businesses who exploit and harm customers. Which was done. It was ruled not harmful. You can keep repeating it’s harmful and complain all the time or you can move on. Your move.

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Cosmic Cleric

Which there’s means to report businesses who exploit and harm customers. Which was done. It was ruled not harmful. You can keep repeating it’s harmful and complain all the time or you can move on. Your move.

Has nothing to do with the point of allowing companies to addict their customers to their product so that they can stay afloat.

The original quote, since you seem to keep moving the goal posts …

You’re suggesting we kill off studios for failing to meet their financial goals and are no longer capable of being profitable without even giving them a chance to try a different business model because you judge and deem that other business model as predatory and therefore all their employees should be fired and that company should shut down without compassion.

Yes, exactly. You can’t keep a job if you do so via immoral means.

They can fight 100% to stay alive and profitable, as long as they don’t harm others doing so.

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Arktouros

Has nothing to do with the point of allowing companies to addict their customers to their product so that they can stay afloat.

That’s not a point. That’s your opinion. You don’t have any data or proof to show that companies are addicting anyone. You can probably trudge up an example here or there, but that’s not wide spread addiction via mechanics. That’s unfortunate tales of people who have very troubling issues but that doesn’t prove that the companies are the cause of those issues.

Again, personal responsibility must take a role at some point. The freedoms of many should not be restricted by the troubles of the few.

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Cosmic Cleric

You don’t have any data or proof to show that companies are addicting anyone.

That’s the whole point of this topic, heck, of any article here and elsewhere about lock boxes, their addictive (or not) nature. Its what we’re all talking about these days, and arguing amongst ourselves to try and obtain a consensus, society wise.

I do know that other forms of vice, cigarettes, gambling, drinking, can be addictive, and I’ve seen how gaming companies are adding techniques into lock boxes that are used by casinos for gambling, to draw in customers. While I don’t have proof (I’m not a social/medical professional) I can have an initial opinion as to how much of an addiction I think a lock box is, based on how it mimics other forms of potentially addictive vices, and by talking to professionals, and by reading articles on the subject.

But yes, if it makes you feel better, technically, I have zero proof, just what I’ve read here, and elsewhere, and using deductive reasoning, to arrive at my opinion on the matter.

And for the record, if, at the end of the day, there’s overwhelming proof (not just one paid off scientist) that they are not addictive, then from that perspective, you’d get a “never mind” out of me, though I would still argue against lock boxes for game design reasons (I really hate RNGsus).

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Arktouros

Actually, straight from the linked article:

A lot of really exciting stuff, like how they’re teaching kids to gamble, how they’re ruining good game design, and how they prey on those suceptible to addiction

I really can’t stress that last point enough, those susceptible to addiction. Not how they are causing addiction as you repeatedly keep claiming, but how they prey on those who are susceptible. More over this isn’t a link to some scientific data study on the effects of opening lockboxes and the kinds of addictions it studies. It’s a tongue in cheek opinion piece that offers, quite honestly, a lot of bad advice on what they think companies should really do to stick to the players (IE: the linked piece is written from the position of “Satan” there to give away ideas never to be released).

This isn’t proof. This isn’t data. You expecting me to counter your point with anything else as not addressing your point when your point can’t even be proven or backed up with data is simply nonsensical.

I think there’s a big distinction between something that causes addiction and something that preys upon those susceptible to addiction. Gamble boxes will likely fall directly into the later but certainly not the former.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Speaking of misrepresentations! If somebody wants to post a pro-lockbox opinion in a lockbox-related article, you go for it. If you publish it and it’s well-reasoned, we might even report on it separately as an interesting angle. We don’t mod for unpopular opinions.

Andrew Ross
Staff
Andrew Ross

Seriously, if someone thinks they can pull this off, do it and send your blog post to us as a tip. If you’ve got good sources (peer reviewed please!) and sound logic, I’d love to give it a read. I’m not a gambler, but in terms of “addictions,” it always stands out to me as being not quite as genuine as drug addictions, but clearly more serious than game/TV/chocolate/fun-stuff addictions. I’ve only read enough for me to feel vaguely supportive of anti-gambling laws for minors.

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Nathan Aldana

((Deleted by mod. Please review the commenting code. Maybe find a different way to say this.))

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Arktouros

It’s perfectly possible to be decisive and have your own opinion yet keep an open and objective mind about something. Reality is not black and white. I can enjoy playing BDO yet still recognize the inherent flaws it has a game and with it’s business model. It is not an all or nothing proposition.

