Major Video Game Companies Commit to Disclosing Loot Box Probability

Console makers Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo will soon require video game developers to disclose the probability of receiving randomized items in paid loot boxes for games on their platforms, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced at the Federal Trade Commission's loot box workshop on Wednesday


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ne8wwg/nintendo-microsoft-and-sony-commit-to-disclosing-loot-box-probability

Interesting that they have agreed to slap a friendly looking Mario bandaid on this gaping flesh wound but alas I am unmoved

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Really looking forward to the completely unhinged Reddit posts and YouTube vids by people claiming the odds are lying because they didn’t get their 10% chance prize even though they bought 10 loot boxes.

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They’re only like 4 years behind Asian mobile games, then.

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Too little, too late. It’s still gambling in everything but name, even if you know your chances of winning. Even casinos disclose their payout odds and humans are notoriously bad at evaluating risks and probabilities.

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This is the result of some long-overdue meetings with Legal. I don’t think it fixes the problem, but the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.

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There’s plenty of fun tricks to be used in odds disclosure. FIFA Ultimate Team discloses pack odds in brackets, for example. Players for your team are ranked from 1 to 100, and the most expensive pack in FIFA 19 has a 3.4% chance of containing a player rated 90 or higher. What are the odds of getting a 95-rated player? Who the hell knows? Another one I’ve seen in mobile games is “<1%.” Any way you look at that, it’s a real low chance. But does that mean 0.9% or 0.09%? Who the hell knows?

I expect whatever guidelines come out of this process to be toothless enough to allow practices like those. It’s just enough of a baby step to let off some pressure for another year or three.

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It makes sense that it’s console manufacturers doing this and not third party publishers, who are the people really pushing these practices into the space. The big three benefit from their exclusives selling consoles and thus are focused experiences focused on making an appealing game that will get good word of mouth.

Freeium game models put into large budget releases is more a third party move because they figure they can take some negative press if they make it up by having these elements in their major franchises with already established fanbases. They’re not selling hardware either, so they don’t have to worry about such an aspect of their business taking a hit with these strategies.

This is a middle ground approach where the console manufacturers can get some good press or seem like they’re taking measures, all while letting third party companies still use these practices, just with a new restriction that won’t mean too much in the long run (see @GibdoInfernopost above me for how odds get gamed).

“Please don’t look into this any further authorities”

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Doug Bowser smashing his way into the EA shareholders meeting screeching “CAN WE NOT HAVE A REPEAT OF THE 90S” as somewhere, far off in the distance, Joe Lieberman quietly cackles to himself.

I don’t think Doug Bowser has smashed anything in his entire life.

Back to the thread, though, I’ve been thinking about how on Earth you could construct a bill to ban loot boxes. My understanding is that Blizzard in China sells Dust in Hearthstone, and sufficiently large quantities of Dust comes with free packs.

Just gonna tack on another related story. It’s already illegal to advertise something without disclosure. This story gives the impression that it never happened but streamers were approached for better loot box odds as an advertisement. I guess it probably can’t happen now that platform holders are going to publish odds but … Idk video games are still the wild west on this shit… and “accidents” do happen.

In yet another related story, possibly the most perfect conflagration of video game stories ever: after being purchased by Epic, Rocket League is dropping paid loot boxes and some players are really mad about it.

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