Loot boxes discussion - Loot boxes are a good thing, now open up that wallet

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UE 558

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This is actually a really good question.

I expect that the pricing increase would be from the console makers' side, so in this case it would be Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. I honestly don't know about the how of it tho.

Plus, lootboxes have pretty much gotten devs a nicer long tail in place, which is why I expect publishers to fight tooth and nail against their legislation.

Prepackaged DLC is probably safe.
I could potentially see games that get free updates in the form of levels, characters, and weapon classes having them get turned back into paid DLC like in the PS3 era
 

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They would refocus on direct sale of perks instead of random chance loot boxes, just like they did ten years ago, including in single player games too. It would be a good thing. Games like Anthem and Destiny cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make, but I don't see the value on screen and do not think anything of value would be lost.
 

Wyald

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Can you imagine how furious must Blizzard-Activision be at EA Games for overplaying their hand with lootboxes? They had a fucking amazing source of income and then the suits at EA came in and brought the heat all over it.
God, that makes me fucking hard. Fuck them all.
 

KingofNothing

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The UK government seems to be a little pissed at EA and Epic giving them the runaround. They really don't seem to realize how many chances they're getting to regulate themselves. The government doesn't want to do it or they would have already, but these guys are giving them very little reason not to slap down some laws.

Calling loot boxes "Surprise mechanics". Really EA? REALLY?! Fuck off

And Epic apparently doesn't have data of the average Fortnite player...even though that's their game and should be data that's readily available.

Representatives from Epic Games were accused of evasive behaviour during a Commons inquiry into immersive and addictive technologies yesterday.

The comments came from Clive Efford MP after nearly two hours of grilling into player spending, playtime, age verification, and corporate responsibility.

Committee members were left perplexed and frustrated by the blinding denial or deft avoidance of executives and legal counsel from Epic Games and Electronic Arts.

Yesterday's hearing was the latest in an ongoing inquiry into immersive and addictive technologies by the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee.

It comes at a pivotal time for the games industry, which is under increased scrutiny amid the ongoing loot box debacle, and recent classification of Gaming Disorder by the World Health Organisation.

However, any hope that two of the industry's leading lights would do anything to assuage concerns were promptly dashed upon the rocks after testimonials left committee members reeling.



During one particularly fractious exchange, committee chair Damian Collins MP said: "If I was a parent who was concerned about my child's use of Fortnite, I think listening to your testimony would not give me any encouragement at all that this was an issue that you cared about."

His comments were echoed by Ian Lucas MP who took to Twitter after the hearing.

"Quite extraordinary session of @CommonsCMS with Epic and EA games companies who appear to think they have no obligation at all to those who are addicted to games," he said. "They do not appear even to have considered it."

Attending the hearing were Epic Games' director of marketing Matt Weissinger and general counsel Canon Pence, who were joined by Electronic Arts' UK country manager Shaun Campbell and vice president of legal and government affairs Kerry Hopkins.

Epic Games in particular attracted ire from MPs, driven by evasive or baffling answers that seemed to only raise further concerns.

At one point, Canon Pence claimed it was inaccurate to define Epic as a company which makes money from people playing its games, to which Collins responded: "You're not a charity."

Throughout the sessions, Epic and EA trotted out familiar old lines on everything from loot boxes, to age verification, and excessive playtime.

"We don't call them loot boxes... We call then 'surprise mechanics'," said EA's Kerry Hopkins, who said she had no qualms with the publishers' implementation of loot boxes, and justified any problematic consequences as "bad guys find ways to do bad things.

"Listening to your testimony would not give me any encouragement at all that this was an issue that you cared about"
Damian Collins, committee chair
Meanwhile, Epic admitted to not verifying players' ages for Fortnite, placing responsibility solely on the platform holder.

Both companies had little to offer on questions around playtime, either claiming they did not track that data specifically, or providing strawman arguments around what constitutes "too much."

After several minutes of attempting to pin Epic's Matt Weissinger on the definition of a regular player, the committee was met with the response that it was "commercially sensitive" information.

"What I struggle with here, [Fortnite] is a game which makes money out of people playing it," replied Collins in dismay. "It's a hugely successful game played by millions of people around the world. And this sort of basic information -- we know from other game companies we've spoken to -- is something that would be gathered and analysed all of the time. So I don't believe you don't know this information.

"So for me, this arouses suspicion that this is not something we can discuss... this is basic information. We don't need to know your corporate secrets... but I'm sure you've got an idea what the answers to these questions are."

Considering the duty of care a developer might owe its players, especially in the wake of the WHO Gaming Disorder classification, Epic once again proved evasive and unwilling to accept any level of responsibility, with Pence saying he was "not in a position of knowledge" to speak about it, adding "we rely on our trade organisations to do that."

"But you shouldn't," responded Collins. "You should have responsibility for your own company and your own customers. That's not what the trade body is there for. They may lobby for you, but you're the one that has responsibility. These are your users and your company...

"You could disregard what WHO has said, and seems to be that's your position, but going back to what other members are asking about duty of care, would it not be responsible of a company to actually consider the guidance given by the WHO and therefore consider if they have a duty of care to their users, to consider whether some of those users may fall into this definition of being gaming disorder."

Since officially launching earlier this year, the inquiry has taken oral evidence from academics, influencers, and British game studios. Next week, representatives from King, UKIE, and TIGA will be giving evidence.

Following the latest session, committee member Jo Stevens MP also took to Twitter, commenting: "Really concerning evidence from @EpicGames to our @commonscms this afternoon. No age verification system. No automated system to identify potential grooming of children on the chat rooms. No acceptance of any responsibility to have safeguarding measures in place."
 

