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Incline The Death of Freemium? Microtransactions Under Global Scrutiny

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by Lahey, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. Lahey Laheyist Patron

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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    The past couple weeks have been interesting.

    What began as consumer outrage over a single shitty game's microtransactions has ballooned into industry-wide consternation as government officials from a range of countries announced investigations into current gaming monetisation practices by citing the behavioural science behind their design as predatory and exploitative, classifying them as a form of virtual gambling to be regulated under existing laws, out of reach from the children whom they're marketed towards.

    While this may seem a surprise, Archibald's studious Gamasutra scanning informs us of one analyst's ill-fated trials with ICPEN and the GDC dating to 2013. Even before EA's poor PR launched a thousand memes, the Washington Gambling Commission, British Gambling Commission, and Dutch Gambling Commission had been investigating links between microtransactions and gambling.

    Critical mass appears to have been reached with the latest high-profile fiasco, with Belgium's Minister of Justice Koen Geens declaring his opinion on the heels of his country's announced Gaming Commission investigation. French Senator Jérôme Durain followed by urging his country's Gambling Commission to open their own investigation. Hawaiian State Representative Chris Lee announced his intention to pursue the matter (which he clarified in a subsequent reddit post). Jarrod Wolfe, analyst in Australia's VCGLR compliance division, also shared his thoughts. Clickbait titles have done a disservice to the public by misconstruing these actions as journalists and youtubers alike compete for ad revenue. No investigation has finalized and no official statements have been issued aside from the UK's last month, whose response in turn cited their march 2017 position (pdf).

    This subject exceeds the scope of a single game or company, and could potentially change the landscape of the entire industry by making some business models such as freemium mobile games obsolete. Let this thread act as a dumping ground and place for discussion as events unfold.
     
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  2. Santander02 Arcane

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    While I would love nothing more than seeing companies that deliberately try to get minors addicted to their disgusting pay to win schemes to crash and burn, the most I can hope for is for for games with the most overt shit like lootbox progression to be stamped with an 18+ "Contains Real Gambling" rating, forcing publishers to limit themselves to cosmetic stuff and not base their gameplay around trying to get players to buy that shit if they want to market their games to teens.
     
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  3. DragoFireheart all caps, rainbow colors, SOMETHING.

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    Funny enough even the cosmetic stuff might get labeled as gambling. We could see the model of design die shortly.
     
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  4. Tehdagah Arcane

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    I doubt anything will happen, the mobile market is already too big. Better luck trying to ban alcohol.
     
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  5. Archibald Arcane

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    Well from my understanding they'd hit only stuff like lootboxes where you have to pay certain amount of shekels for a chance to get something useful. Things like direct micro-transactions where you get specific item that you want should, probably, be fine.

    Thou honestly my biggest fear is that some "smart" publishers/developers will try to add additional layer to obfuscate things - hey buy this premium currency that you will transform into this another currency for which you'll buy lootboxes, but you ain't paying real money for lootboxes directly so its totally not gambling. Or something similar, in such case regulators, I suppose, might get mad and fuck up entire freemium model.
     
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  6. Lahey Laheyist Patron

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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    The problem with relying on rating systems is that parents often ignore them, and unlike violence or sexual content where no links have been scientifically proven between games and irl behaviour, games are designed to be addictive. This isn't a secret, Sid Meier even did a GDC talk on how to utilize psychology in design. Reward loops are central to many of my favourite games and design discussions often revolve around this concept. This isn't inherently a bad thing until money is substituted for exp/timers and kids rack up thousands of dollars from in-app purchases. Mobile games and digital distribution are also difficult territory for rating systems because there's no cashier to deny the sale. Parents are ultimately responsible with or without updated rating systems but I don't see that approach having any real impact.

    EDIT: I agree that this is likely all we can hope for unfortunately, though that Belgian fellow seems to want more.
     
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  7. mondblut Arcane

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    What's wrong with gambling? If fools are willing to pay, they should be fleeced raw.

