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Germany considers bans to lootboxes to customers under 18

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^^title^^ (for under 18s)

BANNED!

for German language readers : 

https://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/netzpolitik/regierung-will-kinder-vor-kostenfallen-beim-gaming-schuetzen-a-5dd1781c-c458-4165-a571-b0dcbe72ba3a

English extract (google translate so not 100% reliable)

Quote

The new law is to be adapted to the digital age and thus no longer differentiates between, for example, whether videos and games are started on a console, mobile phone or PC. It also makes no difference whether the data is loaded from a DVD or from the Internet. In the previous version, there was talk of video cassettes, among other things.

Lawyer Julia Maris believes the reform is necessary. "The law provides for changes that are generally to be welcomed." It is "in fact that children and young people are currently not sufficiently protected on the Internet." Online companies would now be obliged to introduce standardized age ratings and provide assistance. "If you violate the guidelines, you can face immense fines," says Maris.

(...)

In addition to protection against cost traps, it provides that children and young people must be protected from harassment on online platforms. Social networks must prevent children and young people from being found, written to and harassed by strangers. So-called cybergrooming is to be combated with it . Adults often stalk minors in chats under a false identity, often with the aim of meeting them in real life and abusing them.

for English speakers : 

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2021-03-09-german-legal-reform-poses-new-threat-to-loot-boxes

https://www.pcgamer.com/german-parliament-wants-games-with-loot-boxes-rated-18/

Quote

On March 5, Germany's federal parliament, the Bundestag, passed a reform bill that could see games containing loot boxes given an 18+ age rating. German authorities have been looking into regulations regarding "kaufenreizen", a broad term for purchasing incentives that includes loot boxes and similar ways of encouraging players to spend additional money on games, since a 2018 study by the University of Hamburg stated that elements of gambling had become common in modern videogames.

WOWS is currently rated 13+, but if the German Bundestag (parliament/congress) vote is confirmed by the Bundesrat (representing German regions) and makes all games with lootboxes, 18+, then we can expect WOWS to be rated 18+ in Europe (at least), along with games that employ excessive violence, and pornography. Which seems to be reasonable to me, gambling should be adults only.
50px-USK_18.svg.png German, players can expect to see this sticker if WOWS and other lootbox games get an 18+ rating from the German parliament. This rating is currently described as :

Quote

 

Not approved for anyone under 18 in accordance with Art. 14 German Children and Young Persons Protection Act (JuSchG).

These games almost always involve violent game concepts and frequently generate a dark and threatening atmosphere. This makes them suitable for adults only. These games often contain brutal, strong bloody violence and/or glorify war and/or human rights violations.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unterhaltungssoftware_Selbstkontrolle

 

 

Germany is the single biggest national market for WOWS in Europe, the most populated EU country and its wealthiest by total GDP. There will be a domino effect, at least as far as the EU server is concerned, but possibly for the NA server too.

This latest threat to WOWS economic model comes only 2 months following condemnation for breaching advertising standards in Europe by the Cypriot advertising authority (WG HQ is in Cyprus), which have already affected the way WG implements lootcrates (no more shortlists in Premium shop lootcrates, for example, preference for "sensitive" lootcrates to be "sold" in game for doublons rather than directly for cash, revised lootcrate descriptions)


How do you feel about this? :Smile_popcorn:


Has WG gambled and lost? :Smile_trollface:


kinder-verboten-wenn-kinder-nicht-erwuns

edit : live updates as it happens!

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If it goes 18+ world wide can we get an official van dark Holm captain?

Edited by TaxDollarsAtWork

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There will be consequences to that action, and they will be felt at the ballot box.

This is insanity. Please stop celebrating it. You don't know what you're doing.

Edited by Ensign_Cthulhu
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More like an uproar from the vidja game lobby.

They are the only people who would be affected and have some power to change that.

Kids can't vote, parents probably don't care or will cheer this on.

 

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As much as I would like to see gambling and lootbox culture in gaming gone, I'm pretty certain some other loophole will be found, and then it's gonna be business as usual once again.

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The question going forward is what other forms of monetization will be introduced. Gaming companies aren’t going to let their bottom line take a hit from this, after all.

