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Perkilator

What's your opinion on gambling in video games?

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It's no secret that gambling is pretty controversial with video games (especially in the age of loot boxes). Opinions on the matter are usually negative once real life money gets involved. What's your opinion on this?

In my honest opinion, should be reduced to in-game currency, and ONLY in-game currency (and even then, it'd be best to avoid displaying it as a real-life slot machine).

Edited by Perkilator

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"Serious discussions" keeping us up on the important issues.

 Lootboxes and gachas are obviously blights upon the Earth, people just gotta learn to stop wasting their money. I blame LBJ for this state of affairs.

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1 minute ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

"Serious discussions" keeping us up on the important issues.

 Lootboxes and gachas are obviously blights upon the Earth, people just gotta learn to stop wasting their money. I blame LBJ for this state of affairs.

As someone who enjoys gacha. I have to hard agree with you on that. 

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I'm not too terribly familiar with gambling games, but I'll share my thoughts.

If it's for a video game that's purely for fun, and you can do it however many times you want, I think it's fine. Poker Night at the Inventory is a good example (I think, I've never actually played the game). As far as I know, just purchasing the game is all you need to do to play it. There's no in-game fees to gamble with or double your earnings or any BS like that. Just a simple, for-fun gambling game. Something like that is fine. Gambling as a side attraction in a video game is fine, too. Something like Pazaak in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a good example. It's an optional thing to do, and it doesn't really intrude on the game in any way, besides a very brief introduction scene on the first planet to let you know about it. If you lose, you can always reload a save and try again.

As for games with optional in-app purchases related to making gambles, I think it's only really bad if it's to the point where it would make a game pay-to-win or heavily targets those who fall prey to bad spending habits. For instance, in Heroes, you can use the orbs that you earn in the game to summon just fine, and occasionally get 5-star units on a good summon. To me, buying orbs boils down to whether or not I have the patience to wait for more orbs to try summoning again, or just really wanting to get a unit as soon as possible. As far as Heroes goes, it's rewarding to take the time to build up a unit from scratch and refine them to be their very best. I don't see how it's fun or practical to summon 11 copies of a unit and essentially empty out your wallet like that.

TL;DR, don't gamble, kids.

38 minutes ago, Perkilator said:

In my honest opinion, should be reduced to in-game currency, and ONLY in-game currency (and even then, it'd be best to avoid displaying it as a real-life slot machine).

To add onto this, I think it might help to have a "daily/weekly/monthly spending limit" in a game to stop people from spending so much in a single day if they do spend a lot, assuming that in-game currency is purchasable. If it's in-game currency that can't be purchased, then I would want some way to somehow grind it up, kinda like how you can grind for core crystals in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, that way the only thing people would be spending is their free-time.

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It has no place in video games and just shouldn't be there. Its pretty much the ultimate example of corporate interest intruding on video games as art/products. 

And if its there it should be regulated as gambling which as of now it isn't. And if its regulated as gambling then companies shouldn't throw a hissyfit and just remove the product from the shelves in the countries that regulate it.

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I think games like gachas or similar types of games go against the spirit of what video games are meant to be, but at the same time I can't advocate for restrictions on it since free choice is a thing and once more restrictions start being implemented for something like gambling, then everything can start to become regulated. If people choose to engage in gambling, that's on them.

Basically: gambling in games is bad, but regulating what should be people's free choice is also bad.

Edited by twilitfalchion

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7 minutes ago, Etrurian emperor said:

It has no place in video games and just shouldn't be there. Its pretty much the ultimate example of corporate interest intruding on video games as art/products. 

And if its there it should be regulated as gambling which as of now it isn't. And if its regulated as gambling then companies shouldn't throw a hissyfit and just remove the product from the shelves in the countries that regulate it.

Bravo.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

Adding a little bit, however: games that incorporate these gambling mechanics are designed to psychologically manipulate people into engaging in said gambling, to spend money. It's eerily similar to how drug dealers get people addicted.

Edited by DragonFlames

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I am fine with gachas and gambling in games. I do not like it when people tell me how I should spend my money or impose unnecessary regulations on how businesses operate. No one is forcing anyone to drink alcohol or smoke hookah, and no one is forcing anyone to play gacha games either. If people do not like the business model, then they can just avoid games that use that model.

I can just as easily argue that car companies are much more financially harmful by selling low end "luxury" cars like Lexus, Mercedes, Lincolns, etc. to people who have no business owning one and should save that money instead. Those cars are impressing no one and they are worth shit after a few years, and all they do is give people a slight adrenaline rush at the time of purchase just like gambling. Compared to the financial damage that the car industry is inflicting on the entire human population, the gacha game industry is nothing.

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12 minutes ago, XRay said:

No one is forcing anyone to drink alcohol or smoke hookah, and no one is forcing anyone to play gacha games either.

Just as some places serve teens alcohol, so to do game companies understand that kids play their games and they actively don't warn them about the dangers of gambling. Regulation is necessary purely because of predation on children.

