Loot box is gambling or not ?

General Discussion
02/17/2018 04:23 AMPosted by FistWarrior
By legal definition, no (not yet at least).

From a psychological point though? Definitely. It uses the same "just one more try" mechanic that's present in slot machines and the like. Furthermore videogame companies sometimes hire psychologists to help implement these addicting, chance-based systems.

I kid you not.


Actually our mental response is closer to a crane game or mystery box.

Considering it's literally that, a mystery box. You are paying for an unknown reward from a set of items.

Yes, they do bring psychiatrists and the like to try to make it as enticing as possible.

Are loot boxes gambling? No. They are not gambling, you are not paying money at a chance at something. You are paying money for something period, that something just happens to have a variable desirability. Are lootboxes predatory and unhealthy? Maybe.

Extra Credits recently did a second video about them and I strongly recommend people check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Uha5c7hJdA

You guys act like they're the devil but I still ask you: How are they to maintain the servers and new content without a source of new income? I'd imagine the vast majority of this forum either A. Does not buy Lootboxes or B. Buys very few.

It's a very small percent of the player base that funds new content for the rest of us through the purchases of lootboxes. I for one, am fine with this "necessary evil" because at least it's cosmetic only. I have ways of earning these for free. Trust me, I have not paid a dime over my initial purchase of the game. I don't have the spare money for it.

Are there better systems out there for companies to maintain revenue so they can continue to support games like we the players demand they do in the modern age? Maybe, but lootboxes are PROVEN to pay.
While companies should be responsible for the products they put out, they should not be responsible for whatever flaws their customers may have.

If Blizzard had some campaign where they were deliberately targeting people with addictive personalities, maybe by cross referencing their list of players with a list of people who sought for help with gambling issues, then the blame lies on Blizzard.

However, the loot boxes are something that are advertised to all the player base, regardless of what level/rank or even how much they spent in the past. They are not advertising to a vulnerable sect of their player base and so no, they are not preying upon vulnerable customers.

This type of regulation may seem harmless but if you start applying the same mentality to other types of businesses, you'll start to see why it is flawed. Imagine if restaurants started to portion meals differently based upon your BMI because they were concerned for your health and didn't want to take advantage of the overweight. Or how about internet companies decide to limit how much data you can upload and download because they've found that after a certain point a customer tends to live an unhealthier lifestyle due to just sitting at the computer all day.

I have over 66% of the skins across the all heroes. I've gotten all the skins/emotes/victory poses/highlight intros that I wanted. It was not due to luck. I just saved up gold and only bought the loot that I really wanted. Whenever there was an event coming up, I would hold off on the weekly loot boxes until that event came out and yes I'd grind a bit. I'm not going to get all the new skins because I think we can agree that all the new skins that come out are not always the best. There tends to be 1~3 that really stand out and those are the ones that I'd be keeping my eyes out for.

I wish players would just look at how Blizzard had changed the loot box system since it first was released and at least give Blizzard the tiniest of smidgen of credit that yeah, they are trying to do what is best for the players.

Players complained about event specific items were completely rng based.
Blizzard changed the system so players can buy event specific items.

Players complained how rng led to massive duplicates.
Blizzard changed the system so loot boxes were less likely to give duplicates.

Players complained about how event specific loot was too expensive.
Blizzard allows you to buy event specific loot at regular prices, if you're willing to wait.

I mean honestly, put your own experiences aside for a minute and just consider how Blizzard has changed the loot box system. They are trying to keep the longevity of the game and keep the rarity of legendary items while trying to appease the player base as much as they can.

I think the question of whether the loot box system is rng aka gambling is moot. *It is gambling in my opinion* It is moot because you don't have to spend a dime and you can get the loot that you want. It's guaranteed. What is NOT guaranteed is whether you get the loot within the time frame that you'd like.
Its not, basically because its an option.

In poker you have to bet on your hand in order to play, literally and depending on how you play and some luck you will win or not.
In overwatch you just have an entry fee (paying the game) and then you can earn lootboxes, the game doesnt force you to spend money nor allows you to trade money/credits/goods ingame.

