Last week, just as the FTC’s video games monetization abuse investigation got underway, the ESA announced that many of the major and minor games corporations and platforms, from Sony and Microsoft to Nintendo and even “pride and accomplishment/surprise mechanic” EA, were getting on board with a new self-mandated policy to disclose the odds of drops found in lockboxes – i.e., they’re finally hopping on the transparent lockbox bandwagon. Now, this isn’t government regulation with legal teeth, and the ESA stopped short of saying it would flat-out require members to adhere to the policy. But it seems like a partial win for gamers.
Which is sort of weird because people aren’t talking all that much about it even a week later. MMO players have been dealing with gamblebox monetization abuse for a long time – hey, remember lockboxes inside of other lockboxes? – so many gamers across our industry hoped that mainstream pressure spurred on over SWBF2 would help change the landscape and the discussion around it.
I tend to agree with our commenters Ark and Ashfyn, who noted last week that disclosing the odds won’t actually stop people from being dumb about lockboxes. Humans are bad at math, bad at probability, and bad at big numbers, which is why lotteries and casinos still rake in the big bucks in spite of being “transparent” (corruption notwithstanding). Addicts know the numbers and play anyway. On the other hand, without this type of transparency, it’s impossible for anyone to hold companies accountable for fraud.
As a first step, I’ll take it. But I want to see much more done to curb abusive monetization. What do you think – does the ESA’s new transparent lockbox policy go far enough?