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UK Officials Say Loot Boxes Are Gambling


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Letting our UK fellows know they may be meeting the same fate as Belgium.

My personal opinion, I wish Anet allowed a subscription service that added Black Lion Keys, Guaranteed Wardrobe Unlock and Knife Tail Bonds into the game as raid rewards, wvw/pvp reward tracks and world drops at a decent rate. Basically a way for me to support the game while removing real money lootboxes from my game experience, while allowing me to earn them by shockingly playing the game. That way people who like surprise mechanics can keep buying them in their game experience if they prefer micro transactions instead of a sub fee.

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Loot boxes that can be bought with real-world money and do not reveal their contents in advance should be considered games of chance played for money’s worth and regulated by the Gambling Act.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/digital-culture-media-and-sport-committee/news/immersive-technology-report-17-19/

Just putting that out there.

And the following as well.

We recommend that working through the PEGI Council and all other relevant channels, the UK Government advises PEGI to apply the existing ‘gambling’ content labelling, and corresponding age limits, to games containing loot boxes that can be purchased for real-world money and do not reveal their contents before purchase.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmcumeds/1846/184609.htm

And this too.

One of the most prominent features in the debate about the potential links between game mechanics and gambling is loot boxes. Loot boxes are “items in video games that may be bought for real-world money, but which provide players with a randomised reward of uncertain value.”139 Those rewards will be virtual items for use in the game, such as tools, outfits and weapons, or characters with particular skills, all of which will be of variable benefit within the game. They are a common form of microtransaction, with a 2018 Gambling Commission survey finding that 31% of 11–16 year olds have paid money or used in-game items to open loot boxes.140 Although some games (including, notably, a version of Fortnite) reveal the contents of a loot box to the player before they decide whether to pay for it, usually the contents of loot boxes are unknown to the player at the point of purchase—what a player gets for their money is therefore based on chance

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmcumeds/1846/184606.htm#_idTextAnchor034

Based on the consistent phrasing used, and especially the last bit I quoted, they clearly see a difference between loot boxes that allow you to preview the contents and those that you cannot. The latter being what they consider based on chance and want restrictions on.

This is just my interpretation based on what and how it is written.

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To be honest I have nothing against the loot-boxes in gw2 as they do not bring anything to the table that improves my chars. Sadly they could be sharing the same faith alongside many other companies because some publishers (Activision, EA, 2K) couldn't keep it together.

I do agree with the OP,: some kind of sub model of value pack item (as in BDO) would be great.

    • 10% XP (crafting, level, Mastery) , Karma, Gold
  • Free teleporting around the map
  • 1000 GEMS
  • Dailies can be completed twice
  • Subscriber Cosmetic set: Every Month give 1 piece of the set, every 6 months we have a full new set (this is purely cosmetic)
  • 10% discount on first store purchase

Price it at 14.99 USD/EUR or 12.99 GBP.

This is just a suggestion but personally if something would come out for gw2 like this I would get it.

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I consider myself someone who utterly despises the concept of lootboxes but I find it hard to hold such a strong dislike for Gw2's black lion chests on account of several factors.

  1. Keys can be earned in game via the personal story therefore eliminating entirely the need to pay cash for keys.
  2. Black Lion chest contents can be previewed to show their contents and always guarantee items a player can use therefore eliminating the problem of wasted duplicates and going away empty handed.
  3. There are no pay to win items, characters, skills or account upgrades in the chests that give a lucky player an advantage over an unlucky one.

Sure you can argue Black Lion Chests are technically "loot boxes" but you honestly can't compare them to the same malicious and predatory ripoffs that other companies have done in their name.

There is a massive difference between how Gw2 does lootboxes which are extremely fair and likely one of the best examples of Lootboxes done right in the entire industry.And how for example Fifa/Battlefront does lootboxes which are blatantly designed from the ground up to rip the consumer off and leech as much money out of them as possible, which has been proven via how disgustingly low some of the drop rates are for the best characters etc and how much of an advantage those characters give over others, ergo gambling pay2win and a lot of people throwing stupid amounts of money away for something that will be replaced in a year or two when the next game comes along.