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6 minutes ago, Hylian Air Force said:

Just as some places serve teens alcohol, so to do game companies understand that kids play their games and they actively don't warn them about the dangers of gambling. Regulation is necessary purely because of predation on children.

Educating teens about gambling is up to the parents' responsibility. Government should not force companies to babysit kids for parents. Kids also should not have their own credit cards in the first place, and the fault lies squarely with the parents if kids manages to obtain that credit card information to play gachas or gamble. If parents decide to give their kids debit cards, the onus of financial responsibility is on the parents, and it is up to them to monitor and control the flow of money, not companies. 

I agree that some level of regulation is necessary, but I do not support implementing harsh regulation to punish something just because people do not like it on arbitrary moral grounds. In my eyes, the backlash against gachas and gambling in videogames is a witch hunt. Dragging children into the subject is a poor argument since children should not even have the financial resource to play gachas or gamble in the first place, so I think the children argument is just a load of bull. Calls to ban gachas and gambling in videogames is an extreme overreaction and onerous regulatory overreach. If people are really thinking about protecting children from gachas and gambling, the proper way to regulate that is to make two factor authentication mandatory for digital purchases, and not wholesale blanket banning an entire legitimate revenue model.

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5 hours ago, twilitfalchion said:

Basically: gambling in games is bad, but regulating what should be people's free choice is also bad.

This is exceedingly true.

4 hours ago, XRay said:

I am fine with gachas and gambling in games. I do not like it when people tell me how I should spend my money or impose unnecessary regulations on how businesses operate. No one is forcing anyone to drink alcohol or smoke hookah, and no one is forcing anyone to play gacha games either. If people do not like the business model, then they can just avoid games that use that model.

See though, it doesn't mean you reject the concept of value judgements. All because you should be able to do something doesn't mean you should do it, and there's a strong argument to make that people are obligated to tell you when you're wrong. You're right that parents are the foremost educators and authorities in a child's life, but people should still be able to call you out. Social mockery of people who spend money on gachas is beneficial at the worst.

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It is gambling, and should be regulated like gambling is. Whatever that entails for your country or state, that is what it should be, and if those laws need to tailored to better fit the unique form it has taken, than they should be.

This unregulated gambling in video games is a cancer on the industry, but hopefully a little regulation will cut it back to become something at least a little more benign.

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8 hours ago, XRay said:

Educating teens about gambling is up to the parents' responsibility. Government should not force companies to babysit kids for parents. Kids also should not have their own credit cards in the first place, and the fault lies squarely with the parents if kids manages to obtain that credit card information to play gachas or gamble. If parents decide to give their kids debit cards, the onus of financial responsibility is on the parents, and it is up to them to monitor and control the flow of money, not companies. 

But here's the thing. Parents don't know their is gambling in video games and they have no reason to assume this because the entire concept sound silly. The idea that your football games that the rating board decided was for all ages has gambling in it is a genuinely bizarre situation that parents can't be asked to predict. Its unreasonable to expect parents to protect their children from regular video games that the rating board deems perfectly fit for children. 

Most parents, even those in the know regarding technology aren't very knowledgeable about video games to begin with. The fact that they can get their kids addicted to gambling is something that can ambush these parents out of nowhere. 

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14 hours ago, Perkilator said:

In my honest opinion, should be reduced to in-game currency, and ONLY in-game currency (and even then, it'd be best to avoid displaying it as a real-life slot machine).

But... I wanna get Porygon the RIGHT way...

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7 hours ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

Social mockery of people who spend money on gachas is beneficial at the worst.

Social mockery of people who have different vices than you is unwarranted, nosy, rude, and insulting. I can go around and tell people they make bad financial choices from the car they buy to the way they shop for groceries to how much they save, but I do not do that. Nobody likes an overzealous puritanical crusaders dictating people how to live their lives.

How people spend their money is up to them, and if businesses can tap into that, then all the better.

2 hours ago, Etrurian emperor said:

But here's the thing. Parents don't know their is gambling in video games and they have no reason to assume this because the entire concept sound silly. The idea that your football games that the rating board decided was for all ages has gambling in it is a genuinely bizarre situation that parents can't be asked to predict. Its unreasonable to expect parents to protect their children from regular video games that the rating board deems perfectly fit for children. 

Most parents, even those in the know regarding technology aren't very knowledgeable about video games to begin with. The fact that they can get their kids addicted to gambling is something that can ambush these parents out of nowhere. 

That is the fault of the rating boards, not gaming companies. Calls for banning gachas and gambling in games is an unjustified and unwarranted overreaction.

Additionally, as previously mentioned, kids should not have access to their parents' credit cards, so kids should not be able to gamble or use the gacha with real money in the first place. Bringing in children into the argument just is not a valid argument in my opinion.

Should we ban alcohol from restaurants just because kids have the potential to buy alcohol or steal it from the restaurant? I do not think so. All restaurants are required to do is to check for ID by law, and requiring game companies to implement two factor identification is a lot more reasonable than banning gachas and gambling.

