US Federal Trade Commission outlines the agenda for a lootbox-related workshop on August 7

    
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Conversations, studies, and outright rancor over video game lockbox practices have caught the notice of several world governments as readers of MOP already know, reaching all the way to the US Senate Committee, which ordered the Federal Trade Commission to investigate. As part of those efforts, and in an attempt to perhaps provide context and information about the practice, the FTC will be holding a workshop on Wednesday, August 7th, to discuss the variety of effects of lootbox monetization.

The workshop is broken up into three different panels. The first panel will feature a number of games industry representatives from the International Game Developers Association, the Entertainment Software Association, and the National Consumers League among others, all of whom will discuss the role of lootboxes in the games industry. The second panel will explore the potential social, psychological, and economic motivations behind lootbox spending, and the third panel seeks to discuss current initiatives in place for lockbox transparency and explore other methods to apply consumer protection.

This is the first workshop the FTC is holding since announcing plans to do so in February, though one certainly can (and very likely will) argue the amount of good it will do. For those who happen to be in the Washington, D.C., area, the workshop will be free and open to the public at Constitution Center starting at 10:00 a.m. EDT. For those interested in watching this whole thing unfold, there will also be a live broadcast at the FTC website.

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David Goodman

So they were asked to investigate, and the first stage of the plan is to ask the game industry itself what they think?

What part of their plans actually involves investigation or studies?

I know this is only the start of things, but i’d rather the start of things NOT start with them touching base with the industry that didn’t regulate itself in the first place.

Reader
Coolit

Its going to be interesting to see what surprises they will come up with this time to try and deflect scrutiny away from lootboxes and change the discussion.

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Arktouros

I look forward to hearing what fresh new analogies and terms game corporations will use to show how fine and dandy loot boxes are and then how concerned and troubled the politicians are over some of the loot box practices but because they’re legally not gambling I guess everything is just fine to continue as is.

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McGuffn

Lock boxes are like an adjustable rate mortgage!
When you get labwork done sometimes the doctors find out what’s wrong with you and sometimes they don’t! That’s just like lockboxes! You don’t want to ban labwork do you?
Or when your 23andme results come back and you find out you’re the direct descendant of no less than 5 infamous despots or tyrants and your uncle is a serial killer.
Lockboxes are like WD-40 or silly putty! You may be trying to get something else but you’ll always get something!
Or when you stand in front of the target and the blindfolded magician throws knives at you! That’s a surprise mechanic if I’ve ever seen one.

The end state of this will be taxing lockbox revenue and using it to pay for education funding or something like people do for the lottery.

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Arktouros

My money is on baseball card packs and stating that the items inside are collectables because players want to collect the set. That’s how the legal case against basecall cards/mtg got thrown out of court.

I also agree that if any legislation/rules do happen it’ll end up being enforced somehow and in order to pay for it they’ll levy a tax on games to pay for budget for those enforcing the rules. Same shitty practices, we’re just going to have to pay more for them.

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Kickstarter Donor
Darthbawl

I can pretty much guess how that first panel will go… Likely much chanting of how lootboxes are not gambling, yadda yadda… 🤬

Reader
cursedseishi

I can do you one better!

We think the way we have implemented those kinds of mechanics—and FIFA, of course, is our big one, our FIFA Ultimate Team and our packs—is quite ethical and quite fun; it is enjoyable to people.

Courtesy of EA and their mealy-mouth suits in a recent stint. And I’m willing to bet these corporate-aligned screwheads will do just about the same. Both the ESA and IGDA are little more than mouthpieces for the industry as a whole, the whole difference being one is ‘AAA’ and the other ‘Indie’. while the NCL is a general-purpose group without any sort of specialization or immediate presence in gaming.

Also expect to likely here it referred to as ‘Surprise Mechanics’. Loot boxes and microtransactions are dirty words now, so they prefer that and ‘Recurrent User Spending’ as their buzz words. Really perks up the ole’ penny-whiskers if you know what I mean.

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Kickstarter Donor
Darthbawl

Tep, the surprise mechanics bit was one of the most ridiculous comments to come out of their mouths.

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McGuffn

The brave new dystopia of 2021: You open your lockbox and have to compete in a need/greed roll against AI opponents to see if you get to keep what you paid for.

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McGuffn

“Thank you for being here today. Now, as I understand it, you make com-pu-tor games? What are those exactly?”

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Hikari Kenzaki

Pretty much this… I mean, we saw how the Facebook hearings went… and I’m sure most Senators know even less about video games than Facebook.