In order to ban an entire game for "gambling" that entire game has to be based on the premise that you have to invest money to win money/goods and thats not the case.
02/17/2018 03:55 AMPosted by Kilokami
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The problem with that is addiction is not something easily brushed aside or treated. Even a perfectly logical person can be consumed by addiction and its not easy to break or stop. Companies should be held to account as well as they are knowingly feeding these addictions which have ruined peoples lives. They are the proverbial drug dealers of the industry.

The consumer must be protected as well.

there are ways to protect the consumers that cant control themselves without mislabeling something and removing an entire form of transaction.

they can keep lootboxes and put in a limit of purchasable lootboxes per day or week. most people wont hit that limit but it will stop those who cant control themselves to a degree.
this wont stop them completely, but the fault should not be placed 100% on companies.


Alright then give me one good reason it should not be regulated, give me one.
02/17/2018 05:59 AMPosted by xeNNNNN
02/17/2018 03:55 AMPosted by Kilokami
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there are ways to protect the consumers that cant control themselves without mislabeling something and removing an entire form of transaction.

they can keep lootboxes and put in a limit of purchasable lootboxes per day or week. most people wont hit that limit but it will stop those who cant control themselves to a degree.
this wont stop them completely, but the fault should not be placed 100% on companies.


Alright then give me one good reason it should not be regulated, give me one.


Well pokemon, yu gi oh, magic, and sports cards are not regulated. Should they be? Is getting that shiny holo any different then getting that gold skin? Walmart is not going to tell you they think you have bought enough when you are at the till.
02/17/2018 05:05 AMPosted by Tillerz
02/17/2018 05:02 AMPosted by SAdTIREd
its not gambling because what you get on lootboxes is not game changing, purely cosmetics


Wrong. What you mean is: It's not pay-to-win.

Gambling:
1. play games of chance for money; bet.
2. take risky action in the hope of a desired result.

ye thats wat i meant its not p2w
02/17/2018 06:08 AMPosted by Dolph
02/17/2018 05:59 AMPosted by xeNNNNN
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Alright then give me one good reason it should not be regulated, give me one.


Well pokemon, yu gi oh, magic, and sports cards are not regulated. Should they be? Is getting that shiny holo any different then getting that gold skin? Walmart is not going to tell you they think you have bought enough when you are at the till.


I don't think the loot boxes are ultimately the problem. The game is the casino and the loot boxes are the gambling. When dealing with physical TCGs, you're missing the casino part which holds the manipulative aspects to trigger you into impulse purchases.
Where TGC is allowed to avoid the classification of gambling comes from the nature that a player is able to trade their cards with another player to either obtain cards to complete their collections, or to get specific cards they want, at cost of possible rares they've obtained. Technically still considered due to chance and luck on certain cards, but aren't under the same legislation.

The reason for preventing trading comes down to a loss within sales, and grey market sales for specific skins.

Currently, allot of specific items can be bought with credits, which arguably makes things trickier for newer players to get duplicates over the rather large collection of 'junk drops' (Sprays, Voicelines, etc)
If you want to replace the current lootbox system, why not invest into improving the credits system?
02/17/2018 03:58 AMPosted by RichC
You might be right. I guess I was speaking more for myself. I rarely want more than 1 skin from each event (usually a tank skin). But I can understand the frustration for those that want a lot of the new skin content.

I'll be happy if I loot the Zarya or Winston Skin (I will probably buy the Winston one with my coins). I always try to have 3-4K coins come event time so I know I will at least be able to get 1 skin I want (I usually only want 1).

I hope there's an item trading system. I got both skin that you wanted recently (Zarya & Winston) from 11 loot boxes that I bought. I would like to give those skins too you.
02/17/2018 05:24 AMPosted by niarBaD

Are loot boxes gambling? No. They are not gambling, you are not paying money at a chance at something. You are paying money for something period, that something just happens to have a variable desirability. Are lootboxes predatory and unhealthy? Maybe.