I also do not think exposing kids to gachas and gambling a big deal. Kids are already exposed to violence and sex already for at least the last 20 years in mass media and they turned out fine. Most parents do not even care if their kids played Battlefield or Grand Theft Auto, and if I have kids, I honestly do not care if my kids play gacha games because they would not have the financial resources to participate in the gacha with real money.

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The funny thing is, and speaking as someone who has easily spent a good few thousands on random loot in video games even outside of FEH (which is the game I have spent a cripplingly large amount on), I'm alright with gambling in video games in moderation, but I also frankly hate it.

I like video games. I mostly play Nintendo games, but I've dabbled in other franchises via my gaming PC. These days a game costs anywhere from $30usd to $60usd, and that's before DLC and additional costs like online services. But in the past month I've spent at least $500 on gacha games alone, and that would have bought me a pretty sizable amount of games on Steam even without sales.

Do I like the random chance that gacha games offer, the feeling of luck when I manage to summon a 5* unit in FEH? YES. Do I like spending more money on it than most video games (that are usually a lot funner) cost? NO. I'd stop, even quit, but they make it nearly impossible by making units irrelevant in the face of newer ones, and at this point I've sunk so much money into these games that it'd almost feel like a humongous waste than if I were to keep playing until service for the game ends.

I do think it's alright when controlled. Set a limit per day or per month, or even set up a separate checking account that you use exclusively for gambling in video games. But out of control, and if I'm honest I think FEH is out of control, it's not alright, and I hate giving up the ability to get new games just to remain relevant in the current climates of the gachas I play (FEH, Dragalia Lost, and Pokemon Masters).

Edited by Xenomata

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19 hours ago, XRay said:

I am fine with gachas and gambling in games. I do not like it when people tell me how I should spend my money or impose unnecessary regulations on how businesses operate. No one is forcing anyone to drink alcohol or smoke hookah, and no one is forcing anyone to play gacha games either. If people do not like the business model, then they can just avoid games that use that model.

I can just as easily argue that car companies are much more financially harmful by selling low end "luxury" cars like Lexus, Mercedes, Lincolns, etc. to people who have no business owning one and should save that money instead. Those cars are impressing no one and they are worth shit after a few years, and all they do is give people a slight adrenaline rush at the time of purchase just like gambling. Compared to the financial damage that the car industry is inflicting on the entire human population, the gacha game industry is nothing.

People tell others how to spend their money all of the time, both overtly and covertly. We are constantly being bombarded with marketing, conventional cultural wisdom, and basic financial instruction - all of which attempt to manipulate us into doing something with our money; whether that is buying one product over another, not over-consuming alcohol, advocating for using a savings account and/or investing, etc.

"There are problems in other areas," is not a tenable rebuttal for investigating the question of "to what degree of wrongness exists in this topic?" Sure, some people buy cars or houses or boats or whatever, that they can't really afford. Additionally, there is a difference here: gacha genuinely does target children - car companies, banks, etc. do not. Would Mercedes sell one of their cars to a 12 year old? 

And just for fun: it looks like car companies generated $280b revenue last year - mobile gaming generated $50b (which was 60% of total gaming) and is projected to steadily increase for the next 5-10 years. The various projections range kind of wildly, from $60b to $130b in the next 5 years, but either way, it's not an inconsequential market.

18 hours ago, XRay said:

Educating teens about gambling is up to the parents' responsibility. Government should not force companies to babysit kids for parents. Kids also should not have their own credit cards in the first place, and the fault lies squarely with the parents if kids manages to obtain that credit card information to play gachas or gamble. If parents decide to give their kids debit cards, the onus of financial responsibility is on the parents, and it is up to them to monitor and control the flow of money, not companies. 

I agree that some level of regulation is necessary, but I do not support implementing harsh regulation to punish something just because people do not like it on arbitrary moral grounds. In my eyes, the backlash against gachas and gambling in videogames is a witch hunt. Dragging children into the subject is a poor argument since children should not even have the financial resource to play gachas or gamble in the first place, so I think the children argument is just a load of bull. Calls to ban gachas and gambling in videogames is an extreme overreaction and onerous regulatory overreach. If people are really thinking about protecting children from gachas and gambling, the proper way to regulate that is to make two factor authentication mandatory for digital purchases, and not wholesale blanket banning an entire legitimate revenue model.

Then, why is gambling illegal in most states and for those (generally) under 21? The government stepped in and made it illegal. But it should just be up to the parents? The government feels otherwise. Are gambling laws instituted because of "arbitrary moral grounds"? Why is gambling in games different than gambling in a casino?  

Agreed about the debit/CCs though - giving your kid a blank cheque and thinking they won't spend it all is pretty irresponsible. That said, the addictive nature of gambling can be difficult to navigate, especially for a child. Society and government tend to view addictive behavior with some responsibility on the individual, and some shared responsibility on the entity that facilitated the addiction. Generally, both are regulated by law. And the facilitator is often the party that gets the harsher punishment.