I'd argue those kinds of lootboxes are even worse than gambling in that regard since at least if you get lucky with gambling the cash prize is universal and could last you a lifetime.Blow 2 grand on Fifa and get that character you wanted, well that character only remains useful until the next game comes along which could be as little as a year away..It's disgusting that's even a thing in this industry but there we go.. some companies are just dispicable like that.

Anet however is not one of them, and that's one of the biggest reasons I will continue to be a loyal and devoted customer so long as Anet continues to be a fair company that treats us like customers and not a bank account to be raided.

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@"Ayrilana.1396" said:Based on the consistent phrasing used, and especially the last bit I quoted, they clearly see a difference between loot boxes that allow you to preview the contents and those that you cannot. The latter being what they consider based on chance and want restrictions on.

I think you've interpreted it slightly wrongly. I would say they want to define all "random draw" lootboxes, with or without a preview list, as gambling. A box that lists: "This box contains a Farbulator, a Yellow Iggleflop and a blue Woojit" with no random content would not meet that definition, but it isn't what a BLC+BLK is.

Heck, a BLC+BLK, even though it contains a statuette and a fixed (per BLC version) second item still falls foul of the definition because the other two or three items are random-draw.

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@casualkenny.9817 said:In most games, the loot boxes are a p2w aspect.In gw2 it is not. (excepting fw2)

It's not as if gw2 attracts the kind of player that is prone to addiction to loot boxes (I think?) that kind of player that flexes his loot box epee by beating up ppl who didn't p2w.

We'll mmo players are slightly more prone to addictive behavior. And I think their are people who like to flex skins. :)

But I agree with the sentiment.

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Nothing is decided yet so speculation about any specific implications for this game is a bit early,

If they do act on this though, I can't wait for the inevitable misinfo parrots, bashing on the "bad government" banning our happy lil' gambleboxes. When in reality there is no banning suggested here, just a demand to properly label and age-rate the product.

@"casualkenny.9817" said:In most games, the loot boxes are a p2w aspect.In gw2 it is not. (excepting fw2)

It's not as if gw2 attracts the kind of player that is prone to addiction to loot boxes (I think?) that kind of player that flexes his loot box epee by beating up ppl who didn't p2w.

Lootbox addiction has nothing to do with p2w. I've seen gacha games offering literal PNGs in their gamblepacks, with no substantial competitive advantage. And yet people go crazy over those just because they want that rare "waifu" PNG. Some people will go to great lengths, just to feel like unique snowflakes who have that rare thing that others don't. No matter how pointless it is.

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@"Ayrilana.1396" said:

Loot boxes that can be bought with real-world money
and do not reveal their contents in advance
should be considered games of chance played for money’s worth and regulated by the Gambling Act.

Just putting that out there.

And the following as well.

We recommend that working through the PEGI Council and all other relevant channels, the UK Government advises PEGI to apply the existing ‘gambling’ content labelling, and corresponding age limits, to games containing loot boxes that can be purchased for real-world money
and do not reveal their contents before purchase
.

And this too.

One of the most prominent features in the debate about the potential links between game mechanics and gambling is loot boxes. Loot boxes are “items in video games that may be bought for real-world money, but which provide players with a randomised reward of uncertain value.”139 Those rewards will be virtual items for use in the game, such as tools, outfits and weapons, or characters with particular skills, all of which will be of variable benefit within the game. They are a common form of microtransaction, with a 2018 Gambling Commission survey finding that 31% of 11–16 year olds have paid money or used in-game items to open loot boxes.140
Although some games (including, notably, a version of Fortnite) reveal the contents of a loot box to the player before they decide whether to pay for it, usually the contents of loot boxes are unknown to the player at the point of purchase—what a player gets for their money is therefore based on chance

Based on the consistent phrasing used, and especially the last bit I quoted, they clearly see a difference between loot boxes that allow you to preview the contents and those that you cannot. The latter being what they consider based on chance and want restrictions on.

This is just my interpretation based on what and how it is written.Yes, because there are loot boxes that let you preview the content (meaning,
what you will actually get
) before you commit. Granted, they are very rare and only a recent addition. BLCs are not that kind of lootboxes though. They let you preview all the possibilities, but not their actual content - you know what might possibly be in one, but not what actually
is
in one.Read carefully especially the third quote you posted.