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@xXNotCute&CuddlyXx

Why a thread title that states something has happened when the reality is actually...

"Not yet & not a sure thing"?

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11 minutes ago, Nevermore135 said:

The question going forward is what other forms of monetization will be introduced. Gaming companies aren’t going to let their bottom line take a hit from this, after all.

Its why despite hating it I would like to keep lootboxes. A lottery like a lootbox is an easy to avoid idiot tax.

Changing the game economy to be even more grindy isn't. It's why I'm totally fine with it being 18+. And let's not kid ourselves, given how this game isn't distributed in a brick and mortar store minors will inevitably find a way to get the game.

This law if it passes would only work to make useless impotent politicians feel like they're doing something other than living off the state

Edited by TaxDollarsAtWork
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Phone the neighbors wake the kids the German Parliament MIGHT ban loot boxes . 
 

Edited by clammboy

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6 minutes ago, IfYouSeeKhaos said:

@xXNotCute&CuddlyXx

Why a thread title that states something has happened when the reality is actually...

"Not yet & not a sure thing"?

Schrodinger situation. It has and it hasn't happened, read the linked article to understand why.

The German Bundestag has banned lootboxes for under 18s, but the new law has not yet come into force, it is waiting for validation by the Bundesrat.

But even if the Bundesrat says nay, the Bundestag's vote carries great weight, and will set a precedent that some other EU countries will follow. The end is ny for under 18 lootboxes. Either WOWS goes adults only, or it removes lootboxes from the game.

It isn't the end of WOWS, but it will mean, inevitably, if not today, soon, either the end of family accessible WOWS, or the removal of lootcrates.

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14 minutes ago, IfYouSeeKhaos said:

@xXNotCute&CuddlyXx

Why a thread title that states something has happened when the reality is actually...

"Not yet & not a sure thing"?

We be postin  Flamu STYLE!!

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21 minutes ago, Nevermore135 said:

The question going forward is what other forms of monetization will be introduced. Gaming companies aren’t going to let their bottom line take a hit from this, after all.

I believe the "random bundles" that show the reward before you open kinda circumvent restrictions as there are no chances involved. Would it change much if let's say in Armory you get a never ending series of "Santa's Gift" bundles that just show what you are gonna get in the next drop?

I also don't know if you can simply attach lootboxes to some bundle as free gifts and get away with it.  I'm pretty sure a different way will be found however.

Edited by warheart1992
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32 minutes ago, warheart1992 said:

As much as I would like to see gambling and lootbox culture in gaming gone, I'm pretty certain some other loophole will be found, and then it's gonna be business as usual once again.

Well, I don't know anything about how things work in Germany.

Does someone have to prove that they are 18 to access restricted content, or does the user simply have to declare that they are 18+, like here?

I mean, they could do the same thing here, and it wouldn't mean a thing. We already have people younger than 13 playing the game. Heck, we have people younger than 13 playing games rated 18+ lol.

And really, how many people under 18 spend much on lootboxes or such, without their parents facilitating it?

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Just now, clammboy said:

Phone the neighbors wake the kids the German Parliament MIGHT ban loot boxes . 

The German Bundestag (parliament) has voted to ban lootboxes for under 18s. It isn't a might or a maybe, that is a fact. Like all new laws in Germany, a higher institution (Senate in the US) gets a (final?) say. But, technically speaking the title is correct, Germany bans lootboxes for under 18s.

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1 minute ago, Skpstr said:

Well, I don't know anything about how things work in Germany.

Does someone have to prove that they are 18 to access restricted content, or does the user simply have to declare that they are 18+, like here?

I mean, they could do the same thing here, and it wouldn't mean a thing. We already have people younger than 13 playing the game. Heck, we have people younger than 13 playing games rated 18+ lol.

And really, how many people under 18 spend much on lootboxes or such, without their parents facilitating it?

this is true, it would be difficult to enforce any ban, BUT it would be easy to force the publisher to label its game, "18+", which would affect marketing (for example adverstising content), distribution, and partnerships (Steam and EA for example).

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12 minutes ago, xXNotCute&CuddlyXx said:

Schrodinger situation. It has and it hasn't happened, read the linked article to understand why.