We are not the ones who brought children into this. The game designers and marketers who are literally sitting in meeting rooms trying to figure out how to make the most money from their targeted demographic are the ones who brought children into this. Fortnite's latest marketing campaign aggressively targets children and paints Apple as some draconian, overly-greedy corporation that is unfairly treating Epic, and Epic is pretending that they're some noble crusader for acquiring financial autonomy on iOS. #FreeFortnite is sickeningly targeting children, all because Epic wants more money than they are getting now. 

I agree that an outright ban is not warranted. I like the 2FA requirement, but there's a reason companies are averse to mandating this (same goes for online games with cheating problems) - it's another barrier to purchase/play. Companies don't care about your safety or security (unless they are legally bound to) if it cuts into their bottom line. Perhaps requiring age verification of 18 or (ideally) 21, would be prudent, for games/apps that contain real-money gambling mechanics. That's what we do for casino gambling. Why is digital gambling different?

6 hours ago, XRay said:

That is the fault of the rating boards, not gaming companies. Calls for banning gachas and gambling in games is an unjustified and unwarranted overreaction.

The ESRB and ESA were created by and are still largely overseen by the big game publishers. Talk about conflict of interest, eh?

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3 hours ago, Aegius_NaTL said:

"There are problems in other areas," is not a tenable rebuttal for investigating the question of "to what degree of wrongness exists in this topic?" Sure, some people buy cars or houses or boats or whatever, that they can't really afford. Additionally, there is a difference here: gacha genuinely does target children - car companies, banks, etc. do not. Would Mercedes sell one of their cars to a 12 year old? 

Car companies absolutely and undeniably target children too. Hot Wheels are some of the most popular toys for kids, and there are plenty of racing games featuring super cars as well as lesser cars from more plebeian brands. Car companies groom their customers from a young age. Cannot afford a Ford GT straight out of college? How about settling for a crappier Mustang?

3 hours ago, Aegius_NaTL said:

Then, why is gambling illegal in most states and for those (generally) under 21? The government stepped in and made it illegal. But it should just be up to the parents? The government feels otherwise. Are gambling laws instituted because of "arbitrary moral grounds"? Why is gambling in games different than gambling in a casino?  

I lean towards letting parents decide. I am not a fan of governments implementing harsh control.

I do not mind banning children from using real money to play gambling games, but I absolutely oppose a blanket ban on gambling in videogames in general. Children should not even have access to financial resources to participate anyways.

On the other hand, banning children from participating gacha games is problematic. After banning gachas, should the government go after trading card games next? Kids are gambling by buying booster packs too. Are kids barred from buying booster packs and can only buy singles now? What about the traditional gacha machines where you insert a quarter or two into the machine and you get a small random prize toy, sticker, or tattoo? Are traditional gacha machines okay because all they offer is just plastic junk? How is that different pixels? The only difference I can think of is that real life booster packs and physical gachas have a secondary market, whereas online gachas generally do not, and I do not think that distinction matters in regards to gambling.

3 hours ago, Aegius_NaTL said:

We are not the ones who brought children into this. The game designers and marketers who are literally sitting in meeting rooms trying to figure out how to make the most money from their targeted demographic are the ones who brought children into this. Fortnite's latest marketing campaign aggressively targets children and paints Apple as some draconian, overly-greedy corporation that is unfairly treating Epic, and Epic is pretending that they're some noble crusader for acquiring financial autonomy on iOS. #FreeFortnite is sickeningly targeting children, all because Epic wants more money than they are getting now. 

That is literally every toy and video game company. Parents are the ones holding the purses and wallets, so it is not like children can gamble with real money anyways. And if children want to participate more in gacha games, they still have to go through parents regardless. At least free to start gachas can be played for free and can encourage kids to learn about resource management and gain patience.

3 hours ago, Aegius_NaTL said:

I agree that an outright ban is not warranted. I like the 2FA requirement, but there's a reason companies are averse to mandating this (same goes for online games with cheating problems) - it's another barrier to purchase/play. Companies don't care about your safety or security (unless they are legally bound to) if it cuts into their bottom line. Perhaps requiring age verification of 18 or (ideally) 21, would be prudent, for games/apps that contain real-money gambling mechanics. That's what we do for casino gambling. Why is digital gambling different?

I am pretty sure companies rather implement 2FA requirements over not doing business at all. 2FA is one of less intrusive ideas to my knowledge, and it is not all that different from buying alcohol or cigarettes at a store where you need to present your ID.

Edited by XRay

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2 hours ago, XRay said:

Car companies absolutely and undeniably target children too. Hot Wheels are some of the most popular toys for kids, and there are plenty of racing games featuring super cars as well as lesser cars from more plebeian brands. Car companies groom their customers from a young age. Cannot afford a Ford GT straight out of college? How about settling for a crappier Mustang?

