Micro-transactions, Gacha Mechanics, Virtual Currency & Loot Boxes Are Ruining Video Game Culture

#1
When it comes to micro-transactions and gambling mechanism in video games, some might argue that it's not a big deal because people have a choice to simply ignore them. What many of these people seem to forget is that many game publishers seek to push their audience into accepting these mechanisms. Nowadays micro-transactions have become a normality for most triple-A games with the few exceptions in between being lauded as especially virtuous. Not many years ago, these exceptions were considered standard within the gaming landscape. That's how far the current situation with micro-transactions, gacha mechanics, loot boxes and gambling has eroded.

Behavioral theory would dictate that certain behaviors are acquired through repeated interaction, i.e. conditioning. Given enough time and repetitions, these behaviors turn into habits or passive reflexes produced by a response to certain stimuli. Therefore, strict behaviorists believe that any person can potentially be trained to perform any task, it merely requires the right conditioning.

By inserting these unwelcomed mechanics into most of their catalog, game publishers are trying to make these things an accepted normality through the behavioral conditioning of habit. When in the past, these mechanisms would cause major outrage within the gaming community, nowadays even us older gamers have grown used to them. We've long stopped to complain and even if we don't like these mechanisms, we've certainly grown complacent to them. So complacent in fact that many of us have ultimately ended up accepting them.

When I stumbled upon a video with Jack Black talking about his son spending $3000 on in-game currency, the thought struck me that game publishers are not targeting the current audience, they are targeting the next generation of gamers.


A younger generation that grew up on these mechanism, that did not have much of a chance to witness an age of gaming where these practices were largely unknown. In a certain sense, game publishers are conditioning young gamers to use and accept these mechanisms through repeated exposure and habit.

Jim Sterling once did a video on the appalling practices that game publishers put into on of their video games, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, a game targeted at children.


Now hear me out, I'm not construing some overly sentimental "won't somebody think of the children" argument here. I just think that children growing up on these games, will not consider the dangers of micro-transactions and gacha mechanics as much as we do and the certainly won't be as critical towards them as most of us seasoned gamers. Just take a look at Sterling's video and tell me if these practices are befitting not only a video game publisher but also a producer of other children's entertainment and media.

Certainly, parents have a certain responsibility to bear, but can we truly expect them to turn into helicopter parents, watching their children's each and every move? I don't think so. Do you honestly think that a couple of serious talks between child and parent will stem the tide against hours upon hours of repeated interaction, behavioral practice and habit? Consider this, you would never let your child enter a casino and play roulette, but at the same time we let these practices enter our households via the games we play. We let publishers put these mechanisms into our games, slowly conditioning younger audiences into accepting them as normal. If culture can be somewhat simplistically summed up as "the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people", we cannot deny that these practices will change gaming culture as whole.


Micro-transactions and gacha mechanics also transform the way hoe we play these games. In order to make these transactions palatable to the common gamer, they need to be supported by the game's mechanics. In other words, gameplay dictates the attractiveness of these financial interactions. No matter if the game is "play to win" or not, developers and publishers will design their games around these considerations even influencing those who try their best to ignores these mechanisms. If you need to pay to make the grind more bearable, this means that the gameplay is deliberately designed to be boring otherwise nobody would pay for these services.

The parental responsibility notwithstanding, we cannot ignore the fact that game publishers bear a certain responsibility too. If parents wouldn't allow their children to visit a casino, so do have casinos the responsibility to not let minors enter their premises. Even worse, we now have game publishers actively fighting regulations that might impact their financial practices. EA is planning to go to court in order to fight the Belgian ban on loot boxes, for example. And 2K is politically mobilizing their audience begging their Belgium customers to fight for loot boxes.

When it comes to mobile gaming, I think the main reason why these games have such a bad reputation is because those games are riddled with these practices. Mobile is still a young media platform that has never known a place in time where micro-transactions, sh*tty gacha mechanisms and virtual currency weren't a thing. It's not the gamers who are responsible for their bad reputation, but the developers and publishers who normalized these things on mobile.

I'm a libertarian at heart, but I cannot deny the fact that certain regulations might be necessary to protect what we as gamers value about our hobby and our culture as a whole. Regulating these practices will not diminish our liberty as gamers, they will in fact protect them! I don't want publishers to target the next generation of gamers, having serious doubts if I even want to support a developer or publisher that is seriously trying to make these practices a necessary evil. I'm not calling for a boycott, but these thoughts will certainly make me reconsider whether I'll jump the gun on my next game or not.
 
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#2
Why "ruining video game culture"? Changing it would be more appropriate.

Gaming is bigger than ever, reaching more people and media outlets than ever before so I wouldn't consider it ruined.
 

Skyn3t

...still waiting to become self-aware
#4
You forgot about DLCs, earlier access Ultimate Editions for 80+ bucks, season passes, VIP privileges etc. The publishers are milking us from every possible side. I miss the times, when you bought a complete product. Nothing against meaningful add-ons like both DLCs for GTA IV, but heavily against pre-order bonuses and shit that should be obtainable only in game by simply playing it.
 
#6
I worry that the only way to combat a lot of these problems is going to be a flat increase on the base prices of games in the "next generations", whatever that even means at this point. I worry because even though video games right now are actually cheap considering what they used to cost and inflation, a lot of consumers are going to be outraged at the idea of $70-80 video games. This seems to be the main justification for a lot of this auxiliary profiteering.
 

Mr Nash

square pies = communism
#7
While the publishers are the ones making these games, I wonder what can be done to change the behavior of the whales that enable it. As long as there is a subset of people with thick wallets that don't mind throwing money at these things, these sort of games won't disappear. How do we deal with that?
 
#8
I never buy games that are riddled with MTX, paywalls or in some ways are designed around "games as a service" bullshit where the publishers cuts content just so that they can dish it out in portions during each year. I research a lot to find out which games have these mechanics so I can skip them. I also never buy games at launch nowadays since most games (the AAAs at least) are incomplete or gets additional DLC along the way. I always buy complete editions. I will never give my money to these fucking vultures and if that means I have to wait a year or two to play these games then so be it. I think this approach is the only viable one if you want this to change.
 
