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yacskn

The Saga Continues

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Some of you may remember the meme-worthy testimony given by representatives of EA and Epic Games to a UK Committee of MPs inquiring about loot boxes and in-game spending a few months ago.

"Surprise mechanics" ring a bell?

So that committee published their recommendations today:

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-49661870

If you don't want to read the whole thing, the gist of it is that the MPs recommended in-game spending be regulated by gambling laws and loot-boxes banned for children entirely. (They also asked that the developers use the mountains of data they collect to create effective age-limitation tools, rather than hide behind the current honesty system.)

What's more;

"... the MPs found the industry was reluctant to accept responsibility for intervening when a player was over-spending or even to put a figure on how much was too much.

And some had been 'wilfully obtuse' in answering questions about game-play, which MPs needed to know in order to better understand how players engaged with games.

Without naming names, they said they had sometimes found it difficult to get full and clear answers from the gaming industry representatives who had appeared before them, in particular when it came to answering questions about what data they collected, how it was used and the psychology underpinning how games were designed."

'Buying a loot box is playing a game of chance and it is high time the gambling laws caught up. We challenge the government to explain why loot boxes should be exempt from the Gambling Act.'"

As you may know, Belgium already found these mechanics to be in violation of their gambling laws, China has restricted the number of loot-boxes that can be opened each day, Sweden is currently investigating them and a number of lawmakers in the US are calling for their ban.

I, for one, cannot wait till the day they get rid of this whole thing altogether.

Of course, the entire Wargaming portfolio is built upon these (loot-boxes and mind-tricks) foundations, so this development and the ever-increasing scrutiny the industry faces on these mechanics/tactics affects them directly.

I'm curious to see where things will go from here.

Edited by yacskn
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So is WoWs unplayable in Belgium? Or how does that work, exactly?

Gaming companies are desperate for "growth" - just like every other industry. If one corridor of monetization is closed, they'll just carve out another path.

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7 minutes ago, Battleship_Elisabeth said:

So is WoWs unplayable in Belgium? Or how does that work, exactly?

Crates are unavailable in Belgium.

On a related note, WG has published ways to change your location if your location was "incorrect" for some reason.

Quote

Gaming companies are desperate for "growth" - just like every other industry.

No industry is "desperate" for growth. It's a product of the shareholder culture.

The CEO's of some of the largest companies in the world released an open letter recently about how that needed to change.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/19/business/business-roundtable-ceos-corporations.html

There's a growing worry amongst the elite that the increasing inequality of wealth is going to cause some real issues for them and their businesses in the future.

One of the first "elites" to talk about it was Nick Hanauer, who got a lot of flak from his fellow elites when he first talked about it, who now are all coming around to this view.

But that's a discussion for another day, another thread.

Edited by yacskn

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What worries me is that even after a ban on lootboxes and these types of ingame gambling get regulated, companies will still try to find a window in the laws/regulations to circumvent any limitations.

This part of the gaming industry is too lucrative to be abandoned without a fight, and I expect the largest publishers to already be looking into this and mostly delaying until they figure it out.

39 minutes ago, _RC1138 said:

Tough for Parliament to do jack-crapwhile illegally prorogued... and likewise if the leavers get their way, we will be VERY unlikely to get reciprocal laws to EU nations, which if Belgium, of all states, has made Lootboxes essentially illegal (or at least regulated) it is only a matter of time until the rest of the EU follows suit. Either way, I would not expect much out of Parliament on such an issue for months, if not years. The americans are the least likely to actually do anything about them as they've been convinced (by big businesses no less) that regulations from hurting customers/workers (i.e., the vast majority of you) = bad.

Whichever British government exists in a post-Brexit environment will have much more important things on their plate to deal with, more so if Operation Yellowhammer  has to go into effect. Would have been good however at least if a deal happens for certain things like gaming policies to be aligned with the EU.

Sadly if the situation continues in the U.K I expect more of an alignment with U.S.A on quite a few matters...

Edited by warheart1992

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58 minutes ago, yacskn said:

Without naming names, they said they had sometimes found it difficult to get full and clear answers from the gaming industry representatives who had appeared before them, in particular when it came to answering questions about what data they collected, how it was used and the psychology underpinning how games were designed."