Yep, that is marketing. Many companies engage in marketing that includes children as a target demographic. But selling kids miniature Lambos does not produce a meaningful potential for addiction. Gacha genuinely does target children by using knowingly deceptive and addictive practices.

And car companies offer a product with certainty - you know you are getting a car, and you know roughly what specs/history it has. If you want to believe your Mustang is a mini GT, go for it. If you grow up playing Need for Speed and want to outfit your Toyota with a body kit to look like an Aston, sure, do it. There's nothing terribly deceptive or wrong about any of that. But the nature of gacha is to encourage you to continuously spend money because the company withholds details about what you are receiving and applies practices to encourage continuous spending. It is purposefully made to be ambiguous and sometimes even misleading. Car marketing (and marketing in general) can be misleading, ambiguous, and deceptive as well. But the nature of the product is generally certain, and the potential for addiction is not present.

2 hours ago, XRay said:

Car companies absolutely and undeniably target children too. Hot Wheels are some of the most popular toys for kids, and there are plenty of racing games featuring super cars as well as lesser cars from more plebeian brands. Car companies groom their customers from a young age. Cannot afford a Ford GT straight out of college? How about settling for a crappier Mustang?

TCGs probably should be regulated to some degree, if there is a problem. But I have a few ideas regarding why it is not immediately pressing/dangerous. Since the TCG market is pretty small compared to gacha, the conversation revolves around the far more sizable and growing market. And the act of playing a TCG is not really addictive on a general scale - the games are made to be played with a skill-level in mind. The way gacha operates is far more nefarious and large-scale. The fundamental design of a gacha game is to push the user to keep spending money. While you can spend a decent bit of cash on TCGs, their inherent goal is to facilitate a skill-based game.

$0.25 arcade machines don't encourage addictive behavior on the same scale that gacha does. Physical machines are generally limited by how much you can spend: 25 cents at a time while the venue is open. Sure, you could rack up a bill of a few hundred dollars probably, if you literally spent all day doing it. But is that realistic? How big of a problem is that in society? This question goes for the TCG example as well. Yes, the potential for addiction is there, and there is uncertainty to your purchase. But in practice, do we see the same frequency of addictive behavior and potential destructiveness in TCGs that we do in gacha?

2 hours ago, XRay said:

That is literally every toy and video game company. Parents are the ones holding the purses and wallets, so it is not like children can gamble with real money anyways. And if children want to participate more in gacha games, they still have to go through parents regardless. At least free to start gachas can be played for free and can encourage kids to learn about resource management and gain patience.

Yes, every toy and game company markets to children. But when you see an ad for the new Elder Scrolls game, you know exactly what your $60 is getting you. When you see an ad for the new dinosaur figure, you know what you're getting. There is no uncertainty and no real impetus for addiction in these scenarios.

Even if parents give a child $20 a week to spend, I don't think it should be permissible to allow someone under 21 to spend it on gambling; whether that's physical or digital. You wouldn't tell your middle-schooler to go spend their allowance at the casino, right?  

And aren't almost all of these gacha games free-to-start? That's one of their prime marketing directives:

"Hey! It's free to play! No, you don't have to spend any money on it!"                                                                                                                                                                                                                <4 hours of gameplay later> 
"To continue you need to pay" or "If you want a chance at being competitive, you have to pay"

Learn about resource management and gain patience? There are games designed by teachers and learning experts that do that - this is not that. Are you really suggesting the use of gacha games to teach kids about resource management and patience? The entire point of these games is to goad the player into acquiring more digital resources via real money purchasing, because the games wear down your patience in all the ways that their market research and clinical psychologists tell them will be effective.

Even if you forget about children, these games are made to be addictive. A few posts up, someone shares that they've spent "at least $500" on gacha in the last month, that they know it's sort of wrong, but they can't stop doing it. This is a singular case, but it is representative of behavior for a significant amount of people. In this case, it sounds like everything is mostly OK and the person is not overextending themselves financially (and I don't mean to levy genuine addiction accusations on them - but this highlights the genre's designedly addictive nature).

Casino gambling is regulated because of its addictive nature. Why is digital gambling getting a pass? Online gambling is not even legal for US companies to operate (though US citizens  technically can gamble online via websites registered elsewhere). But overall, the government has a pretty clear message about participating in gambling (due to its purposefully addictive nature, much like gacha): only in licensed jurisdictions/venues, and only for people of a certain age.

 

Edited by Aegius_NaTL

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I think it's worth mentioning that although gambling has existed for as long as humans understood the concept of capitalism, we're literally the first generation to really experience gambling in video games with no potential return on our investments, purely as a source of entertainment. So in a way, I don't think parents and government as they exist currently can understand what gambling in video games really means, or heck parents and government as they exist currently probably don't even understand spending money on stuff inside a video game. I mean, government is made up mostly of crusty white men, they grew up in times when pixels were bigger than our hands.
Kind of... I dunno, up to us to improve the climate of spending in video games?