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"Surprise Mechanics" is such a strategic misstep that I can't believe EA did it. That's literally how slot machines work (repeatedly pressing a button for money is boring, doing so for a chance of money is fun and exciting) and everyone who studies gambling is aware of that. They are giving away the game, here.
 

KingofNothing

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Didn't the higher ticket snes games run that in 90sbucks?
Yep, they got pretty damn high back in the day.
dem prices.jpg

dem prices2.jpg
 
J

JM 590

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Yep, they got pretty damn high back in the day.
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Yup, though I'd guess the top ad is Canadian. I remember Toys R Us prices being $80 for RPGs like Secret of Mana and Game Boy games always being $30. Phantasy Star IV was $120.

In that bottom ad, Cruis'n USA was about two years old by then, considering Goldeneye was already out. $70 for a two year old port of a four year old arcade game with four cars total. Lovely.
 

Zeke Von Genbu

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Didn't the higher ticket snes games run that in 90sbucks?

Even though that is true (as shown above), lets be honest, most likely people don't remember or quite frankly don't care especially if they weren't into gaming until way past that era like the PS2 or PS3 ish eras. If you raise the price on something so set for a long period of time, you risk causing a problem especially on a uniform level of everything raising to that point. Beyond again the issue of how to shift the gaming industry in that direction without any legal issues or investigations of collusion.

If we had any sort of data to measure how price sensitive people in the console gaming space are, as I think it is fair to say they're somewhat different demographics than the PC crowd which to my knowledge thinks 60 USD is overly expensive as is, we could maybe estimate how much of an impact this would leave. Big maybe on that. We can't really find that to my knowledge as the vast majority of console/AAA games have been 60 USD for more than a decade. Even then price sensitivity is better used when you use very similar products or basically the same product. Such as if I sell something for 5 dollars one month, and 5.75 another month how does that affect demand? Games are not similar to each other due to genres, popularity of the series, if the game is considered any good/bad, way too many factors.

If one game goes to 70 and another stays at 60, how can we conclude to what degree that the price change affected anything? Maybe the 60 one is just a better received game so what does that mean for the price change? Maybe a massive consumer boycott will actually do something because of a dramatic shift in price that has not been seen in possibly decades and the next time we sell at 70 it'll do better even if we somehow hypothetical made the same quality game? It's just a very odd situation, and again I don't think anyone wants to be the "brave" soul to change their price.

I don't have the knowledge to know how to judge any of those factors and possibly more I haven't thought of yet. But on a very very basic level it is easy to conclude that going from 60 USD to say 70 will cause an issue in demand that might be be worth the change in price, how much? Who knows, and no one I think wants to take that risk.

Edit: Do keep in mind that competition wasn't what it was back in the SNES era where it was only Nintendo and SEGA with the PS1 coming around fairly soon around this time if my history is right, we now have Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo in the console space. This is ignoring PC entirely, because I have little knowledge of PC gaming back in the 90s on how much it has grown in the last couple decades.
 
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Tetra

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People forget that games already go over $60, just in special edition and whatever else. And the worst offenders with this is ubisoft and ea.

watch-dogs.jpg


watchdogs being the worst example.
 

KingofNothing

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Yup, though I'd guess the top ad is Canadian. I remember Toys R Us prices being $80 for RPGs like Secret of Mana and Game Boy games always being $30. Phantasy Star IV was $120.
You might be right on the top ad. Image search gave me the link to the Canadian store of Toys R Us. Fuck, Phanatsy Star was expensive. Glad I wasn't a Nintendo kid growing up, no way I could've talked my parents into upping the cash for that
 

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If anybody hasn't seen the video of EA and EPIC in parliament it was pretty entertaining. I think its about 2-2.5 hours but all in all its worth a watch. The marketer for epic seemed way over his head with everything going on.
 

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Don't expect game prices to go up without massive customer backlash. If anything, prices are going down, how many rereleases come out starting at 40 bucks these days? Quite a lot.
 

Zeke Von Genbu

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People forget that games already go over $60, just in special edition and whatever else. And the worst offenders with this is ubisoft and ea.

watch-dogs.jpg


watchdogs being the worst example.

Special editions/Collector's editions/whatever aren't the same as a uniform price increase, yes they are a means to generate more revenue selling the same game, but generally something is offered in addition to that 60 USD game even if it is likely overpriced merch or DLC though that wildly varies on the game itself. Now if the value is worth it ranges from person to person, game to game, but normally anyway I wouldn't call that the same thing as a price change.
 

Tetra

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Special editions/Collector's editions/whatever aren't the same as a uniform price increase, yes they are a means to generate more revenue selling the same game, but generally something is offered in addition to that 60 USD game even if it is likely overpriced merch or DLC though that wildly varies on the game itself. Now if the value is worth it ranges from person to person, game to game, but normally anyway I wouldn't call that the same thing as a price change.

The primary point was that gamers assholes has been lubed enough that they'll take those price changes like a champ while begging for more
 

V0dka

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Gaming companies are in search of more profits. They are testing the waters and probing the boundaries for what is considered legally gambling. Because if they can successfully get away with it, they can undercut the gambling market with a wide demographic that includes children, and have none of the negative PR that comes with gambling.

In Japan you see gambling being pandered to more and more to women with promotional tie ins of their favorite bands/movies/anime/tv shows. Now just think if the gaming industry could get away with that, and also include children? You can imagine the drooling from the executives.



 

a_lurker

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ripped_off_amazon.jpg
Loot boxes are the digital form of these annoying layered plastic turds.
I don't know if these things are popular because of games, or games are pushing the loot boxes because shit like this is popular, but there's some fuckery going on.