I'm glad to see that the right questions are being asked, and I'm not surprised these questions aren't being answered....

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52 minutes ago, warheart1992 said:

Whichever British government exists in a post-Brexit environment will have much more important things on their plate to deal with, more so if Operation Yellowhammer  has to go into effect. Would have been good however at least if a deal happens for certain things like gaming policies to be aligned with the EU.

I would say likely not; as the hatred of the EU by the leavers is so strong that they almost impulsively try to do the opposite of whatever the EU suggests. That said, the gaming industry has a LOT less pull in the UK, as we do not have many developers and, to the best of my knowledge, none of the big AAA's have HQ's here either, so as such the resistance to regulating the gaming industry has a much lower bar than in say, the US or France where major publishers have vested interests in keeping their lootboxes.

As far as Yellowhammer goes, I was pleased to see my MP (West Dorset) flipped sides; myself and other County members hammered him to make it clear we were NOT going to tolerate this ridiculous situation.

52 minutes ago, warheart1992 said:

 

Sadly if the situation continues in the U.K I expect more of an alignment with U.S.A on quite a few matters...

I doubt that for the most part as while yes, the Conservative Party is increasingly turning into the Brexit Party, many of the hard line brexiters are also HARD line old school Conservatives that want *no* american business ventures in the UK at all, so at a minimum they will stop BoJo from selling the NHS to the americans.

My bigger fear is of Scotland; they have NO reason to seek independence again with any form of brexit in place, and while I was vehemently against it the first time, I do not have a valid argument against it now. Not only could they, they SHOULD leave, as it is totally wrong to force Glasgow, one of the biggest markets in all of Europe, to be essentially closed off from the rest of the world. I am embarrassed to be English sometimes when I see what we are doing to the Scots (And I don't generally align with SNP but I get their side this time 100%). That said it will make my life infinitely more difficult as we have a few yards there so what that does to shipbuilding is beyond me. What a [edited]mess.

Edited by _RC1138

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18 minutes ago, _RC1138 said:

My bigger fear is of Scotland; they have NO reason to seek independence again with any form of brexit in place, and while I was vehemently against it the first time, I do not have a valid argument against it now. Not only could they, they SHOULD leave, as it is totally wrong to force Glasgow, one of the biggest markets in all of Europe, to be essentially closed off from the rest of the world. I am embarrassed to be English sometimes when I see what we are doing to the Scots (And I don't generally align with SNP but I get their side this time 100%). That said it will make my life infinitely more difficult as we have a few yards there so what that does to shipbuilding is beyond me. What a [edited]mess.

Won't go too much off subject, but lots of articles exist on how United Kingdom may end up being left just with Wales.  I think it's a little extreme, but Scotland has a pretty strong case. Yesterday iirc proroguing was declared unlawful by the Scottish parliament; I guess this will go on for a while.

Still, feels weird witnessing it as an outsider,. can't imagine how it must be for an actual UK citizen.

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25 minutes ago, warheart1992 said:

Still, feels weird witnessing it as an outsider,. can't imagine how it must be for an actual UK citizen.

It sucks. I imagine similar to a sane american watching their own system tear itself apart around a habitually lying, identitarian, unkempt moron, serving his own means and cronnies rather than the people he is ostensibly there to represent. That said BoJo is worse because he's actually playing the system, rather than haphazardly bashing through it like a bull in a China shop.

But this was called and seen coming from the moment they announced the referendum; it was inherently a stupid idea doomed to literally split the Union in half; at BEST it should have required a 2/3's majority, at worse, the leavers should have been forced to make their case to Parliament. The average subject does not, and should not, have the appreciation of the nuances of international trade, law, military alliances, customs, ect, including say, Video game regulations like lootboxes, and should not have ever been asked a simple, "Aye or Nay" vote. There's a reason we do not dissolve Parliament with a simple majority vote (takes 2/3's), and leaving the EU should have been accorded the same level of seriousness.

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I have a great idea.  WG stop selling loot boxes and just make everything for sale at a reasonable price.  You want something?  Buy it!

You don't want to pay for it?  Don't buy it!

Every type of flag, commander, ship or upgrade should be available for purchase in the shop.  This includes 'discontinued' ships.  If you can face them in the game, they should be for sale.

My 2 cents. 

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