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22 hours ago, Aegius_NaTL said:

And car companies offer a product with certainty - you know you are getting a car, and you know roughly what specs/history it has. If you want to believe your Mustang is a mini GT, go for it. If you grow up playing Need for Speed and want to outfit your Toyota with a body kit to look like an Aston, sure, do it. There's nothing terribly deceptive or wrong about any of that. But the nature of gacha is to encourage you to continuously spend money because the company withholds details about what you are receiving and applies practices to encourage continuous spending. It is purposefully made to be ambiguous and sometimes even misleading. Car marketing (and marketing in general) can be misleading, ambiguous, and deceptive as well. But the nature of the product is generally certain, and the potential for addiction is not present.

You might not think cars can be addicting, but people do spend exorbitant sums of money on cars. $1,000 a year on a gacha game is nothing compared to aftermarket upgrades on cars that can go into multiples of thousands of dollars. There is also a boom in auto sales right now due to low interest rates and better financing deals, and people have been going for more expensive cars over cheaper cars.

Just because the nature of the product is certain does not mean it cannot be addictive, and I do not think product certainty has any correlation to addictiveness. When you buy drugs from a drug dealer, you are pretty certain of what you will get, and drugs can be addictive.

22 hours ago, Aegius_NaTL said:

And car companies offer a product with certainty - you know you are getting a car, and you know roughly what specs/history it has. If you want to believe your Mustang is a mini GT, go for it. If you grow up playing Need for Speed and want to outfit your Toyota with a body kit to look like an Aston, sure, do it. There's nothing terribly deceptive or wrong about any of that. But the nature of gacha is to encourage you to continuously spend money because the company withholds details about what you are receiving and applies practices to encourage continuous spending. It is purposefully made to be ambiguous and sometimes even misleading. Car marketing (and marketing in general) can be misleading, ambiguous, and deceptive as well. But the nature of the product is generally certain, and the potential for addiction is not present.

I agree that gacha machines do not encourage addictive behavior on the same scale as gacha games, but the fact that gacha machines are also uncertain means that uncertainty is less correlated to addiction than people think.

Physical loot boxes, Kinder Joy, LEGO's collectible minifigures, etc. all have uncertainty in their products, and that uncertainty is what makes those products appealing since you get a surprise each time. I would not call any these addictive either.

22 hours ago, Aegius_NaTL said:

TCGs probably should be regulated to some degree, if there is a problem. But I have a few ideas regarding why it is not immediately pressing/dangerous. Since the TCG market is pretty small compared to gacha, the conversation revolves around the far more sizable and growing market. And the act of playing a TCG is not really addictive on a general scale - the games are made to be played with a skill-level in mind. The way gacha operates is far more nefarious and large-scale. The fundamental design of a gacha game is to push the user to keep spending money. While you can spend a decent bit of cash on TCGs, their inherent goal is to facilitate a skill-based game.

Again, TCGs might not be addictive to you, but it is still has a massive following. Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokémon has had immense success in translating their physical card game into a digital one. Besides ban lists and card release schedules, the only primary difference between the physical and digital formats is that you cannot obtain cards from a secondary market.

In my opinion, the success of gacha games has less to do with "nefariousness" and more to do with ease of access and lower barrier of entry.

And I definitely do not agree with regulating physical TCGs at all.

22 hours ago, Aegius_NaTL said:

Learn about resource management and gain patience? There are games designed by teachers and learning experts that do that - this is not that. Are you really suggesting the use of gacha games to teach kids about resource management and patience? The entire point of these games is to goad the player into acquiring more digital resources via real money purchasing, because the games wear down your patience in all the ways that their market research and clinical psychologists tell them will be effective.

Yes. Games designed by teachers and learning experts are not exactly fun nor engaging. Games made by actual game developers can grab children's attention in ways teachers and educators never can. I learned more about history on my own than school ever taught me, and that is due in part to video games driving that interest and curiosity.

The entire point of all businesses is to goad customers into spending money. Gacha game developers are no different than regular companies in this regard. Apple has a cult following, and I do not see anyone complaining about that. Apple products are not definitely not better than their competitors, and I would argue that it is generally worse for the average user due to restrictions from having a really closed system.

22 hours ago, Aegius_NaTL said:

Even if you forget about children, these games are made to be addictive. A few posts up, someone shares that they've spent "at least $500" on gacha in the last month, that they know it's sort of wrong, but they can't stop doing it. This is a singular case, but it is representative of behavior for a significant amount of people. In this case, it sounds like everything is mostly OK and the person is not overextending themselves financially (and I don't mean to levy genuine addiction accusations on them - but this highlights the genre's designedly addictive nature).

I have personally spent probably close to $10,000 over the last several years on Fire Emblem Heroes, although the bulk of my spending was in the first year. That may seem excessive to you, but I am fine with it.

