Loot boxes in video games – House of Commons Library
We’ve put together all the stunning facts about lootbox, which is featured in almost every open world game and many free-to-play titles today.
Lootbox, which has been in the game world for many years and offers players various rarities for money, etc. a system that gives a chance to win products. The main purpose of this method is to make the player more addicted to the game and to spend more money on the game.
Although Lootbox has been discussed for years, it was November 2017 when this madness started to attract attention and attract people’s reaction. This date has a quality that can be considered a milestone if you look at it as a matter of fact. Star Wars Battlefront 2 was released on November 17, 2017. Those who follow the game world closely will remember how much this game was talked about and how heavily it was criticized by both the media and the players at that time . The main reason for the criticism in question was that the game was very unfair to the players in terms of lootbox.
Players were reacting to this game because Star Wars Battlefront 2 offers products, skins, etc. at exorbitant prices. was selling. An example of this is having Darth Vader. If you wanted to have Darth Vader or similar heroes by paying money in the game, you had to play the game for quite long hours and the players did not find this fair at all. After all these events, the justice and necessity of lootbox mechanics in almost every game, especially Star Wars game, all over the world began to be questioned, and at the same time, this method began to be reacted.
The Lootbox Rebellion Begins!
Players felt that it was wrong to pay for a game at that time, after paying the fee that game demanded, then again to own any other commodity in the game.
Many players, myself included, think that it is pointless to pay an additional fee to get better weapons or equipment for a game that costs an average of 60 dollars. At this point, there is another situation that causes an ambiguous situation: It is games that are free to play.
Many games that are free to download and play have items that you can purchase in-game. Although these items are generally aimed at customizing the appearance of the character you bring to life in the game you play, in some productions, there was also the sale of elements that would give you an advantage in the game.
When you look at it from an objective point of view, it is quite normal for games that are free to play to follow this path. After all, these kinds of games are actually quite costly and are the productions that many people constantly work on. In order to ensure the commercial continuity of these productions, it is quite normal for them to choose such a way as their income model.
Although many players agreed that the visual customization items sold in free-to-play games should be sold for a fee, the fact that some games sell boxes and there is no guarantee of what will come out of the contents of this box has formed the basis of today’s lootbox confusion.
What is Lootbox Confusion?
When we consider the concept of lootbox, we actually consider some misunderstandings and terms together, as I wrote above. It should be understood that the concept of in-game purchase and lootbox are actually two very different structures.
What is In-Game Purchase?
This structure, which also forms the basis of the Lootbox concept, includes many items that you can have in the game for a fee. For example, shopping for a costume in League of Legends, knowing what you will get for its price, is a good example of an in-game purchase.
There is no surprise or uncertainty in this action. The product to be purchased for a fee is clearly and clearly stated. Moreover, this purchase provides an extra advantage to the player in the game. This and similar in-game purchases are considered quite reasonable. In addition, such in-game purchase methods are accepted by many players.
But of course, we cannot ignore the fact that in-game purchases also have a dark side. An example of this is the NBA 2K series. The NBA game is a game that is bought and consumed by players every year, especially due to its online multiplayer structure. In order to compete with other players online in the NBA 2K series, your overall rating should be as high as possible.
There are two different ways to increase your in-game rating in the NBA 2K series. You will either spend your hours in the game and increase your player’s rating by accumulating the currency called VC, which is used to spend in-game, or you will be able to enjoy the online experience in the game without wasting time by paying acceptable amounts.
At this point, the dark side of the game emerges as follows. Yes, you can improve your character without purchasing in-game currency. However, you have to spend quite a long time for this: an average of 50 hours. On the other hand, you can make your character ready with real money. This is not fair at all. On the one hand, a player can spend hours competing with players in the online arena, on the other hand, another player can stand out from this competition with real money. This is the dark side of online purchasing.
What is Lootbox?
In the Lootbox system, you buy one of the boxes or packages in the games with money and expect a valuable item to come out of it. At the end of the event, you will definitely get a product from the box or package you opened with money. However, this product can be equivalent, less or more valuable than the amount of money you deposit.
When opening a lootbox in games, players usually do not see what percentage of chances they have to buy which products. This situation makes the event in question completely based on chance. That’s why the lootbox system has started to be called gambling almost all over the world. At this point, it is necessary to take a closer look at what the concept of gambling is in order to deal with the subject in more depth.
What is Gambling?
Gambling is a game of luck played by putting money in the middle. It can be played competitively between multiple people, or it can be played by one person against a game machine. Risking personal tangible assets (usually money) in a game is called gambling. Gambling is possible with all known types of games and sports, from coin flips to sports events. Gamblers can take part in the game themselves, as in card games, or they can only deposit money without taking part in the activity, as in betting games. A person who gambles frequently or has a gambling addiction is called a gambler.
Lootbox and Gambling Relation
As you can see in the article above, gambling and lootbox are very close concepts and actions. Many players around the world and even some country laws refer to lootbox mechanics as gambling. Governments impose regulations or bans on lootbox mechanics.
Despite this situation, there are many players who argue that the lootbox mechanics in the games are not gambling. When I asked the question “Do you see the lootbox contents in the games as gambling” in the Facebook group called Floppy Box on Facebook, 216 of the participants said yes, 25 of them said no and 6 of them were undecided.
In the discussions under the post on the subject in the group, the points of the users who do not see lootbox as a gamble differ from each other. Since some players consider gambling valid for situations where everyone puts money in and there is only one win, lootbox mechanics do not count as gambling, while some players say that the situation is a matter of preference and the presence of commodities that can be reached with human effort prevents it from being called gambling.
Is Lootbox Gambling?
If you look at the event with its general framework and lines, lootbox systems clearly carry gambling elements and therefore it is a phenomenon that should be counted as gambling. Whether the boxes that can be purchased with in-game money are sold or sold with real money, the products you buy without knowing what will come out of them and increase your curiosity are gambling. The lootbox mechanic, which has the money, risk and reward trio required for a commodity to be considered a gamble, is accepted as a gamble by a larger environment every day.