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#9
Nah , I’ve always hated when people try to push the blame of responsibility from the actual people being irresponsible.

If people didn’t like lootboxes or micro transactions it wouldn’t be a thing.

Games are much longer and packed with more content than ever before. There is only a very few instances where it seems actual content was cut for micro transactions.

The only time in the close modern era I can think of where people forced their opinions for the “ greater good “ was prohibition and that was completely silly self righteous close mindedness.
 
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#10
I worry that the only way to combat a lot of these problems is going to be a flat increase on the base prices of games in the "next generations", whatever that even means at this point. I worry because even though video games right now are actually cheap considering what they used to cost and inflation, a lot of consumers are going to be outraged at the idea of $70-80 video games. This seems to be the main justification for a lot of this auxiliary profiteering.
When video games reach $70-80, I'm out. At least on console; hopefully PC prices will still be reasonable/have more sales.
 
#11
I worry that the only way to combat a lot of these problems is going to be a flat increase on the base prices of games in the "next generations", whatever that even means at this point. I worry because even though video games right now are actually cheap considering what they used to cost and inflation, a lot of consumers are going to be outraged at the idea of $70-80 video games. This seems to be the main justification for a lot of this auxiliary profiteering.
When software prices do inevitably increase— and that could happen as soon as when Gen9 starts next year— DLC and microtransactions aren’t going anywhere. Post-purchase and recurring revenue are standard metrics now and shareholders demand them.

It’s nice to think back to the days when games wete WYSIWYG, one price for the whole thing— but, at least in the AAA space, those days are long, long dead. Even Nintendo has forsaken the notion in favor of DLC.
 
#13
"But they can be ignored" is only temporarily true.

Does anyone know why beat 'em ups died as a genre? I can tell you. It's because they were one of the most egregious genres for munching quarters, even moreso than shmups or fighting games. This was offset by the graphics and the glitz and the visceral simplicity.

But as more of these games made their way to home consoles, they either had to reward your skill or get ignored in favor of better titles. TMNT 4 and Streets of Rage are significantly better than what was available in arcades at the time because they were balanced. The business model infected the beat 'em up genre itself and chased them out of arcades. My evidence is that beat 'em ups peaked in the early 90s (91-92) and fell off a cliff whereas shmups and fighting games survived into the late 90s.

There will be a snap-back, even among the younger gamers. Everyone is stupid and exploitable when they are young. These companies are banking on the threadbare goodwill from existing fans to tide them over as they transition to the 'new audience', resting on the gamble that the growth of profit from the new audience will outpace the loss of existing fans. The surge of mobile gaming is artificially inflated by the emergence of new markets (China) and retreating markets (Japan) which emboldens them to keep doing it. But they're not finding new audiences. They're just riding the wave of emerging markets.

These same companies will watch their customers vanish. The "casual" late 90s / early 00s boom on PC (The Sims and Rollercoaster Tycoon), and again in mid-00s (integrated Facebook games like Farmville and Nintendo DS 'Touch Generation' titles), and again in the late 00s (Nintendo Wii) serve as our pattern.

My advice is to buy your retro stuff now even if it's merely an investment to sell off later. The kids buying mobile games now will want to buy those games when they are older because they'll have disposable income.
 
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#14
eh, I think the indie glory days we're in offsets this for the most part. If you're a knowledgeable consumer there's tons of good shit to play

that said, seems this stuff is infecting high budget games too much, which is a shame. MGS5, assassins creed, FIFA, have all been tainted to different degrees.
 
#15
Publishers care about ratings. I think part of the issue is that the presence of MTX and gambling based mechanics does not affect the age rating of a game. Make those aspects influence the rating, and label them in the game boxes, and you'll less of it in the future.
Indeed, I think that gambling mechanics and virtual-currency that's linked to real life money should get and age restriction. At least it would ensure that these practices are kept away from the younger audiences.

I worry that the only way to combat a lot of these problems is going to be a flat increase on the base prices of games in the "next generations", whatever that even means at this point.
To be honest, I wouldn't mind paying a little bit more upfront for a game that gives me the full package. It's why I prefer GOTY editions over early purchases.

The surge of mobile gaming is artificially inflated by the emergence of new markets (China) and retreating markets (Japan) which emboldens them to keep doing it. But they're not finding new audiences. They're just riding the wave of emerging markets. [...] The kids buying mobile games now will want to buy those games when they are older because they'll have disposable income.
I wish I could be as optimistic, but I don't expect the next generation of gamers to be very resilient to these practices simply because they never experienced gaming differently. They don't really have anything to compare, contrary to more seasoned gamers.

When it comes to retro gaming, I think that the few who will be collecting games will feel more nostalgic towards the games that they are playing today as kids and not the 8-bit classics that we've grown to love.

The only time in the close modern era I can think of where people forced their opinions for the “ greater good “ was prohibition and that was completely silly self righteous close mindedness.
I'm not arguing for prohibition, I'm arguing for regulation. That's a big difference.

eh, I think the indie glory days we're in offsets this for the most part.
Indeed, indie games are a worthy alternative, unfortunately they'll always be a product for niche audiences.
 
#16
Nah , I’ve always hated when people try to push the blame of responsibility from the actual people being irresponsible.

If people didn’t like lootboxes or micro transactions it wouldn’t be a thing.

Games are much longer and packed with more content than ever before. There is only a very few instances where it seems actual content was cut for micro transactions.

The only time in the close modern era I can think of where people forced their opinions for the “ greater good “ was prohibition and that was completely silly self righteous close mindedness.
Ah the obligatory hypocrite of the thread.

People don't produce the games, they don't make the decision, they don't market it...they simply take what the publisher offers, or rather forces on them, like in politics, in medias, in food etc...sure they each have a tiny bitty slight of responsibility in accepting, but when there's an arrangement from all the major publishers to devise tactics of influencing, imposing if not force-feeding crap marketing technics, people didn't make the choice, they simply are "forced" to accepte unless they want to stop playing video games as a whole.