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@"Ayrilana.1396" said:

Loot boxes that can be bought with real-world money
and do not reveal their contents in advance
should be considered games of chance played for money’s worth and regulated by the Gambling Act.

Just putting that out there.

And the following as well.

We recommend that working through the PEGI Council and all other relevant channels, the UK Government advises PEGI to apply the existing ‘gambling’ content labelling, and corresponding age limits, to games containing loot boxes that can be purchased for real-world money
and do not reveal their contents before purchase
.

And this too.

One of the most prominent features in the debate about the potential links between game mechanics and gambling is loot boxes. Loot boxes are “items in video games that may be bought for real-world money, but which provide players with a randomised reward of uncertain value.”139 Those rewards will be virtual items for use in the game, such as tools, outfits and weapons, or characters with particular skills, all of which will be of variable benefit within the game. They are a common form of microtransaction, with a 2018 Gambling Commission survey finding that 31% of 11–16 year olds have paid money or used in-game items to open loot boxes.140
Although some games (including, notably, a version of Fortnite) reveal the contents of a loot box to the player before they decide whether to pay for it, usually the contents of loot boxes are unknown to the player at the point of purchase—what a player gets for their money is therefore based on chance

Based on the consistent phrasing used, and especially the last bit I quoted, they clearly see a difference between loot boxes that allow you to preview the contents and those that you cannot. The latter being what they consider based on chance and want restrictions on.

This is just my interpretation based on what and how it is written.

I think it still gambling on chance. It reveals what you can "win" but it still based on chance. Just like how some scratch lottery tickets tell you can win X,y or Z item but it still based on chance. The anet lootboxes value is still random and depends on chance.

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@Steve The Cynic.3217 said:

@"Ayrilana.1396" said:Based on the consistent phrasing used, and especially the last bit I quoted, they clearly see a difference between loot boxes that allow you to preview the contents and those that you cannot. The latter being what they consider based on chance and want restrictions on.

I think you've interpreted it slightly wrongly. I would say they want to define all "random draw" lootboxes, with or without a preview list, as gambling. A box that lists: "This box contains a Farbulator, a Yellow Iggleflop and a blue Woojit" with no random content would not meet that definition, but it isn't what a BLC+BLK is.

Heck, a BLC+BLK, even though it contains a statuette and a fixed (per BLC version) second item
still
falls foul of the definition because the other two or three items are random-draw.

Maybe, maybe not. I’m reading it as it is exactly written without inserting personal assumptions on what I believe they meant to say.

@Astralporing.1957 said:Yes, because there are loot boxes that let you preview the content (meaning, what you will actually get) before you commit. Granted, they are very rare and only a recent addition. BLCs are not that kind of lootboxes though. They let you preview all the possibilities, but not their actual content - you know what might possibly be in one, but not what actually is in one.Read carefully especially the third quote you posted.

Their statement never distinguished actual vs possible drops. This is something that you added. They simply stated “reveal the contents” which is exactly what a preview does.

@"Calistin.6210" said:I think it still gambling on chance. It reveals what you can "win" but it still based on chance. Just like how some scratch lottery tickets tell you can win X,y or Z item but it still based on chance. The anet lootboxes value is still random and depends on chance.

I don’t disagree with you they’re describing those two loot boxes as being different.

I personally could care less if loot boxes get banned entirely. I never spent money or gold on them as I’ve always found them to not be worth it. In fact, I don’t even gamble in real life or at least when it comes to going to a casino or buying lottery tickets. An exception would be a bet with friends. It’s still a form of gambling but not on the same level as the other two.

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@Ayrilana.1396 said:

@Ayrilana.1396 said:Based on the consistent phrasing used, and especially the last bit I quoted, they clearly see a difference between loot boxes that allow you to preview the contents and those that you cannot. The latter being what they consider based on chance and want restrictions on.

I think you've interpreted it slightly wrongly. I would say they want to define all "random draw" lootboxes, with or without a preview list, as gambling. A box that lists: "This box contains a Farbulator, a Yellow Iggleflop and a blue Woojit" with no random content would not meet that definition, but it isn't what a BLC+BLK is.

Heck, a BLC+BLK, even though it contains a statuette and a fixed (per BLC version) second item
still
falls foul of the definition because the other two or three items are random-draw.

