Belgium wants to ban in-game purchases if you don't know exactly what you're purchasing.

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by lynx, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. lynx

    lynx Active Member

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    Source article: https://nieuws.vtm.be/vtm-nieuws/binnenland/geens-wil-gokken-games-verbieden
    Repost in English: http://www.pcgamer.com/belgium-says-loot-boxes-are-gambling-wants-them-banned-in-europe/

    This could mean there will be no Terra Battle 2 in EU countries if Belgium successfully convinces Europe to ban loot-box or gacha types of in-game purchases.

    I do agree with Belgium gambling commission that mixing of money and addiction is gambling. Though, I don't want it to be banned out right. Maybe a heavy regulation would be a better choice, like, strict age restriction, games must declare that they have gambling element, regulated minimum chance of gacha rewards, or maximum IAP cap per account.

    It is interesting to see how free-to-play game market will react to this if EU choose to enforce the ban.
    Could gacha games work around the ban by selling items/characters for a price then have a random "free" item/character as a thank you for making a purchase? It's like ordering a meal at restaurant and they give you a complimentary dessert.
     
  2. Caliban

    Caliban Active Member

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    Gacha is even worse than gambling, at least with a slot machine there is a chance to win some money, but is this really a major problem facing society that regulators should be spending their time debating?

    Also: does PoH successfully skirt the issue?
     
  3. mudamuda

    mudamuda Active Member

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    They could possibly skirt the issue by modelling gacha after Japan's "pachinko" games. Gambling is illegal in Japan but pachinko is basically Japan's casinos/slots. You purchase pachinko balls to play and aim to win more balls, after which you can exchange for some toys/tokens. Then to cash out you take it to a place that will "buy" your pachinko tokens.

    But the problem is this style of gacha is addictive and it's gambling, companies shouldn't be preying on the weak-willed for profit. It should be a choice whether or not you decide to spend on microtransactions, not because you've been hooked into it despite better judgement. I'd like to see it done away with, gambling ruins lives and we don't want to get kids started on the slippery path.
     
  4. Rosgath

    Rosgath Active Member

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    This primarily came up because of Star Wars Battlefront 2, but it will definitely affect the entirety of F2P games.

    IMHO, if Belgium does ban games like this and manages to convince the EU to join in this will be a huge step forward for gaming as a whole.
    Pretty much since App stores started getting F2P games and IAP have become the norm games have gone into what I can only describe as a downward spiral. It is now terribly common for games to be released with known bugs and even released incomplete in hopes to get consumers to buy the extra content when they get around to finishing it. To be fair, I have no problem with DLC/expansions. What I have a problem with is games setting up Skinner Boxes and trying to hide behind a "they're still morally ambiguous" defense. Skinner boxes (Loot Chests/Gatcha) are designed to take advantage of people who have addictive personalities and to generate addiction in the rest. Using them is wrong. Especially when children are exposed to them. Western societies are behind the times when it comes to regulating things like this.

    I like TB1 and TB2, but I would be much happier with the games overall if they were subscription/purchase based. I don't like the Pacts in any way shape or form. Even PoH is only marginally acceptable.
     
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  5. Silver Mitsuki

    Silver Mitsuki The Italian Mod Staff Member

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    We already had news of players spending thousand of dollars/euros/pounds in microtransactions and this is a valid proof that is something that could easily cause some serious damage to people if not handled properly (or in the wrong hands) therefore is something that needs to be regulated, but as I grew up with trading card games and figurines without ever hearing of children getting in big troubles for buying them I also think that politicians are just over-reacting to a problem they don't even fully understand (am I missing something as well?).

    A complete ban isn't the right way to take, and I seriously hope to not see more Countries taking the side of Belgium.

    The possibility to block these payments for a child account already exists on mobile devices, Windows PCs and gaming consoles, so if we're talking about children the only problem here might be if the parents aren't aware of the existence of this feature.

    If we're talking about grown up users then... uhm... really, I can't see where's the problem. Unless the content of the loot boxes can be sold for real money we're just talking about in-game collectables, and yes, I'm aware there are a lot of whales out there but besides adding a warning for the users about the rates of some items (in a similar way TB2 does) and making laws to forbid the companies from taking advantage of this (for example by dropping the chance to get that last piece of equipment you need for completing a set, or by slightly increasing the prices for the users who make constant purchases), I don't know what else the government should do about the matter.
     

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