I can just as easily say any hobby is addictive by pointing to hard core fans spending thousands of dollars on something. A two thousand point army in Warhammer 40,000 can easily cost around $1,000, and for hard core collectors who have been building their armies over the years, that could easily go up tens of thousands.

And going back to the car example, I can just as easily say that people spending $70,000 or $80,000 are being duped by car companies when a $20,000 or $30,000 model will easily do for regular every day driving. Hell, I can even argue car companies convincing people to buy new cars are completely immoral and killing the planet, and people should go buy used cars instead for an even cheaper price.

Edited by XRay

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17 hours ago, XRay said:

You might not think cars can be addicting, but people do spend exorbitant sums of money on cars. $1,000 a year on a gacha game is nothing compared to aftermarket upgrades on cars that can go into multiples of thousands of dollars. There is also a boom in auto sales right now due to low interest rates and better financing deals, and people have been going for more expensive cars over cheaper cars.

Just because the nature of the product is certain does not mean it cannot be addictive, and I do not think product certainty has any correlation to addictiveness. When you buy drugs from a drug dealer, you are pretty certain of what you will get, and drugs can be addictive.

"There are problems in X area" does not mitigate the fact that "there are problem in Y area." And if you really want to keep up this comparison: the nature of the auto market is inherently more expensive. Cars are more expensive than video games; it doesn't take a mathematician or economist to surmise that car "addiction" (or whatever you're referring to) is a more costly endeavor (on average) than participating in gacha. That said, you've spent more on gacha than I did on my last car, so your example is not totally accurate. I guess I had one of those "plebeian brands" that you noted before. Maybe I'll upgrade to "low end luxury" one of these days.

We can go back and forth with anecdotes about what people spend money on, but quoting random industries' marketing practices doesn't negate the nefariousness of gacha.

And 'uncertainty' is a component of the addiction for gacha, not the entire definition.

17 hours ago, XRay said:

I agree that gacha machines do not encourage addictive behavior on the same scale as gacha games, but the fact that gacha machines are also uncertain means that uncertainty is less correlated to addiction than people think.

Physical loot boxes, Kinder Joy, LEGO's collectible minifigures, etc. all have uncertainty in their products, and that uncertainty is what makes those products appealing since you get a surprise each time. I would not call any these addictive either.

The fact that gacha machines are uncertain and don't have the same addictive potential as digital games does not affirm a lack of correlating relationship. Uncertainty alone doesn't constitute addiction, but it is undeniably one of various tools that are used to facilitate addiction the case of gacha gaming.

17 hours ago, XRay said:

Again, TCGs might not be addictive to you, but it is still has a massive following. Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokémon has had immense success in translating their physical card game into a digital one. Besides ban lists and card release schedules, the only primary difference between the physical and digital formats is that you cannot obtain cards from a secondary market.

In my opinion, the success of gacha games has less to do with "nefariousness" and more to do with ease of access and lower barrier of entry.

And I definitely do not agree with regulating physical TCGs at all.

The lack of barrier of entry for sure is a big reason for gacha's market size. No doubt there.

The point of a TCG is not to facilitate addictive behavior; at least, that's not how it started and was treated over the last few decades. Yes, TCG and all businesses also want you to spend your money on their product/service. We can reiterate this point in every post, but it is not the same thing as purposefully designing a service that produces and cultivates addictive behavior on the scale that gacha does.

The point of gacha is to encourage recurring purchases and addictive behavior. That is not the fundamental purpose of TCG. TCG (namely, digital) and gacha have blurred in the last 5 years or so, and I don't know enough about the individual IPs or games to say which are genuinely trying to be a TCG vs. which are gacha in disguise.

My suggestion for regulation would be for these digital TCGs that lean into gacha mechanics. 

17 hours ago, XRay said:

Yes. Games designed by teachers and learning experts are not exactly fun nor engaging. Games made by actual game developers can grab children's attention in ways teachers and educators never can. I learned more about history on my own than school ever taught me, and that is due in part to video games driving that interest and curiosity.

The entire point of all businesses is to goad customers into spending money. Gacha game developers are no different than regular companies in this regard. Apple has a cult following, and I do not see anyone complaining about that. Apple products are not definitely not better than their competitors, and I would argue that it is generally worse for the average user due to restrictions from having a really closed system.

First point, is your conjecture. And you're probably mostly wrong anyway. The point of making a game as a learning tool for a child is to make learning fun and engaging for the child. Not sure why these games aren't made by "actual developers" according to you, but purely recreational games are not substitutes for learning tools. You can still learn from purely recreational games, certainly. And btw, many "actual game developers" have also worked on non-gaming projects - that includes learning games. Software devs often have various experiences throughout their career - Larian for example, has made several children's/learning games in addition to their Divinity series.

Yes, I know: businesses want to earn money and marketing exists. You're saying, "it's all business, anything goes." But the government disagrees regarding behavior that is addictive and destructive. It's a false equivalence to suggest marketing an iPhone is exactly the same as the meticulously abusive mechanics that constitute gacha.