Oh in fact I just realise your post is so full of shit beyond degenerate in hypocrisy...I won't bother further.
 

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#17
Why "ruining video game culture"? Changing it would be more appropriate.

Gaming is bigger than ever, reaching more people and media outlets than ever before so I wouldn't consider it ruined.
This. It's only "ruined" if you think every game should cater to you. I'm a very old school gamer and I play retro games regularly. I understand that not every new game is going to be meant for me. With playstation and PS2, the gaming world became a lot more mainstream and all the good and bad that came with flushed right in. Gaming is still awesome though, you just avoid the shit and enjoy the good stuff... Buy the games that actually do cater to you, support those companies and those games, and you will always have great new games to play...

Also fuck regulation and getting the government involved in my favorite hobby. How much of an asshole does one have to be to make it illegal for people to play games they like just because you don't like them? Just play the games you like and leave other games and their fans alone...
 
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#18
I wish I could be as optimistic, but I don't expect the next generation of gamers to be very resilient to these practices simply because they never experienced gaming differently. They don't really have anything to compare, contrary to more seasoned gamers.

When it comes to retro gaming, I think that the few who will be collecting games will feel more nostalgic towards the games that they are playing today as kids and not the 8-bit classics that we've grown to love.
The exploitation will continue for a long time, but I have to ask: what will prevent these players from "experiencing gaming differently" even if they grew up on iOS tablet games and shitty smartphone F2P online multiplayer stuff?

We have more videos, books, and more online sources to play these old games than ever before. We have more generations -- from the 70s onward -- who sing the praises of these old games. This would be like fearing that The Beatles or Chopin will pass away simply because the newer generations didn't grow up with them. The quality of gameplay for many of these older games still impresses me to this day. They are timeless.

Furthermore, the "retro" aesthetic is forever embedded into gaming culture. New gamers will always find symbolism and structures from decades ago in their new games because it is ubiquitous. Will these customers leap from a League of Legends clone to buying an SNES and a copy of Mega Man X? No, of course not. But neither did the people who were weaned on The Sims or Wii Sports. Those aren't the customers who can be converted over to "real gamers" (in a manner of speaking).

We will always have gamers who unwittingly play these crappy games. They can't help what they played as kids. Yet, if they hunger for more they will be all the more willing to hunt down the original (or comparable) experiences free from exploitive business models. I have nothing more than a hunch, but I expect the snap back will be even stronger directly due to these current practices. We are predisposing them to reject these models as they grow older. In the same way that gamers of the late 80s and 90s utterly rejected "quarter munching" gameplay in their home releases, these gamers will eventually reject "pay to win". Their hearts will be primed for "pure" games that rely on skill instead of money. Thrift is a universal human quality.

I don't think the gacha/microtransactions are good. They are damaging. But I see this as long-term damage done to the AAA industry itself, not to gaming culture. Maybe it's because I have my head stuck in a lot of older genres, but I see the younger audience trickling in to fighting games, Vs Puzzle, and shmups more and more in the little peripheral Discord communities from around the internet. These companies are chasing the wind to pay for their bloated bureaucracies.
 
#19
Ah the obligatory hypocrite of the thread.

People don't produce the games, they don't make the decision, they don't market it...they simply take what the publisher offers, or rather forces on them, like in politics, in medias, in food etc...sure they each have a tiny bitty slight of responsibility in accepting, but when there's an arrangement from all the major publishers to devise tactics of influencing, imposing if not force-feeding crap marketing technics, people didn't make the choice, they simply are "forced" to accepte unless they want to stop playing video games as a whole.

Oh in fact I just realise your post is so full of shit beyond degenerate in hypocrisy...I won't bother further.
You don’t need to play video games. You are not entitled to play video games. Not playing video games is not going to lower your quality of life.

It’s your choice. Your choices affects the market.

I don’t think you know what hypocritical means. It’s actually the people who spend money on micro transactions and loot boxes then turn around and complain about them that’s being hypocritical.
 
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#20
It's not ruining Gaming that's just the cost of games now a days.

They are beginning to rival Movie budgets, and some surpass it by a massive fucking margin, and it's hard to make your money on just $60.

Most companies can't bet on GTA V or RDR 2 levels of success it just doesn't happen like that.
 
#21
If its purely for cosmetics I'm ok with micro transactions. Or games which have stamina which you can purchase, I'm ok with that too, because its basically like going to the arcades like in the old days.
But when it starts getting in to that pay-to-win category, I really agree with you OP.

Especially the "Gacha" stuff is disgusting. I use to play a specific mobile game, but after the App Store created a new guidelines to disclose the drop rates, my jaw dropped.
Rare monster drop rate being 0.4% each. Its under 1%. And you know how much it costs for 10 pull?

Thats not gaming. Thats gambling.
 
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#22
This. It's only "ruined" if you think every game should cater to you. I'm a very old school gamer and I play retro games regularly. I understand that not every new game is going to be meant for me. With playstation and PS2, the gaming world became a lot more mainstream and all the good and bad that came with flushed right in. Gaming is still awesome though, you just avoid the shit and enjoy the good stuff... Buy the games that actually do cater to you, support those companies and those games, and you will always have great new games to play...

Also fuck regulation and getting the government involved in my favorite hobby. How much of an asshole does one have to be to make it illegal for people to play games they like just because you don't like them? Just play the games you like and leave other games and their fans alone...
But it's not really as simple as ignore a game for it not "catering" to you. The OP's point is that these are exploitative business practices specifically targeting children. There are laws preventing children from gambling - how are some of these micro-transactions different from gambling that they should be exempt from those same laws?

Personally, I ultimately blame adults that support this and the parents who allow their kids to purchase all of this junk. There are mechanisms that parents can put into place to prevent their children from automatically buying whatever they want on their cell phones or tablets - why are their parents not controlling their children's spending on this shit? But I guess we also now seemingly live in a world where any problem someone has is always automatically someone else's fault instead of their own.