Except people get loot boxes with the specific intent of getting certain specific things from said boxes. In particular the legendary skins.

A friend of mine got upset cause he dropped money to get 50 event loot boxes and got 0 of the recent event skins. He did not even get any of the skins he wanted.

Everything else he got was trash to him. He pulled the arm on the one arm bandit and lost.

And the argument you are trying to push does not work. The reason why?

Because if it did work casinos would make it so that anytime you play a game and lost you still get a penny. You did not "lose" because you still got "something". Even if that something was effectively worthless.

But laws were made because that is a loophole, and so it does not matter if you get something. If you paid money and the result is random then it is gambling period. So by that alone loot boxes are gambling. Even the FTC agrees on that.

Explain loot boxes to any gambler, compulsive or otherwise, and they will tell you that yeah that is gambling.

My family members that went through Gamblers Anonymous to curb their gambling issues when I described the mechanics to them told me that it is gambling.

And you know what? There are other, better, more ethical ways of monetizing the game. Though there are also many who feel that games that go for a premium price to begin with should not have micro-transaction services. You paid a premium, so you should get everything the game has to offer.
It is, just it skirts around the laws of it with loopholes. Only reason it got attention is thanks to the idiots in EA who can't control their greed !@#$% and made bad pr after bad pr stunts.
They're not full on gambling but in a sense, they are gambling still. You're paying money (assuming you buy them) for a chance to get an item you want or get a bunch of useless crap that does nothing for you. On top of that, it triggers the same chemicals in your brain like actual gambling, which is what gets you addicted to opening more and more loot boxes, if you keep doing...

So, yes. I consider it gambling, and hate the practice of loot boxes in most games. I don't mind some games where loot boxes aren't as bad (such as only having good skins and giving NO DUPLICATES).
Depends on how you define it: Objectively or Subjectively?

Objectively is more “you got your money’s worth no matter the outcome. Thus you didn’t lose any worth.” If there’s no risk of losing worth (ie put in 1 dollar and get out 1 dollars worth of items) then it isn’t gambling.

Subjectively, however, is just that. Subjective. It’s entirely based on your opinion whether or not it was worth it. This is where the slope gets really slippery, as you could get 4 legendaries from one box, but if none of them are the one you want, the box was a waste.

Personally I view it as “I paid for 4 random items, I get 4 random items” but the emotional Subjective view is much more popular these days.
Depends on how you define it: Objectively or Subjectively?

Objectively is more “you got your money’s worth no matter the outcome. Thus you didn’t lose any worth.” If there’s no risk of losing worth (ie put in 1 dollar and get out 1 dollars worth of items) then it isn’t gambling.

Subjectively, however, is just that. Subjective. It’s entirely based on your opinion whether or not it was worth it. This is where the slope gets really slippery, as you could get 4 legendaries from one box, but if none of them are the one you want, the box was a waste.
You right. Loot boxes are gambling or not is based on player perspective. But what's really a gambling in this game? I would say Comp because if you win you get something & if you lose you lost something.

Personally I view it as “I paid for 4 random items, I get 4 random items” but the emotional Subjective view is much more popular these days.

You right, loot boxes are gambling or not is based on player perspective. But for me, Comp is the real gambling in this game because if you win you earn something & if you lose you lost something.
It is gambling.
It's not lootboxes-to-win, like EA did with SWBF2, so that kind of softens the "value" of the gamble in OW and makes it less of a requirement to actually play the game.

But that doesn't take away that, for certain people, it is still addictive and rewarding. They will think "huh, either several hours of play for lootboxes, OR spend money on it and get more lootboxes", and then choose the money option because it triggers their reward faster and more often.
But they likely won't get what they want, so they keep on buying, levelling, etc.
While in the end it's all meaningless anyway.

