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Star Wars Battlefront 2: French Senator Writes Letter To Gambling Authority Over Potential Concerns

France is just the latest country to look into loot boxes and potential pay-to-win scenarios.

A French Senator has penned a letter to the online gambling authority in France regarding his thoughts on loot boxes and microtransactions in the wake of the controversy surrounding Star Wars: Battlefront II. Jerome Durain's letter to the independent agency, ARJEL, opens by praising video games and esports in particular for helping contribute to the cultural and economic growth of entertainment in France.

Despite all of the positives, Durain pointed out in his letter posted on Twitter that the video game world is constantly evolving, with one potential area of concern being the growing trend of loot boxes and microtransactions, as most recently brought to the forefront by Star Wars: Battlefront II. He mentioned that there is some amount of worry among the gaming crowd that microtransactions could have a "deleterious" effect on the industry.

Durain went on to say that he is not recommending any specific legislation regarding microtransactions and loot boxes, adding that when loot boxes contain cosmetic items only (as they do in Overwatch), these are generally well-accepted. But Durain took issue with games that can offer loot boxes as part of a "pay-to-win" scheme, mentioning Star Wars: Battlefront II by name in making his point.

He said Battlefront II's loot boxes could be seen as a form of gambling, with the suggestion being that if they are, some amount of consumer protection may be advisable. Durain pointed out that China has already taken steps in this area, as the country mandates that developers disclose loot box odds for some games, including Overwatch, while Belgium has launched its own investigation as well. Durain is now wondering if ARJEL has the capacity to take on such an initiative, which is why he wrote the letter.

Finally, Durain said he also spoke with other key parties in France about this, including the country's Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, video game consumer and developer bodies, and ESports organizations. With all of their input considered, Durain said he's confident France can make progress towards action.

Notably, Durain's message to ARJEL is dated November 16. That's the same day that EA removed microtransactions from Battlefront II. That announcement was made late in the day on November 16, so it seems likely, given that France is nine hours ahead of California time, that Durain's letter went out before the news broke.

Durain's letter was translated into English by Reddit user Artfunkel (via GameRant) and confirmed by multiple people on staff at GameSpot.

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/star-wars-battlefront-2-french-senator-writes-lett/1100-6455112/

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My gold standard for a game is; $1 per hour game play for the main campaign.

If a game I'm interested in doesn't 60+ hrs of campaign play in the base game then I won't buy it at full price.  Increasing the price of a game based on number crunching and bean counting from some asshole analyst shows a lack of understanding.  That $60 not only includes playtime invested but also 'little' things like story, graphics, replay value, and everything else gamers look for BEFORE they buy.

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Good going EA! You really ruined it for the rest of the greedy publishers. :XD:

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Belgium says loot boxes are gambling, wants them banned in Europe

The Minster of Justice says the mix of gaming and gambling is "dangerous."

Last week, Belgium's Gaming Commission announced that it had launched an investigation into whether the loot boxes available for purchase in games like Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront 2 constitute a form of gambling. Today, VTM News reported that the ruling is in, and the answer is yes. 

The Google translation is a little sloppy, as usual, but the message is clear enough. "The mixing of money and addiction is gambling," the Gaming Commission declared. Belgium's Minister of Justice Koen Geens also weighed in, saying, "Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child." 

Geens, according to the report, wants to ban in-game purchases outright (correction: if you don't know exactly what you're purchasing), and not just in Belgium: He said the process will take time, "because we have to go to Europe. We will certainly try to ban it." 

And now, things will start to get interesting. I've reached out to the Gaming Commission for more information, and will update if I receive a reply. 

http://www.pcgamer.com/belgium-says-loot-boxes-are-gambling-wants-them-banned-in-europe/

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It's legit. I thought it was a joke at first.

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The State Of Hawaii Investigating EA For "Predatory Practices"

Yesterday, Democratic State Representative from Hawaii Chris Lee held a press conference to explain that the state of Hawaii is going to be investigating legislation banning games like EA's Star Wars: Battlefront II from being played by young children, both in Hawaii and possibly pursuing it on a national scale.

Similar to Belgium also declaring today that the government has ruled that games with lootboxes will henceforth be categorized as gambling, Hawaii is pursuing investigations is whether the same idea applies in the U.S.

"This game is a Star Wars-themed online casino," Lee said from the podium. "It's a trap."