I’d take any number of pseduo intellectuals at least trying to have a conversation on a topic than some irrational fanatic who tries to silence people with their singular and narrow minded viewpoint.

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Nathan Aldana

No. The only people who believe that are the people who insist every issue has two equally valid sides of an argument. Sometimes there is only one valid argument and one complete line of bullshit and journalists arent obligated to humor bullshit , just a lot do because they feel they get more money that way

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Nathan Aldana

Case in point of what i mean. there is not two valid sides to arguments like “water should be conserved” or “evolution”, there is a correct side and a complete bullshit.

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Chosenxeno .

Wha?!!! The people selling us lockboxes are “very fine people” there plenty of people to blame “on both sides”. Hahaha

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Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

The two sides of an argument don’t have to be equally valid to merit inclusion, one may indeed be overwhelming. However, once you exclude the other side altogether and are only willing to promote one point of view then irrespective of the merits of the argument you’re not educating, you’re at best censoring and at worst brainwashing.

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Chosenxeno .

You are the type of person to tout the “calming effect” of cigarettes even though millions die from the cancers they cause lol. There are voices that simply don’t deserve to be heard! Get this nonsense out of here.

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Melissa McDonald

Yet soldiers chain-smoked in WW1 not as much to calm themselves, but to cover the stench of hundreds-to-thousands of unrecoverable rotting bodies in “no man’s land” between the trenches… so hey, it’s not always cut-and-dried.

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Nathan Aldana

..You say that like thats a benefit that outweighs the downsides of cigarettes when they could have gotten the same benefits from burning deadly nightshade plants.

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Chosenxeno .

I won’t entertain this nonsense. Please don’t fill my inbox with strawman nonsense. Smoking is bad. I never thought I’d have to get mad at you Melissa! But you’ve done it!! You’re better than this lol

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Melissa McDonald

I’m quite confident you will forgive me. Because I made you some tasty brownies. You like brownies don’t you?

See? Scrumptious!

Nathan, to your post, I would simply say, “Nothing is more suspicious than frog’s breath.”

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Nathan Aldana

if one side of an argument is “lockboxes are greedy” and the other is “companies are just giving you choices”, all you’re doing is legitimizing “companies are giving you choices” as an actual argument.

Its very pie in the sky and nice to believe that if you put out both, the good argument will win out, but thats not how human brains work. They work on tending to like arguments that back up our own biases no matter how wrong said biases are, and companies are masters at massaging PR to make biases that let us discount facts take center stage

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angrakhan

Maybe I’m unique in this, but I doubt it. I’ve played numerous games that had lockboxes and I have yet to spend one thin dime to open any of them. The games that offer the occasional free key to open them have only served to show me that most of them have nothing but worthless junk, so why would I pay additional real world money to open boxes of worthless junk.

If you tell me that the only way to progress in the game is to open the lockboxes then I simply quit playing the game. It’s pretty simple.

I’m currently playing Destiny 2 and I’m at a 333/335 gearscore, have plenty of exotic items to choose from, and I haven’t spent a single dime in the online store. I find all the angst and hate thrown at Eververse to be a little confusing, personally.

I’ve been to Vegas 3 times in my life and my lump sum total of money gambled is $6. Even then I think I came out ahead because I play the nickle slots and grab the free drinks that they give. I always order bottled beer because I know they can’t water it down. Maybe I’m just the wrong demographic for this whole loot box thing because it doesn’t really entice me or bother me either. It’s just there and I ignore it.

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Bruno Brito

If it doesn’t affect you, good for you, but i’m not into letting games having predatory monetization without at least complain about it.

My ex gf’s grandma is 100k in debt. She is adept of getting loans everytime her situation gets a bit worse, and now this has caught up to her. She’s not a person who’s apt to make monetary decisions and they’re going through a process of having her lose the rights over monetary decisions because of it.

Why am i saying this? Because these people need treatment and help, not more exploration. I’m all for decisions and options and such, but just because you have self-control, doesn’t mean other people have, and NO ONE should fail for not having standards that other people imposed into them.

Living is hard enough against the universe, should we all stand in negligence of one another too?

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Cosmic Cleric

Maybe I’m unique in this,

You do understand the fact that different people have their brains wired up differently, right?