    It's not like those shit games will get any less shittier, so the least they can do is make some subhuman retards poorer.
     
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  8. Lahey Laheyist Patron

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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Gambling isn't the problem, it's dressing the gambling up in different clothes to skirt gambling laws where the problem lies. The whole point of these investigations is to apply existing laws, not create new ones.
     
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  9. Hobo Elf Arcane

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    Fools are one thing, but exploiting mentally ill people is another. Putting the burden of a game's success entirely on a small group of people who suffer from a mental illness is scummy, and that's exactly what they are doing. Microtransactions aren't made for people who can moderate themselves and only buy something like it once or twice, because there's no profit in that. Microtransactions are made for the odd outlier who will spend thousands of dollars/euros.

    Regulating the gambling won't indeed make the shit games get any less shittier, but it will make the majority of them go away, since people are in it only for the loophole that is running a gambling racket without any of the regulation like literally all other forms of gambling have.
     
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  10. Cael Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

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    Underaged kids.

    Real ones, not mentally stunted SJWs.
     
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  11. mondblut Arcane

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    Think of muh childrun!

    Fuck the little pests, I refuse to let them ruin the fun for us adults. Keep them chained in a basement.

    Gambling needs no laws or regulations, and I applaud those who found loopholes around this socialist meddling.
     
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  12. Deflowerer Arcane

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    Thing is, the loot boxes and other microtransactions form increasingly bigger revenue share. I don't think 60 bucks AAA games, moreso from public companies, is a viable strategy going forward without loot boxes and other microtransactions.

    Which is great. Let that trash burn.
     
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  13. Morality Games Arcane Patron

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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Alien (Government) vs Predator (Gaming industry).

    Whoever loses, we win.
     
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  14. Cael Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

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    You only get to say that if you do not have children AND are incapable/no longer capable of having one... snipsnip!
     
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  15. Lahey Laheyist Patron

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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Or if Mondblut is ancap or God forbid, an abbo.
     
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  16. FeelTheRads Arcane Patron

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    Fuck the children and fuck these companies, how about that?

    If parents don't want children spending their money they should fucking take care of them. All too often things are ruined for adults because of "muh children". Not that this would be one of those cases, but if you use children as motivation, technically what's the difference between this and "durr stop violent gaems!!11"
    Mentally ill people are another thing, but would you really want something taken from you just to protect mentally ill people? Seriously, would you?

    This is about huge, greedy corporations with scummy business practices that are targeted so one can't help but feel good especially when those corporations deal in something you enjoy (video games in this case). Sorry, I don't buy this oh so pure and moral bullshit. You like it when people you hate get fucked, it's cool, everybody does.
     
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  17. Cael Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

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    This has already been addressed above the other thread.
     
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  18. adrix89 Savant

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    Why are there so many of my country here?
    The problem is everything is becoming this shit games, even indie games.
    Its a crutch that gives short term success in exchange for shitting everything up.
    :gd:
     
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  19. Maxwell's Demon Arcane

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    Call me when they declare Diablo-style itemization within paid subscription games gambling. We won't see any serious change in the industry before then.
     
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  20. mondblut Arcane

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    What is this newspeak, I don't even. I am a classical social-darwinist nursed by Nietzsche and Ragnar Redbeard.

    Who? I don't remember ever being a bishop anywhere in France.
     
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  21. Lambach Arcane

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    [​IMG]

    Literally mondblut - the meme. :salute:
     
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  22. mondblut Arcane

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    FTFY.
     
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  23. Cael Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

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    If you are going to quote, at least quote what I actually said, and don't put words in my mouth like some retarded SJW.
     
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  24. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

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    That and taxes. Governments usually just want their own share when it comes to abusing the weak minded. Here in france, gambling taxes are really sky high so there is a chance they would kill micro transactions the way they killed online poker by "authorizing" it (and taking a share of 2% on each pot ...).
     
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  25. Deflowerer Arcane

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    I think you underestimate how these monetization schemes influence game design and even greenlighting games.
     
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