I'm iffy on regulation though. Mostly I just ignore this and never spend money on micro-transactions and only have purchased them for my children when they ponyed up the money themselves. Funny how some dumb Team Fortress 2 hat became much less desirable when you would actually have to spend your own money on it and not from your parents' endless wallets/purses.
 
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#23
But it's not really as simple as ignore a game for it not "catering" to you. The OP's point is that these are exploitative business practices specifically targeting children. There are laws preventing children from gambling - how are some of these micro-transactions different from gambling that they should be exempt from those same laws?
Yes, it is as simple as not playing games you don't like in the long run. The more you support games you like, the most those types of games will be made. You can ignore everything else...

As far as how micro transactions are different from gambling, it's because they aren't gambling for money, therefor it's not actually legally gambling. You'd have to ban pokemon cards, quarter machine capsule toys, and blind bag toys like shopkins in order to follow that logic to it's end. Also CHuck E Cheese and shit where you can win tickets to trade in for prizes. All that shit would have to banned in order to stay in line with the logic that lootboxes should be banned...

Personally, I ultimately blame adults that support this and the parents who allow their kids to purchase all of this junk. There are mechanisms that parents can put into place to prevent their children from automatically buying whatever they want on their cell phones or tablets - why are their parents not controlling their children's spending on this shit? But I guess we also now seemingly live in a world where any problem someone has is always automatically someone else's fault instead of their own.
Seems we agree here. All money spent on video game microtransactions is done digitally, meaning via credit card which only an 18 year old can use or a gift card, presumably purchased by an adult. Either way, it falls on the parents on how a child spends his money, not the government. We don't need two sets of parents to teach us responsibility...

I'm iffy on regulation though. Mostly I just ignore this and never spend money on micro-transactions and only have purchased them for my children when they ponyed up the money themselves. Funny how some dumb Team Fortress 2 hat became much less desirable when you would actually have to spend your own money on it and not from your parents' endless wallets/purses.
I'm not even sure why you responded to me when we seem to agree on everything lmfao. I guess just to clear up what's legally gambling and what isn't?
 
#24
Also fuck regulation and getting the government involved in my favorite hobby. How much of an asshole does one have to be to make it illegal for people to play games they like just because you don't like them? Just play the games you like and leave other games and their fans alone...
How about fuck the video game industry for refusing to regulate itself, thus empowering governments to step in and do it instead? This is 100% the industry’s fault, full stop.

Video games are big business. If you police yourself, you’re less likely to attract attention. If you instead decide that you’re bulletproof and can do whatever the fuck you want, despite growing outcry from consumers and gradually increasing attention from lawmakers... then you screwed yourself, and I have less than zero sympathy for you.

It’s not hard. Sometimes you need to dial shit back when the fire gets hot instead of doubling down. But “wanting all of the money” often means excessive greed that leads to poor decision-making. The video game industry isn’t this juggernaut that it thinks it is and can run roughshod over lawmakers. Getting slapped down is necessary sometimes to restore some balance and much-needed sanity.
 
#25
Gaming is still awesome though, you just avoid the shit and enjoy the good stuff... Buy the games that actually do cater to you, support those companies and those games, and you will always have great new games to play...
The problem is though that it's becoming harder and harder to avoid the bad stuff, especially if every major game seems to be infused with these nickel & diming practices.

Also fuck regulation and getting the government involved in my favorite hobby. How much of an asshole does one have to be to make it illegal for people to play games they like just because you don't like them? Just play the games you like and leave other games and their fans alone...
This is not about me not liking certain games, it is about not appreciating certain parasitical practices that have become so common, they seemingly affect each and every major game you want to play. If companies refuse to play ball and keep expanding on their sh*tty monetization practices while treating their audience like mere wallets, somebody else will step in to keep their greedy behavior in check.

The exploitation will continue for a long time, but I have to ask: what will prevent these players from "experiencing gaming differently" even if they grew up on iOS tablet games and shitty smartphone F2P online multiplayer stuff?
People want to experience the "new" stuff, that's just human nature. Especially younger gamers don't have the same sentimental attachment to retro games as we do. Nothing is preventing them from playing these games, but it's quite understandable that they want to experience the new games that are coming out. Quite understandably so, we can't expect the new generation of gamers to live in the past.

But I see this as long-term damage done to the AAA industry itself, not to gaming culture. Maybe it's because I have my head stuck in a lot of older genres, but I see the younger audience trickling in to fighting games, Vs Puzzle, and shmups more and more in the little peripheral Discord communities from around the internet. These companies are chasing the wind to pay for their bloated bureaucracies.
I consider the way how we acquire and purchase games to be as an integral part of gaming culture as the way how we play games. Much of our time is not only spent playing games, but also informing ourselves about new games in order to make informed consumer decisions.

But hey, it's nice to hear that younger gamers are finding their way to these communities, e-sports is becoming more and more popular too :)
 
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#27
I'm glad I have enough video game collection and emulators to fulfill my gaming needs in case all games in the future is gone mobile microtransaction hell.
 
#28
D
Nah , I’ve always hated when people try to push the blame of responsibility from the actual people being irresponsible.

If people didn’t like lootboxes or micro transactions it wouldn’t be a thing.

Games are much longer and packed with more content than ever before. There is only a very few instances where it seems actual content was cut for micro transactions.

The only time in the close modern era I can think of where people forced their opinions for the “ greater good “ was prohibition and that was completely silly self righteous close mindedness.
Do you spend money on loot boxes?

If you do spend money on them, would you prefer to pay for whatever you pay for or get them for free within the game itself?

If you do not spend money on them, why are you happy to enable them and keep them as a part of games? Were you gaming when games used to have skins as unlockables within the game? Did you know that online games in the past thrived due to the community and did not require extra money in the developers/publishers pockets to keep going? Games like Quake 3, Unreal Tournament and Counter-Strike. The community would host their own servers and create their own content and mods for the games. Why can't online games still be like this?
 

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#29
How about fuck the video game industry for refusing to regulate itself, thus empowering governments to step in and do it instead? This is 100% the industry’s fault, full stop.