The usual opinion I tend to read/see, by the “there’s nothing to see here folks [waves hands around]” crowd, is usually one of “if I can do self discipline, then everybody else can do it too”, which is just not factually accurate.

If lock boxes are affecting some/many as gambling, even if they don’t affect you that way, then they need to be looked at, and potentially have corrections made.

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angrakhan

You do understand your reply is a big, fat strawman argument, right? I said nothing about “if I can do self discipline, then everybody else can do it too”. You said that, I did not. I didn’t claim that I was in the majority, that there was “nothing to see here”, or that lootboxes don’t need be looked at or potentially have corrections made. Those are all your statements, not mine.

I’m under no obligation to address any of these claims, but I will just so hopefully your blood pressure will decrease a little.

I totally recognize that there are people that do not have self control when it comes to gambling or things that are gambling-like such as lootboxes. I totally recognize that the gaming industry has gone into full-on predatory mode against such folks with regard to putting lootboxes in games. I would be totally on board to see regulations passed to remove them from video games entirely.

However, do you know who I blame for this lootbox mess ultimately? Not the developers. No, I blame all you gamers who are so ardently anti-subscription and insist on the free to play model (which is anything but). That, ultimately, is what gave birth to this pariah of lootboxes as the free-to-play companies searched for a way to become profitable and they stumbled across pandora’s (loot)box. $10-$15 per month… the price of a single movie… was such a HUGE RIPOFF that any and all subscription games sans WoW and FFXIV were absolutely decimated financially until they were forced into the F2P model.

Does anyone here remember back in the day when all MMO’s were subscription based? EQ, ShadowBane, DAoC, WoW, etc? Does anyone remember what ALL of those games lacked? That’s right, no lootboxes, no cash shops. Those things are products of the F2P movement. Now they’re moving to throwing those things into buy to play games as well.

So yah, maybe I am a little flippant when it comes to lootboxes, but it’s because I don’t blame the developers so much as I blame the players who forced the developers into a corner financially and they started to get creative on ways to actually be profitable. You guys made your bed. Sleep in it. That or maybe consider that the subscription model wasn’t such a bad way to go after all.

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Cosmic Cleric

I’ll ignore the insults and false assumptions, and just say this.

Do we, as a society, allow addictions to affect some of our population?

If yes, carry on.

If no, do an actual determination as to addictiveness, just don’t say it’s not and ignore the problem to protect interests.

And be aware of the fact that some handle addictions differently than others, not all are the same, not all have the necessary will power, especially the young and ill.

I’ll leave the morality and blame targets of purposely addicting others for monetary gain, for another time.

Skoryy
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Skoryy

“I’m Jack Thompson, and I approve this message.”

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Arktouros

Yes, we do.

Simply put, smoking.

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Cosmic Cleric

Yes, we do.

Simply put, smoking.

Are you, personally, then advocating that addiction in our society is ok, and that it’s ok to addict others for your own personal monetary gain?

Shall we just, “carry on”?

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Arktouros

You asked:

Do we, as a society, allow addictions to affect some of our population?

And the answer is yes we do, smoking. Yes we allow it. And even after discovering the colossal number of negative side effects of tobacco we still allow it. In fact as a society we even profit off of it.

Me? Personally? I’d like to pretend like I have some moral fortitude but something like a 7 digit salary has a way of changing perspectives ;)

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Cosmic Cleric

Do we, as a society, allow addictions to affect some of our population?

Me? Personally? I’d like to pretend like I have some moral fortitude but something like a 7 digit salary has a way of changing perspectivs ;)

I applaud your bravery in admitting this.

I despise your putting money before people.

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Arktouros

I despise your putting money before people.

It’s cool. Your kumbaya social responsibility nonsense that you pass off as fact is equally despicable.

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Cosmic Cleric

I despise your putting money before people.

It’s cool. Your kumbaya social responsibility nonsense that you pass off as fact is equally despicable.

Despising social responsibility, wow. Ok. I’ll take idealism/caring over selfishness any day. Enjoy your life, you deserve it.

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Arktouros

Despising social responsibility, wow. Ok. I’ll take idealism/caring over selfishness any day. Enjoy your life, you deserve it.

I’m living in America, and in America you’re on your own. America’s not a country, it’s just a business.

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Cosmic Cleric

Despising social responsibility, wow. Ok. I’ll take idealism/caring over selfishness any day. Enjoy your life, you deserve it.