Maybe, maybe not. I’m reading it as it is exactly written without inserting personal assumptions on what I believe they meant to say.

@Astralporing.1957 said:Yes, because there are loot boxes that let you preview the content (meaning,
what you will actually get
) before you commit. Granted, they are very rare and only a recent addition. BLCs are not that kind of lootboxes though. They let you preview all the possibilities, but not their actual content - you know what might possibly be in one, but not what actually
is
in one.Read carefully especially the third quote you posted.

Their statement never distinguished actual vs possible drops. This is something that you added. They simply stated “reveal the contents” which is exactly what a preview does.

@"Calistin.6210" said:I think it still gambling on chance. It reveals what you can "win" but it still based on chance. Just like how some scratch lottery tickets tell you can win X,y or Z item but it still based on chance. The anet lootboxes value is still random and depends on chance.

I don’t disagree with you they’re describing those two loot boxes as being different.

I personally could care less if loot boxes get banned entirely. I never spent money or gold on them as I’ve always found them to not be worth it. In fact, I don’t even gamble in real life or at least when it comes to going to a casino or buying lottery tickets. An exception would be a bet with friends. It’s still a form of gambling but not on the same level as the other two.

I will rephrase it then since I was maybe not clear enough. From what the UK has said lootboxes with random results is gambling, doesn't matter if you can preview what you may win or not.

The example, of the other type of lootbox, was the fortnite lootbox which are no longer random or based on chance. They are not really lootboxes, they are just package deals, you buy the box and you get everything inside. You will get ALL the items you can preview beforehand, there is no chance involved.

Any lootboxes with a chance, or surprise mechanic if you will, will be considered gambling as you are not guaranteed to get everything shown in the preview.

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@Calistin.6210 said:

@Ayrilana.1396 said:Based on the consistent phrasing used, and especially the last bit I quoted, they clearly see a difference between loot boxes that allow you to preview the contents and those that you cannot. The latter being what they consider based on chance and want restrictions on.

I think you've interpreted it slightly wrongly. I would say they want to define all "random draw" lootboxes, with or without a preview list, as gambling. A box that lists: "This box contains a Farbulator, a Yellow Iggleflop and a blue Woojit" with no random content would not meet that definition, but it isn't what a BLC+BLK is.

Heck, a BLC+BLK, even though it contains a statuette and a fixed (per BLC version) second item
still
falls foul of the definition because the other two or three items are random-draw.

Maybe, maybe not. I’m reading it as it is exactly written without inserting personal assumptions on what I believe they meant to say.

@Astralporing.1957 said:Yes, because there are loot boxes that let you preview the content (meaning,
what you will actually get
) before you commit. Granted, they are very rare and only a recent addition. BLCs are not that kind of lootboxes though. They let you preview all the possibilities, but not their actual content - you know what might possibly be in one, but not what actually
is
in one.Read carefully especially the third quote you posted.

Their statement never distinguished actual vs possible drops. This is something that you added. They simply stated “reveal the contents” which is exactly what a preview does.

@Calistin.6210 said:I think it still gambling on chance. It reveals what you can "win" but it still based on chance. Just like how some scratch lottery tickets tell you can win X,y or Z item but it still based on chance. The anet lootboxes value is still random and depends on chance.

I don’t disagree with you they’re describing those two loot boxes as being different.

I personally could care less if loot boxes get banned entirely. I never spent money or gold on them as I’ve always found them to not be worth it. In fact, I don’t even gamble in real life or at least when it comes to going to a casino or buying lottery tickets. An exception would be a bet with friends. It’s still a form of gambling but not on the same level as the other two.

I will rephrase it then since I was maybe not clear enough. From what the UK has said lootboxes with random results is gambling, doesn't matter if you can preview what you
may
win or not.

The example, of the other type of lootbox, was the fortnite lootbox which are no longer random or based on chance. They are not really lootboxes, they are just package deals, you buy the box and you get
everything
inside. You will get ALL the items you can preview beforehand, there is no chance involved.

Any lootboxes with a chance, or surprise mechanic if you will, will be considered gambling as you are not guaranteed to get everything shown in the preview.