Video games are big business. If you police yourself, you’re less likely to attract attention. If you instead decide that you’re bulletproof and can do whatever the fuck you want, despite growing outcry from consumers and gradually increasing attention from lawmakers... then you screwed yourself, and I have less than zero sympathy for you.

It’s not hard. Sometimes you need to dial shit back when the fire gets hot instead of doubling down. But “wanting all of the money” often means excessive greed that leads to poor decision-making. The video game industry isn’t this juggernaut that it thinks it is and can run roughshod over lawmakers. Getting slapped down is necessary sometimes to restore some balance and much-needed sanity.
The industry didn't bring any attention to itself, all this "refuse to regulate itself" rhetoric comes down to is "making too many games I don't like for too long!". They were "untouchable" because consumers were eating up their shit. This is really just a consumer vs. consumer issue and the only reason the government is involved is because the media and a bunch of internet blowhards shined a big bright light on it and BEGGED the government to get involved... Because apparently other people enjoying games you don't like is too much for society to handle...

The problem is though that it's becoming harder and harder to avoid the bad stuff, especially if every major game seems to be infused with these nickel & diming practices.
This is very true in some obvious ways but wrong in others. The indy scene is bigger and better than it has ever been and even some big AAA companies are marketing themselves as NOT being the scumbags that dare to make games you don't like... so really there's MORE than enough room in this industry for all of us with our different tastes...

This is not about me not liking certain games, it is about not appreciating certain parasitical practices that have become so common, they seemingly affect each and every major game you want to play. If companies refuse to play ball and keep expanding on their sh*tty monetization practices while treating their audience like mere wallets, somebody else will step in to keep their greedy behavior in check.
If a game has features in it that you don't like, and those features completely ruin the game for you, than it's a game you don't like. Avoid those, play games you do like instead. As far as keeping their greed in check, they are a business who recently found a new type of product that is very popular and making them a ton of money. You are just being bitter that not every game caters to you and instead caters to these "wallets". You pretend you are concerned for them but really you just want the star wars game that was catered to them to be catered to you instead. YOU are the one that is greedy, and gladly all the other people speaking with their wallets will keep you in check... again the government is not needed here either...
 
#32
I agree with the sentiment. The problem is that businesses are amoral, i.e., they have no morality. Some privately owned companies may be guided by moral standards, but those publicly traded companies are after profits at all costs in order to please shareholders. And if the CEO doesn't deliver the profits, they replace him (or her) with someone else who will.

I think the situation is similar to regulation relating to alcohol and tobacco. Those companies would gladly market their products to 14 year olds if they could. Regulation was necessary to limit the consumption of dangerous substances by minors and to limit their exposure to that type of marketing.

I think adults should be capable to choosing by themselves if they want to pay or not, that's why I think all games that include microtransactions should be automaticlaly rated AO (Adults Only). And since the defenders of microtransactions (some in this very thread) claim that they are not targeting children, then there should be no problem. Adults only would make no difference.
 
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#33
I agree with the sentiment. The problem is that businesses are amoral, i.e., they have no morality. Some privately owned companies may be guided by moral standards, but those publicly traded companies are after profits at all costs in order to please shareholders. And if the CEO doesn't deliver the profits, they replace him (or her) with someone else who will.

I think the situation is similar to regulation relating to alcohol and tobacco. Those companies would gladly market their products to 14 year olds if they could. Regulation was necessary to limit the consumption of dangerous substances by minors and to limit their exposure to that type of marketing.

I think adults should be capable to choosing by themselves if they want to pay or not, that's why I think all games that include microtransactions should be automaticlaly rated AO (Adults Only). And since the defenders of microtransactions (some in this very thread) claim that they are not targeting children, then there should be no problem. Adults only would make no difference.
I would argue that they are absolutely targeting kids, but there's no reason to rate the games AO unless there are actual gambling mechanics because that's usually restricted to adults. But I'd absolutely be fine with games with gambling mechanics to be rated AO, kids will still buy them anyway like they do with rated M games lol

Fortunately we're not seeing games with any serious gambling mechanics... well nothing that more like gambling than buying a pack of baseball cards anyways. But I'm fine with those being rated however as well, as ultimately ratings don't matter for shit...
 
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#36
And that's why it needs to be regulated. They are counting on getting children addicted to loot boxes and keep paying. The situation is very similar to alcohol and tobacco.
Unlike physically harmful addictive substances, video games don't need to be regulated. Parents are more than capable of deciding how their kids spend their money. Also let's drop the "think of the children" argument, you're not actually concerned about them, you're concerned about whether the next star wars game will be good or a moneysink...
 
#37
Unlike physically harmful addictive substances, video games don't need to be regulated. Parents are more than capable of deciding how their kids spend their money. Also let's drop the "think of the children" argument, you're not actually concerned about them, you're concerned about whether the next star wars game will be good or a moneysink...
By your own admission, they are targeting children.

This does cause addiction similar to gambling, because the psychological mechanisms in the brain are the same (that's why they are often referred to as predatory). That's precisely why gambling is outlawed in some places and limited to adults in others. Having games be AO would solve all problems. Adults would be able to buy them if they chose to do so, and parents would be warned about the possible dangers.

Why are you against such an idea? It seems logical to me.
 
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#39
I never minded and even bought a bunch of cosmetic microtransactions.... until they started with the loot boxes and gacha crap.
I bought some Skins for LOL and I also have a paid car in Rocket league. LOL is free and had given me dozens of hours of fun and Rocket League is paid but was being supported with new maps, modes, special events, etc so I didn't mind.

Sadly the norm now is not paying a couple of bucks for a specific cosmetic item that you like but rather paying a couple of bucks for a 1 in 100 (or less) chance of actually getting what I want which instantly turns me off.
 

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#40
By your own admission, they are targeting children.

This does cause addiction similar to gambling, because the psychological mechanisms in the brain are the same (that's why they are often referred to as predatory). That's precisely why gambling is outlawed in some places and limited to adults in others. Having games be AO would solve all problems. Adults would be able to buy them if they chose to do so, and parents would be warned about the possible dangers.