“I’m living in America, and in America you’re on your own. America’s not a country, it’s just a business.“

Apologies, I know you really wanted the last word, but I couldn’t help posting a YouTube rebuttal to your YouTube link.

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Cosmic Cleric

And the answer is yes we do, smoking. Yes we allow it.

The question was rhetorical.

/facepalm

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Arktouros

If your rhetorical question has a valid answer you didn’t expect it’s not very rhetorical.

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Cosmic Cleric

If your rhetorical question has a valid answer you didn’t expect it’s not very rhetorical.

Non sequitur

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Arktouros

I was able to actually show an example of how our society is perfectly fine and accepting of self destructive addictive behavior and has no problems with it what so ever.

Answer it, or don’t, but avoiding it by claiming the question was rhetorical or linking definitions is nonsensical.

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Cosmic Cleric

I was able to actually show an example of how our society is perfectly fine and accepting of self destructive addictive behavior and has no problems with it what so ever.

But that wasn’t the point I was trying to make, that was you moving the goal post, so you didn’t have to reply to my original point.

At this point, I’m not going to retype that all out, just scroll up and try reading it again, if you care. Probably better not to though, I’d imagine you’d just avoid answering my original point again if you did reread.

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Arktouros

There was no goal post moving. You asked a question. You got an answer. It was an answer you don’t seem to like but that answer addressed and answered your question factually and accurately while negating the rest of the point you were trying to make. Everything past the “carry on” is irrelevant because the answer was yes.

Maybe instead of trying asking questions that have answers you don’t want instead focus on making your your point clearly and directly and not open to question? I dunno, up to you!

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Schmidt.Capela

As a society, smoking is a net negative. Some companies make a lot of money exploiting that vice, and part of that money ends with the government; but the health problems, the reduced life expectancy, the reduced productivity, etc, bring the net result way into the negative.

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Arktouros

Yet somehow, some way, through everything we know and how bad we all know it is…we still allow it.

And here we are talking about gambling addiction in video games pretending like that has any hope of ever actually being addressed :)

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Arktouros

I like it, just one quibble.

It was actually the Devs who are at fault on this one. Now as you pointed out, games up until a point were subscription based. But post WOW era when MMOs went from talking about “thousands” of players to “millions” of players a lot of games were created purely to try to capitalize on the MMO market thinking they could all be the next WOW. That went on for about 6 years in that 2005ish to 2011ish era.

Most of those games were, simply put, just bad imitations that didn’t really try to do anything interesting. And we, as players, did what we thought was right and voted with our wallets against bad games. Now, in probably the most important take away here, developers didn’t pull themselves up by the boot straps and start putting out better games. They simply responded by adopting predatory business models that would ensure their business continued. Sometimes our actions do not have the intended consequences.

However, ultimately, it was the devs trying to charge $15 a month for hot garbage they were passing off as games that started this scenario.

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Utakata

Anecdotally, I am the same way too. o.O

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Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

Agreed.

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Melissa McDonald

I wholeheartedly agree with you.

Nathaniel Downes
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Nathaniel Downes

This of course reminded me of Mechwarrior Online’s “Supply Cache” mechanic, where you get a spinning around graphic that makes you think you might win some super cool item, when 90% of the time it’s just ho hum.

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MesaSage

Happy New….ugh. SoS.

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

Blind boxes suck. The end.

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Melissa McDonald

Ah… I remember 2007 and the early days of Second Life where people made casinos. Tons of them. Big, grand, gaudy, amazingly detailed casinos just like you’d find in Las Vegas. Slot machines that dealt in the game currency (Lindens).

But there was no gaming commission, no oversight, no controls. The machines could be rigged in ways that would be considered illegal in Vegas. I discovered one machine at a particular casino that always paid 2 Lindens on a 1 Linden bet, the first time you bet. After that it got stingy. So I would head there once a day for my 2L payout. And then not gamble anymore.

Linden Labs realized that since their game currency could be redeemed back for real money on the Xchange, they had a problem there. They went to the FBI with hat-in-hand and asked how to deal with this problem, and how to avoid being prosecuted for running an illegal gambling site. Bottom line – casinos were banned forever from Second Life. That, and something euphemistically called “ageplay” are the only forbidden things in that virtual world. The latter is an issue because you can be any sort of avatar you wish, including a child.

Edit: this was meant to demonstrate a gambling strategy they used – first bet always paid double. after that you would lose.