The German Bundestag has banned lootboxes for under 18s, but the new law has not yet come into force, it is waiting for validation by the Bundesrat.

But even if the Bundesrat says nay, the Bundestag's vote carries great weight, and will set a precedent that some other EU countries will follow. The end is ny for under 18 lootboxes. Either WOWS goes adults only, or it removes lootboxes from the game.

It isn't the end of WOWS, but it will mean, inevitably, if not today, soon, either the end of family accessible WOWS, or the removal of lootcrates.

So tell me, in Germany, how does one prove they are 18, in order to access a porn site for example?

That tells you how inevitable it is.

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16 minutes ago, Skpstr said:

Well, I don't know anything about how things work in Germany.

Does someone have to prove that they are 18 to access restricted content, or does the user simply have to declare that they are 18+, like here?

I mean, they could do the same thing here, and it wouldn't mean a thing. We already have people younger than 13 playing the game. Heck, we have people younger than 13 playing games rated 18+ lol.

And really, how many people under 18 spend much on lootboxes or such, without their parents facilitating it?

From my irl experience in Germany, in order to buy an 18+ rated physical copy of a game I had to produce ID or passport at the cashier. Still, this is for a physical copy.

When it comes to online purchases I imagine there's a different system in place. Maybe some payment methods like paysafe that can be easily bought by a child at a store, or steam wallet for the Steam version to name another will be unavailable for lootbox purchases, necessitating the use of credit/debit/paypal by an adult.

Edited by warheart1992

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13 minutes ago, Skpstr said:

So tell me, in Germany, how does one prove they are 18, in order to access a porn site for example?

That tells you how inevitable it is.

they don't need to prove this, what matters is that WG will no longer be able to advertise its products to under 18s. WG products have always avoided blood and gore, because they want a PG or 13 + rating, an 18+ rating would render their no blood and gore policy redundant.

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1 hour ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

There will be consequences to that action, and they will be felt at the ballot box.

This is insanity. Please stop celebrating it. You don't know what you're doing.

why don't you organise a funeral instead of a party? Invite us all to pay our respects, promise I'd behave.

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42 minutes ago, xXNotCute&CuddlyXx said:

The German Bundestag (parliament) has voted to ban lootboxes for under 18s. It isn't a might or a maybe, that is a fact. Like all new laws in Germany, a higher institution (Senate in the US) gets a (final?) say. But, technically speaking the title is correct, Germany bans lootboxes for under 18s.

I don't know how it works in Germany but for what it's worth, in your exampleo about the US, bills get to places like the House or the Senate, and die...constantly.  Until a bill actually passes a vote and becomes law, nothing is for sure.  Thousands or even millions of bills over the years have gotten to the Senate, many that were thought to be a "sure thing" and died there.

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Well an obvious attempt at a fix by WG would be to have two tiers of account.

Adult: With access to everything.

Child: Access to buy Premium Account and ships and similar fixed purchases. With no access to any form of lootbox, would probably also have to include Doubloons if the "using real money to buy in game currency to buy lootbox" loophole is closed.

Whether this would fly would be interesting.

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Ahh yes, the old "we're going to infringe upon your individual liberty in the name of protecting the children" argument, a mainstay of nanny-state authoritarians. 

Of course it doesn't occur to anyone that it's the responsibility of PARENTS to protect their children from these types of things.

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7 minutes ago, Burnsy said:

I don't know how it works in Germany but for what it's worth, in your example if about the US, bills get to places like the House or the Senate, and die...constantly.  Until a bill actually passes a vote and becomes law, nothing is for sure.  Thousands or even millions of bills over the years have gotten to the Senate, many that were thought to be a "sure thing" and died there.

it is quite possible that the Bundestag vote for the law, may be overturned at a later stage, by another body. But for now, the law has been voted, and unless voted down by the Bundesrat, will become effective in the Spring.

However direct comparisons with the US Congress/Senate, Supreme Court arrangements do not really reflect the way legislation works in Germany, or German/European politics. but even in the US, a law is a law until or unless, overturned by a higher body such as the Supreme Court.

Edited by xXNotCute&CuddlyXx
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