Why are you against such an idea? It seems logical to me.
Because gambling is not harmful to one's health, and it's only illegal for morality/bible thumping reasons. Also, pretending we know shit about the psychological mechanisms in the brain is hilarious. They're referred to as predatory because it fits the narrative of "games industry bad". There's nothing predatory about it, if you didn't want to part with your money you wouldn't spend it. It's up to parents to teach their kids that 20 dollars for a fake blue shirt is not worth it, not the government...

There are no "possible dangers" other than parents who are complete shit like jack black letting their kids run up their credit card because they're too busy doing blow to pay attention to their kids hobbies...
 
#41
Because gambling is not harmful to one's health, and it's only illegal for morality/bible thumping reasons
Are you serious?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_gambling

Problem gambling (or ludomania, but usually referred to as "gambling addiction" or "compulsive gambling") is an urge to gamble continuously despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. Problem gambling is often defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others, rather than by the gambler's behaviour. Severe problem gambling may be diagnosed as clinical pathological gambling if the gambler meets certain criteria. Pathological gambling is a common disorder that is associated with both social and family costs.

The DSM-5 has re-classified the condition as an addictive disorder, with sufferers exhibiting many similarities to those who have substance addictions.
 
#42
Because gambling is not harmful to one's health, and it's only illegal for morality/bible thumping reasons. Also, pretending we know shit about the psychological mechanisms in the brain is hilarious. They're referred to as predatory because it fits the narrative of "games industry bad". There's nothing predatory about it, if you didn't want to part with your money you wouldn't spend it. It's up to parents to teach their kids that 20 dollars for a fake blue shirt is not worth it, not the government...

There are no "possible dangers" other than parents who are complete shit like jack black letting their kids run up their credit card because they're too busy doing blow to pay attention to their kids hobbies...
This is basically it. People need to be smarter, not whining more.
 

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#43
You're talking about a condition that only a very small percentage of the population is susceptible too, and again mostly due to poor parenting. It's a disorder, not the norm. You can't just make the blanket statement "gambling bad" because a few privileged morons are more than happy to give away all their money on a game of chance... And again, most microtransactions aren't gambling. Loot boxes are the closest thing but at that point you might as well make it illegal for kids to buy pokemon cards and capsule toys...
 
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#44
You're talking about a condition that only a very small percentage of the population is susceptible too, and again mostly due to poor parenting. You can't just make the blanket statement "gambling bad" because a few privileged morons are more than happy to give away all their money on a game of chance...
You are making no sense.

Ok, what company do you work for? Are you working in the videogame industry? I find strange that there's a contingent of people in this forum claiming to be gamers and yet defending microtransactions like their lives depended on it.

Many things are regulated, some chemical substances were found to be toxic, thus outlawed from being used in manufacturing products or medicine. Toys have to conform to security standards, for children not to choke on small pieces. Cars have to meet security standards. Alcohol, tobacco, porn, etc, are all restricted. Regulation is something that always existed and it makes sense. Why should the videogame industry be the only one that's above regulation?
 

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#45
You are making no sense.
Except I am, you're just refusing to use the psychological mechanisms in your brain to absorb the info I'm giving you...

Ok, what company do you work for? Are you working in the videogame industry? I find strange that there's a contingent of people in this forum claiming to be gamers and yet defending microtransactions like their lives depended on it.
I'm fighting against government regulation in my favorite hobby that I am incredibly passionate about, come at me bro. Government sucks at everything, I don't need them in my video games. Please don't try to spin this as me defending microtransactions as if I love them or something. I've been dealing with tools claiming that for awhile now. But as a responsible consumer, I just don't buy games with microtransactions and instead play the games I'm actually interested in, and it's been great. Gaming has never been better as someone who's been gaming since the late 80s...

Many things are regulated, some chemical substances were found to be toxic, thus outlawed from being used in manufacturing products or medicine. Toys have to conform to security standards, for children not to choke on small pieces. Cars have to meet security standards. Alcohol, tobacco, porn, etc, are all restricted. Regulation is something that always existed and it makes sense. Why should the videogame industry be the only one that's above regulation?
Do you see the pattern in everything you just mentioned? With the exception of porn, everything else you mentioned has the potential to cause physical harm to its users. That's why they have safety regulations. You know what industries DON'T have much regulation? Arts... you know... movies, music, video games...

Porn is the only exception and again, only because of morality/bible thumping reasons. Look at the patterns bro, let your mechanisms run...
 
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#46
This is very true in some obvious ways but wrong in others. The indy scene is bigger and better than it has ever been and even some big AAA companies are marketing themselves as NOT being the scumbags that dare to make games you don't like... so really there's MORE than enough room in this industry for all of us with our different tastes...
So your solution is me simply telling to stick to indie games? Yeah no, sorry but that's just lazy argumentation. That's like telling movie enthusiasts to only watch European art movies. I also find the fact that certain publishers are now marketing their transparent monetization practices as some kind of exceptional virtue to be rather telling of the sad state of affairs in the video game market. These practices shouldn't need to be advertised as a mains selling point, they should be self-evident.

If a game has features in it that you don't like, and those features completely ruin the game for you, than it's a game you don't like. Avoid those, play games you do like instead.
I'm not talking about "features" related to the game itself, but shady practices related to pricing. Both are not the same and I'm sure from your libertarian perspective people should have the right to criticize these practices by putting the thumb where it hurts. There are a lot of games that I would play were they not littered with monetization practices that are objectively anti-consumer. I am not arguing against games that I don't like, I'm arguing against shady business practices that are not only hurting consumer rights but also gameplay mechanics.

Tell me, how is artificially inflating the grind in order to sell your virtual currency in the interest of any gamer around the world? Maybe if you had a leg to stand on in order to defend these practices, we could have a more fruitful discussion outside of you simplistically and wrongly accusing me of being "bitter" against games that I don't like.