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rafael12104

Yup. Drug dealers know that strategy well.

Ageplay? I’ll have to look that up. So, just as an aside, can you not be any avatar you want?

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Cosmic Cleric

Yup. Drug dealers know that strategy well.

+1

Ageplay? I’ll have to look that up.

And here I thought that meant that I was playing Age of Empires.

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rafael12104

LOL!

That’s a +10

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Melissa McDonald

No it’s, unfortunately, perverts who act out adult/child sex fantasies.

You can be literally anything, or close enough. Robot, vampire, furry, big avatar, little avatar, adult, child, inanimate object, any fantasy creature you can imagine. You can be a machine, etc… There’s also a market for “star” avatars. There is a clever Jimi Hendrix avatar that comes with a scripted guitar that plays Hendrix riffs. I once saw Snoopy in the game, and it was very well designed so that no matter what angle you viewed it from, it appeared to be a flat 2D cartoon avatar.

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Chosenxeno .

“No it’s, unfortunately, perverts who act out adult/child sex fantasies”.

I AM NOT A PERVERT!!!!!!

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rafael12104

Ah, ok. Thanks for the clarification. I’ll steer clear of that and I’m glad to hear about the cool avatars.

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Bryan Correll

Without looking it up ageplay makes me think of something involving walkers, hearing aids, and early-bird specials. But I suspect that’s incorrect

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rafael12104

Lol. Quite right.

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A Dad Supreme

Ageplay.

I had an image of toddler avatars fighting elderly avatars with rocket launchers and machetes…

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rafael12104

Sort of like TERA. Lol

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FG3000

This “psychology” isnt unique for lootboxes. All this applies to any RPG with rare and extremely rare drop rates. And I hate to tell you, people enjoy it. The feeling of WOW I wonder whats in the chest ?! Is ok and normal, humans tend to have a natural wonder about them.

Now with all that being said once you tie a credit card to it does it change everything? Sure it does. But its no different than playing Poker for fun and playing Poker for a $1000 buy in. And I have no issue with both types of “Games” to exist in the market. Let adults do whatever the hell they want with their money.

This lootbox stuff is very overblown. Dont like lootboxes? Dont support games that employ them. simple.

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Chosenxeno .

FG3000 quit trying to be edgy before I unsubscribe to your YouTube lol. You are saying “Adults” like we aren’t seeing horror story where some kid spent 10k on some mobile game.

Hard to take you seriously when lock boxes are “content” for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhsxkxv78Xc

#EXPOSED

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Arktouros

I still agree with FG3000 so far but damn that’s a pretty good expose.

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FG3000

lol. I dont really like the “what about the kids” argument in anything. If we use that standard adults wouldn’t be able to do anything. I remember when I was 17 I blew 8k on the lowest quality body kit and wheels for my car. Crap fell apart within the year LOL. Kids are dumb and they blow money.

Now I’m all for added protections to keep kids for blowing all their money. But I dont want those restrictions to impact what adults do.

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Cosmic Cleric

lol. I dont really like the “what about the kids” argument in anything.

It’s not just kids, it’s also those who are mentally ill, and/or those who addict easily.

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Chosenxeno .

All adults can’t be trusted to make the best decisions. Why do you think the Helmet exists? People don’t grow out of making poor decisions.

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Nathan Aldana

((Deleted by mod. Please review the commenting code. Maybe find a different way to say this.))

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Chosenxeno .

Lockboxes are Content for Him

I will never take him seriously on the matter

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FG3000

lol uhhh I just said I dont care what adults do with their money. Im an adult, I know the money I’m spending is being wasted into the ether. I even make a point to tell my viewers you should spend money on something else.

So try again lol

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Chosenxeno .

I already told you lol. Your comments as it regards to lootboxes are null and void. You could have a personal interest in maintaining the status quo. It’s not that I don’t like you. This is a question of ethics.

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A Dad Supreme

Let adults do whatever the hell they want with their money.

You know the anti-argument is coming right?

“But..but… what about all the kids and addicted people that play games too!”

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Chosenxeno .

It’s the truth. Google search “kid spends thousands”. Don’t try to counterpoint a good argument before it happens in the hopes that you can shame someone into not making it:)

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Cosmic Cleric

Don’t try to counterpoint a good argument before it happens in the hopes that you can shame someone into not making it:)

Unfortunately, that happens way too often. It’s also a strong tactic of Internet reputation protection companies.