And yeah, if you're not susceptible to this, then you won't understand how people can get addicted to gambling. Same goes if you never tried drugs, you won't understand true addiction and it's easy to say "just quit it LOL". Psychological addiction like gambling still triggers a dopamine release in the brain which makes it addictive. And it requires a new, stronger hit over and over again.
Lootbox systems, no matter which game or WHAT you win with it, fuels that kind of addiction and it's just !@#$ty.

I'd much rather have money-for-credits which I can use to buy any skin I want, because at that point it becomes nothing more than microtransactions.
Which, mind you, I still hate. I hate the direction where gaming companies go to because it is nothing but greed and lazy game development. Least amount of work for the most income. It's "smart" from a business sense. But it ruins the gaming business in total.
02/17/2018 08:20 AMPosted by TankHunter
If you paid money and the result is random then it is gambling period.


It's not as simple as that otherwise as a previous poster mentioned, then almost all trading card packs would be considered gambling as well.

02/17/2018 08:20 AMPosted by TankHunter
You paid a premium, so you should get everything the game has to offer.


And you can get everything the game has to offer without spending a dime. With the exception of Blizz-con loot, there is not a single item you can name that you cannot obtain for free.
02/17/2018 09:33 AMPosted by Sephirath
02/17/2018 08:20 AMPosted by TankHunter
If you paid money and the result is random then it is gambling period.


It's not as simple as that otherwise as a previous poster mentioned, then almost all trading card packs would be considered gambling as well.

02/17/2018 08:20 AMPosted by TankHunter
You paid a premium, so you should get everything the game has to offer.


And you can get everything the game has to offer without spending a dime. With the exception of Blizz-con loot, there is not a single item you can name that you cannot obtain for free.


TCGs technically are regulated. Further they provide a multitude of alternative options for getting cards and mainly push for full on decks or individual cards to be bought.

On the other thing, these people believe there should be 0 micro-transactions for premium price games because they were bought at that price.

Also you cannot get everything the game has to offer without spending money. There is no way to earn OWL tokens to buy the OWL skins.
The funny thing is that if you play enough the system is set up so that you WILL get everything.....even when a new event comes out it prioritizes new items...like for this one I’m down to JUST skins left.....and I know that’s why people spend the money....BUT if you simply play the game you will eventually get nothing but duplicates and build up the money to buy them...

think most characters have about 90 items avaialable....I’ve only been playing a year (actually more like 6 months because I didn’t play from sept to January)...I have 70+ items for every single character and haven’t spent a dime on loot boxes....I’m expecting to have 9000+ tokens at the end of this event which is enough to buy the 3 new skins I’m missing if I really want to....might not even need to since there are like 2 weeks left..... next event will probably be no different

So is it gambling? No....but I just think it’s a poor way to spend money seeing as how you will eventually get it anyway

Now is it gambling in other games? Maybe....I don’t really play other games so I’m not sure if they use a similar system to overwatches....it is if it’s entirely luck based system....I look at something like rocket league where you have to spend money to even open the box’s....absolutely gambling....you’re not guaranteed anything
if you spend money to buy lootboxes hoping for a jackpot in legendaries, yes, its gambling, if you are getting em free for playing, its only random luck due you dont spend any cent on them.
02/17/2018 09:44 AMPosted by TankHunter
TCGs technically are regulated. Further they provide a multitude of alternative options for getting cards and mainly push for full on decks or individual cards to be bought.


But are they regulated under a gambling commission? I've tried looking it up but could not find any relevant information. Also, you can earn loot boxes by either playing the game and leveling or by doing the weeklies. You can also purchase any skin you're interested with in-game currency.

02/17/2018 09:44 AMPosted by TankHunter
On the other thing, these people believe there should be 0 micro-transactions for premium price games because they were bought at that price.

Also you cannot get everything the game has to offer without spending money. There is no way to earn OWL tokens to buy the OWL skins.


I stand correct on the OWL skins as well. However, given that they are not a part of the loot box table, as far as I am aware, just like the Blizz-con loot, I don't think they are a part of this discussion.

The discussion at hand was about how the loot boxes worked and to discuss about items that are not a part of the loot box table seems irrelevant.

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