You are just being bitter that not every game caters to you and instead caters to these "wallets". You pretend you are concerned for them but really you just want the star wars game that was catered to them to be catered to you instead. YOU are the one that is greedy, and gladly all the other people speaking with their wallets will keep you in check...
I'm quite sure that if given the choice, the vast majority of consumers would prefer transparent pricing practices and not be nickel and dimed through shoddy and overly greedy monetization. So it's fair to assume that I'm not merely speaking for myself here, considering the fact that there is quite a big number of gamers who are calling out these practices.

Secondly, I find your attempt at making this discussion about me instead of the issues at hand to be rather besides the point. Do you honestly think these monetization practices are in the interest of the consumer? If so, then please provide evidence, if not, then why are we even having this discussion?

I'm sorry, but I fail to see the point you're trying to make here. If it is merely about the consumer's freedom to choose then I must say that I find your libertarian standpoint to be rather unfulfilling in the context of this discussion. There's a reason why financial transactions, gambling and lotto play are strictly regulated. These regulations exist to protect the consumer from harmful practices and I really don't see why it should be any different for products related to gaming.

...again the government is not needed here either...
Yeah no, if you're arguing that businesses should have free reign when it comes to their profit making schemes, we're not going to find common ground here. I'd say we're long past the point where we can hope for businesses to reign in their monetization practices in a responsible manner, especially when they are actively refusing to comply with legislation. I also think it's only fair to criticize these practices, especially when companies are targeting younger audiences that are coping with the value of money and responsible consumer habits.
 

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#47
So your solution is me simply telling to stick to indie games? Yeah no, sorry but that's just lazy argumentation.
It would be if that's all I said, but I said much more than that... sounds like you're just being argumentative with no real point. To clarify, plenty of AAA games are not only being made without microtransactions but being MARKETED as good games without microtransactions... so yeah there are plenty of games for you to play...

I'm not talking about "features" related to the game itself, but shady practices related to pricing. Both are not the same and I'm sure from your libertarian perspective people should have the right to criticize these practices by putting the thumb where it hurts. There are a lot of games that I would play were they not littered with monetization practices that are objectively anti-consumer. I am not arguing against games that I don't like, I'm arguing against shady business practices that are not only hurting consumer rights but also gameplay mechanics.

Tell me, how is artificially inflating the grind in order to sell your virtual currency in the interest of any gamer around the world? Maybe if you had a leg to stand on in order to defend these practices, we could have a more fruitful discussion outside of you simplistically and wrongly accusing me of being "bitter" against games that I don't like.
You're talking in circles here. "It's not about features of the game, it's about features of the game." It doesn't matter if it's influenced by "shady business" or not. You seem brainwashed with all of your reddit buzzwords like "objectively anti-consumer" and all that nonsense. Yes, as a libertarian perspective, people have the right to NOT BUY THE GAME... not to get government involved in making sure products they don't like don't exist. You're a bandwagoner, a rebel without a cause...

And of course I'm against the artificial grind in favor of selling currency, that's why I DON'T BUY THOSE GAMES. I don't just buy the game and take it to town hall and cry about it. Furthermore, so many games get accused of adding in a grind that it's become meaningless. Marvel vs Capcom 2 had a pretty decent grind to unlock characters, I guarantee if that same exact game came out today but with microtransactions to skip the grind, people would accuse Capcom of creating an artificial grind... it's so pathetic how brainwashed people are...

I'm quite sure that if given the choice, the vast majority of consumers would prefer transparent pricing practices and not be nickel and dimed through shoddy and overly greedy monetization. So it's fair to assume that I'm not merely speaking for myself here, considering the fact that there is quite a big number of gamers who are calling out these practices.

Secondly, I find your attempt at making this discussion about me instead of the issues at hand to be rather besides the point. Do you honestly think these monetization practices are in the interest of the consumer? If so, then please provide evidence, if not, then why are we even having this discussion?

I'm sorry, but I fail to see the point you're trying to make here. If it is merely about the consumer's freedom to choose then I must say that I find your libertarian standpoint to be rather unfulfilling in the context of this discussion. There's a reason why financial transactions, gambling and lotto play are strictly regulated. These regulations exist to protect the consumer from harmful practices and I really don't see why it should be any different for products related to gaming.
First, even the worst monetization practices are transparent, you'd have to be a complete idiot to not understand how they work, so that point is moot. Yes, there are tons of people jumping on the bandwagon, that's doesn't make your point any stronger. They are every bit as uninformed and nonsensical as you are...

Second, I'm making the discussion about you because you don't seem to understand the simple concept of "Buy good games, don't buy bad games." I'm not arguing that monetization practices are in the interest of gamers, but now that you mention it, they surely are. People wouldn't be buying microtransactions like crazy and making companies money hand over fist if their weren't demand for such services. Why do you want to take away people's video games? That's fascism, bro...

And lastly, my point is simple and I've been clear and consistent, so open your fucking ears. KEEP GOVERNMENT OUT OF MY VIDEO GAMES. The market can regulate itself just find and it's been doing quite well for decades, we don't need you dragging in the nanny state just because you can't help yourself but waste money...

Yeah no, if you're arguing that businesses should have free reign when it comes to their profit making schemes, we're not going to find common ground here. I'd say we're long past the point where we can hope for businesses to reign in their monetization practices in a responsible manner, especially when they are actively refusing to comply with legislation. I also think it's only fair to criticize these practices, especially when companies are targeting younger audiences that are coping with the value of money and responsible consumer habits.
What exactly are they doing irresponsibly? All they are doing, and I'll say this one final time so maybe it will sink in, all they are doing is making games you don't like and selling them to people unlike yourself who do love them and gladly pay for them and their microtransactions. That's it. Simple product for money transaction, 100% voluntary, 100% okay. You bring up one good point about not following legislation, but they are fighting that in court which is the responsible thing to do. So again, I'm really not sure what your point is, other than "games industry bad r/gaming CDprojekt good thank god for me kupo kupo"... You guys are the real NPCs just regurgitating the same bullshit talking points over and over again with no facts or anything to back it up...
 
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#48
In games like Overwatch where the lootboxes are cosmetic only and because of them we have free characters and maps 2 years after the game release, im not against it.