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Chosenxeno .

That’s because the shaming usually forces people to back down. He chose to attack the “children” argument because it is the strongest.

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FG3000

I can also google “Kid gets drunk”, “Kid wrecks car”, ” Kid shoots gun”

Kids do dumb things, there are some good counter points to loot boxes but I think “What about the kids” is by far the weakest one.

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Nathan Aldana

“kids do dumb things, so we should explouit that to make tons of money”

What a great argument.

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FG3000

its actually a pretty decent argument.

But maybe I’m wrong, what is your method of preventing kids from doing something while still also making it 100% available to adults.

Go on, I’ll wait. This should be good

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Nathan Aldana

simple.

Don’t sell loclboxes period, outlaw them and drive games that make lockboxes out of business where they belong.

Just because that “hurts” adults too isnt my damned problem, because adults should also be regulated out of doing things that harm them just because “theyre adults”

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Chosenxeno .

So your agument is kids do dumb things all the time? OMG LOL

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FG3000

same challenge for you. How do you prevent the “kids” without impacting adults?

I dont know if you have been reading my comments, I’m all for common sense protection for children. I’m not for complete removal.

What really is your objection to that?

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Chosenxeno .

Simple. Get rid of lootboxes. You do know there was a time before lootboxes? Children and adults seemed to be enjoying games just fine without them. Lootboxes are not necessary.

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FG3000

“Lootboxes are not necessary” So…the old because I dont like them nobody should have them?

Ok…example: F2P game, lets say everything is available in the shop to purchase directly for $10-30 each. What is the harm in a game selling $1 lootbox keys for people who dont mind not getting exactly what they want and are willing to take a chance for a big payoff?

Can you answer that question? Like I said in my very first post, I dont think lootboxes are perfect. But a ZERO lootbox position is rooted more so in emotion than any logic.

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Chosenxeno .

You took that part instead of the part where LOOTBOXES HAVE NOT ALWAYS EXISTED. What you are talking about is an illusion. Classic genres have been refitted to capitalize on lootbox models. EA just showed you what’s happening when they RIPPED OUT THEIR ENTIRE LOOTBOX SYSTEM! They are not necessary or asking what’s wrong.. You just fell for the illusion that they are. What’s wrong is:

We used to get free characters, cars, costumes, colors, maps, levels, mounts simply by playing.

Now all that shit’s in a box. Don’t sit there telling any bs stories about how they are necessary in certain instances. I remember the world where they didn’t exist.

And to answer your question more simply if a game is selling anything in a shop it’s not free to play. That’s a lie that needs to go away too.

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Chosenxeno .

I’m sorry but after finding your LOCK BOX OPENING VIDEOS anything you say on this subject is now considered HELLA SUSPECT LOL

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Cosmic Cleric

You know the anti-argument is coming right?

“But..but… what about all the kids and addicted people that play games too!”

Welcome to the tribe, citizen, where no man is an island, and we all co-operate with each other.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

“This lootbox stuff is very overblown. Dont like lootboxes? Dont support games that employ them. simple.”

Done.

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Nathan Aldana

You know, you should work on fixing the opiod crisis with that skillset

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Cosmic Cleric

“This lootbox stuff is very overblown. Dont like lootboxes? Dont support games that employ them. simple.”

Done.

Addiction is never a “done” deal.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

That’s why I have Diet Dr. Pepper.

deekay_plus
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Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

the odds in poker are well known and documented tho.

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A Dad Supreme

the odds in poker are well known and documented tho.

Totally understood, but I doubt most people who’s that involved in buying gamble boxes would read odds on lockboxes and say:

“Wait. I have only a 1:100,000 chance to win a Sparkle weapon?! I’m done with these boxes!”

If that were true, gambling would have collapsed on itself eons ago, instead it thrives.

Even the most rational people will throw $1 at a 500 million dollar jackpot once in awhile, but probably won’t tell you.

That said, they should put odds on them.

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rafael12104

Yup. And knowing the odds is like looking behind the curtain. It might not stop everyone from playing, but for most it is enough to make you think about what you are doing.

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Arktouros

If I knew I had like a 1:500 chance to get a particular item it’d prevent a lot of my past lockbox purchases for sure.

