You might think, given the public outcry against digital video game lockboxes over the last year and the slow-moving but serious oversight crackdown currently ongoing by multiple governments across the world, that companies would be damn subtle about obvious gambleboxes. Lie low, right, and hope to avoid notice? But of course, anyone who’s seen the gachapon garbage at the endcaps on the toy aisles at Target knows better. Companies peddling gambleboxes digital or otherwise are all in while the getting’s good.
Both Motherboard and PC Gamer have pieces out this week covering a Polish company called Mystery Brand and the (content warning for pure idiocy, don’t click this link) dopey rich-kid YouTube influencers they’re sponsoring to promote the sale of what are essentially real-life lockboxes. Mystery Brand is vending digital color-coded lockboxes that allegedly contain valuable real-life items it promises to ship to you. The nicest thing we can say here is that they are “transparent” lockboxes in that you are told (and can configure, at your expense) the odds of receiving the items promised, though whether that’s also a deception is unknown. If you get junk, and you probably will, you can “sell” it back to the company before it ever ships to you, though for a fraction of its actual value.
This is the point in the article where I noticed that you can even digitally “cut” the tape off the box, as seen in the header pic here, and I now have keyboard marks on my cheeks from slamming my head repeatedly into my keyboard.
As Motherboard notes, some of the rewards aren’t just a rip-off or violation of gambling laws given the “significantly different values” of the prizes; they appear to be impossible and therefore intentionally scammy, including prizes such as an LA mansion Mystery Brand didn’t even own and a number of items it’s grossly overvaluing (and probably doesn’t have on hand), like computer equipment and a $2.5M lambo. So it’s only a matter of time before the US government cracks down on this company, given that it’s clearly failing to comply with gambling and sweepstakes laws here. For crying out loud, websites like ours can’t even include people who live in Quebec.
And I’m sure our savvy readers aren’t going to fall for a scam like this, but hey maybe also stop supporting and watching the YouTube megastars who blatantly help gross companies take advantage of dumb people and young people who have no idea that their YouTube icons are lying to them for cash.
Happy first “this is why we can’t have nice things” post of 2019.
EVE Online players may recognise this as the Somer Blink gambling model. The option to cash in prizes for credit vastly reduced the volume they had to actually ship, most of the time the items didn't even need to exist because gambling addicts would pick credit. pic.twitter.com/jW7l8NkDJX
— Brendan Drain (@nyphur) January 4, 2019
Starting off Saturday with a big update on the Jake Paul/RiceGum Mystery Brand situation. Tim Perk, a rep from the company, sent a lengthy email to me this morning addressing numerous complaints. Going to thread them here. Here's the original story. https://t.co/XLnHnIq1Rb
— julia 🤔 alexander (@loudmouthjulia) January 5, 2019