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Star Wars Prequels Government Software The Almighty Buck United States Entertainment Games

Legislators Take Aim At Star Wars Battlefront II, EA Over 'Gambling In Games' (polygon.com) 72

dryriver writes: A number of pay-to-win microtransaction FPS games, including Dirty Bomb and the $60 Star Wars Battlefront II, have drawn the ire of legislators in countries like Belgium and the United States. Not only are advanced characters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader and various weapons and abilities in these games "locked" -- you pay for them in hard cash, or play for them for dozens and dozens of tedious hours -- the games also feature so called "Loot Boxes," which are boxes that contain a random item, weapon, character or ability. So like playing slot machines in Vegas, each time you can get something good, something mediocre or something totally crap. You cannot determine with any certainty what you will get for your real-world dollars or in-game achievements. Angry Reddit users recently downvoted a blundering statement by EA on the topic with a whopping 249,000 downvotes -- an all time downvote record on Reddit, shocking EA into retreating from its pay-to-win model and announcing unspecified "changes" now being made to Star Wars Battlefront II. Legislators in a number of countries have also sharply criticized "Loot Boxes" and "microtransactions" in games, with one legislator in Belgium vowing to have the sale of such games banned completely in the EU, because children are essentially being forced to "gamble with real money" in these games. Forbes has written a great piece about how EA is now essentially stuck with a $60 Star Wars game that cost a lot to make but probably cannot be monetized any further, because there is considerable risk of all games with loot boxes, microtransactions and "pay to win" monetization models being completely banned from sale in a number of different countries now. The morale of the story? Maybe people should not pay a game developer any more than the $40-60 they paid when they thought they "bought" the game in the first place.
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Legislators Take Aim At Star Wars Battlefront II, EA Over 'Gambling In Games'

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  • by thereitis ( 2355426 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @06:48PM (#55617609) Journal

    Maybe people should not pay a game developer any more than the $40-60 they paid when they thought they "bought" the game in the first place.

    As long as the game I paid for has a lot of content included, I don't mind paying more later for additional maps. But the gambling/loot box thing is annoying. I know people who spend hundreds of dollars just to try and level their hockey or soccer team, one of whom is thinking of just walking away from the franchise as every year there's a new update which basically obsoletes all the effort and money they poured in. Will be interesting to see what happens.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Play Game of War: Fire Age, Machine Zone has perfected the art of continual money extraction from its players. It's the ultimate pay-to-play. They don't even try to hide it.
    • I'm not sure stories have morale but it does suggest that EA's morale and morals are both pretty low.
    • Path of Exile has an interesting and truly fair approach: their "Mystery Boxes" guarantee a prize at least equal to the amount of credits entered, the average being much higher.

      Each box grants you one random microtransaction themed as either Chaos or Order, with value equal to at least that of the box (30 points). The possible outcomes from your mystery box range in value from 30 points all the way up to 320 points! The average reward is worth 110 points, which is 366% of the cost of the box.

      Source: https://www.pathofexile.com/fo... [pathofexile.com]

  • The morale of the story? Maybe people should not pay a game developer any more than the $40-60 they paid when they thought they "bought" the game in the first place.

    While the closing remarks took care of one aspect, I feel another worthwhile moral point is "there is no need for government regulation in a market until avarice becomes the single driving force of progress". EA has overstepped and overstepped with more and more greedy business practices, game by game, until now it's finally gotten so bad that the games market has to be regulated for gambling. EA went ahead and peed in the communal soup bowl, and now everyone pays the price.

    I cannot express the loathing I f

    • Well, tbh it was already a mess. The lootboxes in CS:GO are basically lottery tickets, because the loot is priced at a market and changed into real money. I've been wondering when they'd regulate that but apparently, PC games aren't a thing in the regulatory universe until newspapers pay attention.

    • "there is no need for government regulation in a market until avarice becomes the single driving force of progress".

      That is a very blurry line. Most game companies, and most other companies as well, are driven primarily by greed from the day they are founded. Greed is the engine of capitalism. If you let the government's nose into the tent to fix this one little peeve of yours, you have already surrendered your liberty to game as you like.

      EA has overstepped and overstepped with more and more greedy business practices

      Obvious solution: Stop buying their products.

      • That is a very blurry line. Most game companies, and most other companies as well, are driven primarily by greed from the day they are founded. Greed is the engine of capitalism. If you let the government's nose into the tent to fix this one little peeve of yours, you have already surrendered your liberty to game as you like.

        Agreed, and that is why we have such back and forth problems with should they/shouldn't they. Most on /. seem to agree that government regulations such as NN are necessary since the companies against NN are so god-damn greedy as to beggar the mind, but other areas are far less clear-cut.
        I would disagree on the first point though, I think most game companies are founded with a very different mindset - they have a dream of delivering a kick-ass game, but switch more and more towards greed as the founders are

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Barely 12 hours old and still on the front page [slashdot.org]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's the old Slashdot that won me over.

