Netmarble’s appeal over deceptive lockbox practices has been dismissed

    
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Whooops.

Even South Korea is getting mighty tired of lockboxes… or at least, tired of scuzzy business practices associated with them. Netmarble had been fined back in March for deceptive lockbox practices, but the company had lodged an appeal in July asking for the fine to be waived. That appeal has been thrown out by the Seoul High Court, meaning that the developer is going to need to pay its fines and deal with the fact that you can’t just lie to customers forever.

The specific game under discussion is a baseball game called Magu Magu, which claimed that drop rates for specific high-quality equipment had been raised 10 times when the actual percentages were half that at most. An investigation by the South Korean Fair Trade Commission determined that this was deliberately false in order to engage and attract customers, hence the fine for the company. It likely won’t stop the use of lockboxes, of course, but it’s yet another in the line of dings taken by the less ethical uses of same.

Source: MMO Culture

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Robert Mann

Slowly, so slowly, we inch toward the actual point. “No more treating customers like currency pinatas, where you swing with various shady tactics and hope for a windfall.”

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Arktouros

The biggest struggle the gaming community (of all game types) has gone through is the shift of our market going from a relatively flat business model (X dollars for box, Y dollars subscriptions, etc) towards a premium based business model (you can pay Z extra dollars to get these extra benefits).

However premium based business models are absolutely nothing new nor will they go away. The concept of the “Up Sell” is hardly new.

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Robert Mann

And yet it keeps slowly dying out of more and more businesses as they realize that they just upset customers who end up making a competitor that does business more fairly, which destroys them.

The biggest industry that is not directly true for is automotive sales, and that is solely due to the trade-in. Trade-in value is an oddity in the world of business. Many people trade in cars they owe money on, and this made the attempts at a “one-price” car shopping situation fail (because when your price is $28,000 and you owe $7,000 on your trade it, the financing is going to be $35,000… not the $28,000 that the person expects). So the car sales industry actually found that it was LESS harmful to perceptions to continue that practice.

However, that only remains true so long as you have something being traded in. Any other situation, the businesses that hold onto these tactics start suffering outrage until they change to a better model or die out. Gaming has thrived on the naivety of those willing to pay so far… but there’s a lot of bad will about it, and that outrage continues to grow.

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Arktouros

Company outright lied to it’s customers and got fined for it.

This will have no impact on the lootbox controversy nor is it even really a ding other than it was simply the product being sold. You’d see the same kind of thing in any other business where it was lying to it’s customers selling any kind of other product.

People just so thirsty for any kind of progress on this issue that has mostly been just surveys (not real studies) and legislators who talk big game for social points but actually don’t stick with it. Regulation without any kind of forethought or forward thinking to what kind of impact that regulation will have on their game products.

Serrenity
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Serrenity

And the reassurance that companies utilizing lootboxes aren’t lying to us is … pppprettyy much zero because they won’t tell us the chances to begin with–likely because there’s some shady-ass tech behind changing the drop rates per-person to manipulate people out of their money.

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Arktouros

There’s a big difference between outright lying and simply not saying.

Here’s the thing about people. They freak out. A lot. You can have perfectly normal happy, content people that if you tell them how something works they will rip their hair out and light everything on fire. You be open and honest with your customers about a technical issue you’re facing and suddenly everyone becomes an IT director who could fix all your problems in 5 minutes and the fact that you can’t means you’re fucking awful human being. Most companies just don’t say shit anymore cause holy fuck we will NEVER let them forget it.

I mean look at your own assumptions on the matter. It’s not that they don’t tell us simply because seeing a 0.01% chance at getting something would dissuade people from buying it’s because the evil corporation is dynamically adjusting the drop rates on the fly because their artificial intelligence backed machine learning has decoded we’ll spend more if they do!!!

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kgptzac

Not sure if you’re serious but this is some next-level pathetic of an apologism for devs not publicly disclosing rates from loot drops to gacha and lootboxes.

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Arktouros

I’m not apologizing for any developer. In fact I’m doing the opposite and saying that from a purely profit based perspective with little to no regard for your customers giving them the odds makes little to no sense unless you actually have to. There’s zero advantage in doing so, only negatives. Any good will you will gain will be completely negated by the negative backlash when people see the odds of getting the items they want. Why? Again: People freak the fuck out.

Also studies, such as the one previously linked by Bree, have shown even when people are directly educated at gambling odds and how the system is rigged against them it doesn’t have impact on their decision to gamble and they still do anyways.

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Axetwin .

Maybe not for lootboxes specifically, but this is one of the first times a development company has gotten legal trouble for lying to consumers. Every other time in the past, the case has always been dismissed.

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rafael12104

So, yeah, it happened in South Korea. A culture for whom gaming is a big part of the social consciousness. And it doesn’t mean anything here because… yadda, yadda, yadda!

Heh. You know what? It does matter and it does have an impact. This little story will be picked up by those who are looking investigating to loot boxes and soon, I dare say, we will see a crack.

So, kudos to S. Korea, their high court, and their trade commission. I’ve always thought giant gaming conglomerates had their way there, and it seems that is not the case. I’m still jaded, but it is a lighter shade of jade today.

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Darthbawl

:P

grumpy-cat-good.jpg
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Tamanous

HA!
That’s all have for now.

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J

Good.