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FG3000

Depends what else is in the lootboxes :) mauahuaha

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Yep. Informed consent goes a long way. Sure, some dummies will keep on buying lottery tickets even when they’re told the odds because humans are bad at big numbers and didn’t pay attention in high school prob & stat, fine fine. But at least the element of deception/fraud about what you’re buying is off the table and it’s all on you.

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Arktouros

I don’t think it’s bad at math per se but rather that thrill of seeing if you can get away with something when you know the odds are stacked against you.

You know what I’m talking about *winky face* ;)

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Sadly, it’s just bad at math, specifically big numbers.

Nathaniel Downes
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Nathaniel Downes

Big number math applies in almost any situation. I write political science papers and research, and I run into this constantly, where numbers are thrown about without any thought as to their validity. For example, the famous $100 hammer people grasp instinctively, but the $2 billion dollar airplane their eyes just glaze over. And people leverage this to their own agendas constantly. It is rather sad to witness otherwise rational people defend the indefensible because they simply cannot process the numbers involved.

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Arktouros

But, as the article indicates you can clearly make value judgements when it’s clear and obvious. If a crate says you have a 1:500 crates chance of getting an item people can go “Oh wow I’d have to open 500 crates to get that item” (even though that’s not really how it works math wise). As they comment it’s a large enough proportionally different number that we can clearly see a 1:500 chance of getting Super Fun Awesome Dinosaur mount is vastly lower than the 1:5 chance of getting Useless Consumable Trash Item.

The point that article is trying to make is that when numbers are large enough we get confused in the real cost of how much something means because proportionally they’re similar. This doesn’t really apply to Gambling or games of chance because often cases the odds are staggeringly against people.

No one is gambling because they’re confused and think the odds are in their favor.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

That was just the first one that came up on my search. This one is a bit more on point.

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Arktouros

That one just backs up my point even more that it’s not that people are bad at math, because here they were given a course on statistics and how to see past gambling fallacies educating them, but it had no impact on gambling. If anything this paper shows even if I did know it was a 1:500 chance of getting my item I still would do it anyways! :D

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Kickstarter Donor
Tandor

Well if you’re told the odds with lottery tickets (as you are in the UK at least) then there’s no deception or fraud at all. People buy them for the fun of scratching off the card or watching the draw being made on TV etc knowing that there’s no realistic chance of winning a worthwhile prize whilst knowing that someone has to win it and that there are lesser prizes they have a better chance of winning. The fun factor is the bit that critics of all these sorts of things fail to acknowledge when assessing their worth purely in statistical terms.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

“Well if you’re told the odds with lottery tickets (as you are in the UK at least) then there’s no deception or fraud at all.”

That’s what I was saying.

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FG3000

Totally right Tandor, point made way better than I.

deekay_plus
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Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

i tend the odds are alot worse for spcific desirable items.

a few times it’s been quite different than that tho. d2’s eververse is pretty decent odds for desirable items. wildstar gives away the farm in their lockbox thing. or at least did early on.

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Zen Dadaist

Psychological manipulation with lockboxes is pretty effective. Put them in a game and they become a very efficient me-repellant!

deekay_plus
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Patreon Donor
deekay_plus

to be frank it’s the same basic concept that the entire mmo genre is predicated on since the days of eq1.

i remember eq1 players i knew before i got into the genre talking about it like hardcore drug addicts are portrayed in movies, along side wearily calling it the skinner box that you need to just log in and get one more level, one more gear upgrade.

and the evolution of mmo design from early eq1 has largely been about reinforcing and purifying that hit of endorphins while stopping players from spending cash on those endorphin hits from 3rd parties (and for many years now monetizing and monopolizing that regime while still unironically keeping the old moralistic posturing of olde against it).

so lockboxes are really just a natural step in that evolution, and among the many contributions to wider game design and monetization that mmo’s have had contrary to the big fat lie of the virtual world.

for alot of gamers, the lockbox is hand in hand with that bis drop that never drops from the boss you’ve had on farm for six months. a dragon one chases just like any heroin addict or gambling man looking for that big score.

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ozzie

You’re not wrong, although I would like you to be. The Reward system in games went something like Pay (to get the game), Gameplay (actually playing and accomplishing things), to Reward (some new pixels).

F2P and lockboxes changed that loop to many different permutations of Pay, Gameplay, Reward. They can fork and loop back on themselves in many directions. It’s like playing Monopoly where the publisher can pass Go several times in a few turns. Lockboxes even take the Gameplay element out, or maybe put it at the end where I suppose you use whatever Reward to you received.

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