    • I used to bitch about dupes like you do, then I realized that you can often get two differing perspectives by reading both stories. When both summaries link to the same story, you can still git differing views by reading the comments on both.

      As annoying as it might be until you realize this, there is actually some value in the dupes.
  • hahaha...imagine if he threw laser darts instead of wielding a lightsaber?

  • That the outrage used to be: " $60 for a game ! F**k that ! "

    to

    " I'm ok with paying $60 for a game but micro-transactions ? F**k that ! "

    All the while game developers are quietly giggling to themselves because they don't keep making these things at a loss . . . . .

    • $60 is not a bad price if you're going to get hundreds of hours out of the game. But it's an outrageous price for 10 hours of gameplay.

      • by donaldm ( 919619 )

        $60 is not a bad price if you're going to get hundreds of hours out of the game. But it's an outrageous price for 10 hours of gameplay.

        The problem you have is that the liking of games is subjective and while I do agree that the best value for a game may be the number of enjoyable hours you can get from that game, other people may prefer the overall enjoyment of a particular game which may not translate to the number of hours you can possibly get from that game.

        To give some examples. I have put in hundreds of enjoyable hours into Skyrim and have IMHO got my monies worth at a few cents per hour. Other people may have purchased a game like

    • That the outrage used to be: " $60 for a game ! F**k that ! "

      When was that? Atari games regularly cost $80-100 in today's money. Gamers have always been willing to shell out sixty bucks for a quality game.

    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      Now it's $100 for the platinum version - the other versions are missing bits.
      And if you don't pre-order then they strip out more content for you.

      And another $xx for the season pass.
      And DLCs not covered by the season pass.
      And cosmetic loot boxes.
      And pay-to-win loot boxes.

  • Sounds like a cheap Chinese knockoff.
  • If a game is tedious, what fool would p,ay it, much less pay for it. That is why we need Pac-Man, a simple animated dot roaming the screen. It was not tedious.
  • by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @09:48PM (#55618357) Journal
    As a teen in the 80s I have fond memories of the ground breaking games that made them famous. Games like Archon and M.U.L.E. To see what they have become over the years. Evil in so many ways is sad. It would be good if they just dumped the EA and Electronic Arts name completely as there is nothing about the company ethos that even remotely resembles what EA was back in the beginning, They should be ashamed but that would require some sort of corporate soul that has a sliver of self respect and a sense of who they are other than being the equivalent of the ferrengi in STTNG.
  • these devs knew what they where doing. it started in f2p games because wile one a small percentage will do it they will drop thousands on loot boxes.so in the end they make more money on people gambling then just selling the item in the shop.
  • The best way to address this would be to get the ESRB involved and force any game that has micro transactions to be labeled A (adult) 18+ only. If game publishers are only allowed to sell games with micro transactions to adults, it will make them think twice before introducing these garbage financial schemes into games. It will probably also avoid situations like 8 year olds racking up $2000 bills on their micro-transaction riddled iPhone game.
  • The morale of the story? Employ editors who are actually literate.

  • Finally that glorious company has made enough right decisions that hopefully will cause this loot box/microtransaction thing to either die of become marginal because of government control. Good job EA - you're the best! They didn't want a LOT of money. No - they wanted ALL the money. Now I saw somewhere that EA gave a memo to shareholders that blocking microtransaction in that Star Wars game won't affect revenue. Now that is some creative bookkeeping. I guess games aren't THAT expensive to make if it does
  • Just make all the stuff available as a fixed purchase. It can be high enough above the price of a loot box to justify its rarity.

    Yes, you could still gamble with a loot box if you wanted.. but that would no longer be your only option (and in particular if you knew exactly what you wanted, you would also know exactly how much it would cost you.) I would imagine that should satisfy most people (well, not counting those that thing in-game purchases should be banned completely of course.. but it should satis

  • After playing quite a few F2P games, I have had a nagging suspicion that the RNGs are not necessarily playing fair. It would be a simple bit of code to weight an RNG based on the player's spending habits. Pay more? Better drop chances for that gold plated left handed swab handle instead if the usual rubber one. I freely admit that I have not taken the time needed to actually test that idea, but numerous impromptu player surveys I've conducted certainly hint in that direction. "Manufacturer claims bas
  • I'm not much of a gamer, but I do play two games online.

    One is a really boring game with only maybe a dozen players still hanging on after about 10 years. I'm the highest level. My rival has the highest stats and I'm convinced he bought them too, but that's what keeps this guy running his server. Some people even took pride in the fact that they never paid anything to achieve what they have, but others pay the bills.

    The other is a tower defense game that I was grinding away at always ignoring the nags

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