But anything remotely close to pay to win is a no buy for me.
 
#49
To clarify, plenty of AAA games are not only being made without microtransactions but being MARKETED as good games without microtransactions...
Which, as I've already stated before, merely reinforces my initial statement that these predatory practices are so rampant, it immediately becomes a marketing point if a game is sold without such practices. That's just incredibly sad.

You're talking in circles here. "It's not about features of the game, it's about features of the game." It doesn't matter if it's influenced by "shady business" or not.
Uhm, considering that the same game can be sold with or without predatory monetization pretty much underlines the fact that these practices are not an intrinsic part of the game, but and extrinsic part of its marketing.

You seem brainwashed with all of your reddit buzzwords like "objectively anti-consumer" and all that nonsense. Yes, as a libertarian perspective, people have the right to NOT BUY THE GAME... not to get government involved in making sure products they don't like don't exist. You're a bandwagoner, a rebel without a cause...
I don't need reddit to come to my own conclusions, so maybe turn your baseless assumptions about me down a notch. I thought we were having a civil discussion here, so what's up with the silly ad hominems?

it's so pathetic how brainwashed people are...
Ah yes, contrary to your enlightened position. Get off your high horse and we just might have a discussion worth having.

And of course I'm against the artificial grind in favor of selling currency, that's why I DON'T BUY THOSE GAMES. I don't just buy the game and take it to town hall and cry about it.
So you'd rather not buy a game that you might enjoy otherwise only because you're afraid government might step in to regulate predatory practices that are not only negatively impacting gamers as consumers but are also since long regulated in pretty much every other consumer domain? Ok...

First, even the worst monetization practices are transparent, you'd have to be a complete idiot to not understand how they work, so that point is moot. Yes, there are tons of people jumping on the bandwagon, that's doesn't make your point any stronger.
Yeah, tell that the thousands of individuals who practically ruined themselves through these predatory practices. I'm not denying the responsibility of the individual consumer, but contrary to you I'm also not forgetting the responsibility of the publishers who clearly aren't respecting their audience.

They are every bit as uninformed and nonsensical as you are...
Another baseless ad hominem without any argumentative substance.

Second, I'm making the discussion about you because you don't seem to understand the simple concept of "Buy good games, don't buy bad games."
Good games with bad monetization schemes are still good games, they are just a mediocre product. I want good games to be good products too, it's really not difficult to understand.

I'm not arguing that monetization practices are in the interest of gamers...
Then why are we even having this discussion?

People wouldn't be buying microtransactions like crazy and making companies money hand over fist if their weren't demand for such services. Why do you want to take away people's video games?
I think to have sufficiently explained why people are falling for such practices, if you'd have read my OP, behavioral conditioning is a b*tch. Also considering how prevalent these practices have become, it's not like poeple really have that much of a choice, it's either accepting these predatory practices as a necessary evil or not play these games at all. Which, to be quite frank, is not a healthy solution at all.

As to why people make these purchases, I'd advise you to read the following study, which suggests that these consumer behaviors are not the result of free choice, but of psychological manipulation and influence:

The results indicated that the purchasing reasons converged into six dimensions: 1) Unobstructed play, 2) Social interaction, 3) Competition, 4) Economical rationale, 5) Indulging the children, and 6) Unlocking content. Secondly, we investigated the relationship between these factors and how much players spend money on in-game content. The results revealed that the purchase motivations of unobstructed play, social interaction, and economical rationale were positively associated with how much money players spend on in-game content. The results imply that the way designers implement artificial limitations and obstacles as well as social interaction affects how much players spend money on in-game content.
Also, I'm not "taking people's video games away", that's just silly. I seek to have discussion on our interests as consumers. So please provide evidence where I'm asking for games to be banned, when I'm simply making the case for certain predatory practices to be regulated.

That's fascism, bro...
Hyperbole.

...so open your fucking ears. KEEP GOVERNMENT OUT OF MY VIDEO GAMES.
You can scream and shout and stomp your feet all you want, but I'm not arguing for governmental intervention in video games, I'm arguing for governmental regulation for the sake of consumer protection. The same protections that already exist when it comes to other consumer domains.

Loot Boxes, which are abundant in today's video games should for the most part be considered gambling and pose a huge risk to younger gamers:

We found that the loot boxes in almost half (45%) of the 22 games we analysed met the criteria to be considered psychologically similar to gambling, even though they are rated as appropriate for adolescent players under the age of consent for gambling. [...]

We used five criteria to distinguish gambling from other risk-taking activities. These have been developed by Nottingham Trent University psychologist Mark Griffiths in his work on behavioural addictions and gambling disorders. [...] Loot boxes in just under half of the games (45%) met all five of Griffiths’ criteria and, thus, could be considered psychologically akin to gambling.
The same goes for virtual currencies, which merely serve to manipulate consumer behavior by separating virtual goods from real life money and thus obfuscating how much hard cash players are really spending.

I don't want these predatory monetization practices to be targeted at younger audiences, young consumers who are still unequipped to defend themselves against these backhanded and subversive tactics. Go and watch the videos I posted in the OP and tell me how these practices are in any way defensible.

The market can regulate itself just find and it's been doing quite well for decades, we don't need you dragging in the nanny state just because you can't help yourself but waste money...
It's quite apparent that the video games market is woefully unable to regulate itself, as evidenced by the fact that big publishers refuse to comply with legislation.

You guys are the real NPCs...
 
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#50
In games like Overwatch where the lootboxes are cosmetic only and because of them we have free characters and maps 2 years after the game release, im not against it.

But anything remotely close to pay to win is a no buy for me.
Pretty much this. If the lootboxes don't affect the content of the game itself then sure. It's a means for the company to continue producing content and maintaining services for it without making us buy a new expansion and fracturing the player base. Mobile gacha games are free to play and are able to deliver continued support for the title through this sort of thing which is lead to some games with a lot of content. It's a model that has positives when done right but ultimately, we have a lot of big players abusing the shit out of it like EA so everything ends up looking bad, lol