You can find the video here of Lee, speaking with other legislator Sean Quinlan, a concerned parent, and a gamer who just seems to be mad about lootboxes ruining games.

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2017/11/21/the-state-of-hawaii-investigating-ea-for-predatory-practices.aspx

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1 hour ago, ritualclarity said:

Thoughts?

Too broad a stroke and completely missed the point.  This is about business ethics and not the value proposition of the products or the delivery methods.  The current business models are wrong because they are using technology to trigger sensual and neural reflexes in human weaknesses of greed and vanity to induce addiction and exploit the vulnerable financially.  While an argument can be made that all modern consumerism is about some kind of exploitation, the key point being as civic societies we recognize certain practices are ethically wrong.  This is why bait-and-switch is illegal, subliminal messages are banned in TV broadcasts, narcotics and gambling are heavily regulated etc.  The current microtransaction profit models use techniques from all these activities.

EDIT: I want to add that "current microtransation profit models" should be "current microtransaction profit models in dispute".

Edited by nsfwmodszzz
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<<So, in essence .... EA Cockblocked themselves. >>

Like when EA destroyed SimCity2013 with unnecessary online connection or Sims4 by slicing off too much contents for future sales?  Both were examples of EA's pivot to greed shot themselves on the foot but blaming the fans for not supporting the company's effort of "progress".

The difference though was that in those cases EA miscalculated the value proposition of the products and the free market responded.  The current disputed microtransactions models are unethical techniques hiding behind a facade of technology and "fun" designed entirely to prey on human weakness.  They are not about monetization of legitimate goods or services.  In Japan the government to this day still insists that Pachinko industry is about "fun technology" and not gambling.  At least Pachinko is regulated like gambling whereas even though the Chinese government does recognize f2p and p2w economy was built on addiction the bureaucrats' inaction out of fear of being accused of "not getting technology" has allowed a predatory monopoly like Tencent to become the largest market cap company in Asia, even surpassing Apple. 

Edited by nsfwmodszzz
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The difference of making money off DLC and addiction is that all DLC are consumed only once and every new DLC has to prove its value in the free market all over again whereas addiction is about extracting as much as the addicted can bear with the same method/product.  Guess which is more profitable?  Same inputs but totally different business models.  Meth is produced the same way as any chemical drugs but its profit model has nothing to do with healthcare. 

However, most chemical or neurological addictions are not illegal or even regulated; adrenaline, sugar, fat, nicotine, caffeine just to name a few.  Jolt Cola was illegal where I lived before it went out of business but not in most places.  Pot was illegal everywhere but now legalized in many places.  The more science reveals the more we know about what we are addicted to.  Where to draw the legal line is tricky and will continue to be as science and technology advances. 

Gaming becomes gambling if the game is designed to prey on greed, which is an addiction.  However, the legal definition of gaming has nothing to do with addiction but with tying real money to chance.  It's a powerful label.  No country allows minor to gamble and gambling is outright illegal in China, Japan (on paper) and Korea, the three largest p2w microtransaction markets in the world.  In particular, China's humongous gaming market, the largest in the world is almost entirely based on addiction mechanics, though not all are chance+money addictions, i.e. gambling. 

Chew on this, within the last 15 years, addiction mechanics has gone from almost zero to be responsible for nearly 1/3 of total world wide industry revenue and its share of profits is far higher than its revenue share.  No wonder Valve and Blizzard don't care about single player games anymore and EA and Bethesda are looking to pivot.  It's like seeing Pfizer and Merck "pivoting" to crack and meth because they are more profitable, which they would have if narcotics were legal and unregulated (cough, opioids, cough).  Hell, the British Empire "pivoted" the global trading system and fought two wars to get Chinese addicted to opium because the Brits could not fight off their own tea addiction.  The same tea addiction also led to USA.

 

TL/DR: I think the best comment I have read about micro-transactions is that any non-cosmetic micro-transaction design is inherently in conflict with game balance and narrative cohesion.  This sums up perfectly that making micro-transaction "games" and making entertainments are actually two different businesses.  DLC people are in the content business while the micro-transaction people are in the addiction business.

 

 

Edited by nsfwmodszzz

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Guest

That's a chunk of dinero.

Now, lets see if Beth followers fanboys will do the same in the times to come in their next iteration of TES or Fallout. Doubt it!

Edited by Guest
dirty edits

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EA states that pay-to-win microtransactions are here to stay.

And the hardcore fan base wants Disney to revoke EA's franchise licensing.

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