Apple products are a fad though, I agree there. I do complain about that, but most people don't want to hear it. Apple's stringent management of their environment is off-putting, and more problematically, it presents problems for the customer/user (like having to go through a stupidly workaroundy process to install apps on my iPod). I tolerate my iPod Touch, but for something like a phone or computer, I'd never bind myself to Apple's chains.

17 hours ago, XRay said:

I have personally spent probably close to $10,000 over the last several years on Fire Emblem Heroes, although the bulk of my spending was in the first year. That may seem excessive to you, but I am fine with it.

I can just as easily say any hobby is addictive by pointing to hard core fans spending thousands of dollars on something. A two thousand point army in Warhammer 40,000 can easily cost around $1,000, and for hard core collectors who have been building their armies over the years, that could easily go up tens of thousands.

And going back to the car example, I can just as easily say that people spending $70,000 or $80,000 are being duped by car companies when a $20,000 or $30,000 model will easily do for regular every day driving. Hell, I can even argue car companies convincing people to buy new cars are completely immoral and killing the planet, and people should go buy used cars instead for an even cheaper price.

No, you can't just as easily say any hobby is addictive to the same degree. Again, you are suggesting this is all equivalent. Gacha is not ubiquitous to selling a car or guitar or washing machine or whatever. It is equivalent to gambling. Any hobby could be addictive, depending on the person. But saying unregulated/unrestricted gambling is OK because collecting socks could be addictive too, isn't really a tenable defense.

Edited by Aegius_NaTL

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4 hours ago, Aegius_NaTL said:

We can go back and forth with anecdotes about what people spend money on, but quoting random industries' marketing practices doesn't negate the nefariousness of gacha.

And exactly what specific practices or combination of practices make it nefarious? Uncertainty itself is not nefarious.

4 hours ago, Aegius_NaTL said:

The point of gacha is to encourage recurring purchases and addictive behavior. That is not the fundamental purpose of TCG. TCG (namely, digital) and gacha have blurred in the last 5 years or so, and I don't know enough about the individual IPs or games to say which are genuinely trying to be a TCG vs. which are gacha in disguise.

I have not played digital versions of Magic, Pokémon, nor Yu-Gi-Oh, so I cannot say for certain, but as far as I can tell, there is no major difference between the physical TCG and the digital TCG. For Pokémon, I think you can buy boosters digitally, but a friend of mine who plays tells me that he earns most of his cards for free, and if he does plan to pay, he would buy the physical booster packs instead since those also come a code to redeem the booster pack digitally. So at least for Pokémon, it is no different from its physical TCG counterpart and it is not very different from gachas either.

If you can claim that the fundamental purpose of TCGs is not to milk customers for money, then I can claim gacha's fundamental purpose is not to milk customers for money either. Fire Emblem Heroes is a gacha game, and depending on the type of units and team composition you use, its PvE content can still be very challenging. Most PvP content is also relatively easy, but its premier PvP is far from easy and it is easily the most frustrating mode for most players. Even though you can spend money in Heroes, 99% of PvE content can be completed without spending a single dime. Outside of summoning your favorite characters, the only reason to spend money in Heroes is to do better in PvP content. That is pretty much it.

The only other gachas I remember dabbling in was Valkyrie Crusade and Armor Blitz. I do not have much attachment to any of their waifus and I do not care about their PvP modes, so I never felt the need to spend any money. Valkyrie Crusade's gameplay was pretty boring from what I remembered, as I am not that into card games, although its city building aspect is nice. Armor Blitz's gameplay was more engaging as it is similar to an RTS game, but you are not allowed to manually control your units, but you can help them out with support abilities.

5 hours ago, Aegius_NaTL said:

I do complain about that, but most people don't want to hear it.

Most people do not want hear others bashing their hobby or passions. Just because I do not like Apple's products and business practices means that what they are doing is any more greedy and nefarious than other companies.

5 hours ago, Aegius_NaTL said:

No, you can't just as easily say any hobby is addictive to the same degree. Again, you are suggesting this is all equivalent. Gacha is not ubiquitous to selling a car or guitar or washing machine or whatever. It is equivalent to gambling. Any hobby could be addictive, depending on the person. But saying unregulated/unrestricted gambling is OK because collecting socks could be addictive too, isn't really a tenable defense.

And just because gachas have elements of gambling does not mean it is gambling. Physical TCGs are far closer to gambling since you can actually make money off of reselling singles from packs. You cannot make money from gachas since stuff you get in them is tied your account, trading accounts is not exactly easy, and a secondary market for gachas is nearly non existent.

Almost no one goes into gacha games expect any kind of financial return. People who do gamble expect financial return in some amount; even if they do not expect to win money to net them a profit, they expect to win some money to make the losses less severe.

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Yeah gambling in video games is fine if it’s done a la in game casino which is what I thought this topic was about but the loot box angle definitely raises some concerns. 

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