Ok. I see that Fortnite’s loot boxes are different as I didn’t realize they changed them earlier this year.

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So here is what is going to happen:Scenario ANothing. The big players are already working as hard as they can to undermine any legislation as long as possible. No Arenanet is not part of the big players. NCSoft might be, but not sure how focused they are on the western market at the moment.

Scenario BSome mild slap on the wrist, some meaningless legislation which doesn't target the main issues. Good possibility for this, not because of PC games, who cares about that market? It's the billions of revenue from the cellphone apps which will be fighting this as strong as possible.

Scenario CActual meaningful legislation which protects minors (I doubt we will see legislation which targets adults with addictions for years). That would be a good first step. It would also blow big holes in the industry the way it works and funds itsself now.

What does this mean for GW2 and Arenanet?First off, people who lump together GW2 with games like FIFA (and their Ultimate Team) or who lump together Arenanet with EA or Activision, are just brushing this topic and not realizing how exploitative some titles and publishers are. Personally I'm fine with a subscription fee (I'm quite sure we will be seeing many of these models reapear) but players who do not fund GW2 currently (which is fine, the game gives everyone this possibility) should be well aware that new legislation might very well have an effect on how GW2 needs to get funded. A lot of players have gotten used to the freemium (especially in handheld games) and buy-to-play models without every spending any substantial amount of money. If cross funding from whales is not longer possible, so will these models need to find new methods to sustain themselves.

Me personally, I can't wait from some legislation to finally happen, mostly for special age groups which need protection (minors, teens). The gaming industry as a whole has failed terribly at selfregulating for way to many years.

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@"Teratus.2859" said:I consider myself someone who utterly despises the concept of lootboxes but I find it hard to hold such a strong dislike for Gw2's black lion chests on account of several factors.

  1. Keys can be earned in game via the personal story therefore eliminating entirely the need to pay cash for keys.
  2. Black Lion chest contents can be previewed to show their contents and always guarantee items a player can use therefore eliminating the problem of wasted duplicates and going away empty handed.
  3. There are no pay to win items, characters, skills or account upgrades in the chests that give a lucky player an advantage over an unlucky one.

Sure you can argue Black Lion Chests are technically "loot boxes" but you honestly can't compare them to the same malicious and predatory ripoffs that other companies have done in their name.

There is a massive difference between how Gw2 does lootboxes which are extremely fair and likely one of the best examples of Lootboxes done right in the entire industry.And how for example Fifa/Battlefront does lootboxes which are blatantly designed from the ground up to rip the consumer off and leech as much money out of them as possible, which has been proven via how disgustingly low some of the drop rates are for the best characters etc and how much of an advantage those characters give over others, ergo gambling pay2win and a lot of people throwing stupid amounts of money away for something that will be replaced in a year or two when the next game comes along.

I'd argue those kinds of lootboxes are even worse than gambling in that regard since at least if you get lucky with gambling the cash prize is universal and could last you a lifetime.Blow 2 grand on Fifa and get that character you wanted, well that character only remains useful until the next game comes along which could be as little as a year away..It's disgusting that's even a thing in this industry but there we go.. some companies are just dispicable like that.

Anet however is not one of them, and that's one of the biggest reasons I will continue to be a loyal and devoted customer so long as Anet continues to be a fair company that treats us like customers and not a bank account to be raided.

Sure, BLCs aren't as "evil", but they're "evil" nonetheless and ArenaNet certainly knows it. Your arguments are also quite weak.

First and foremost, GW2 is a game that is heavily based on cosmetics. There's a reason why people talk about "cosmetic endgame" in GW2. Cosmetics are one of the major progression-systems in this game. Do you know which game made lootboxes popular in the first place? That was Overwatch and the lootbox-rewards there were purely cosmetic. Cosmetics do - at least to a certain degree - determine your social standing inside a gaming community. It always was like that. There are several cosmetic items exclusive to BLCs, one of the last major examples being the Starbound outfit. Some people - reportedly - had to spend high two-digit-numbers of keys to get that item. You won't get there just by doing your weekly key-run all the time. Previews and guaranteed items won't help either. People don't use their keys for the guaranteed items, they spend them because they want certain items - most likely exclusive outfits. If these were at least buyable with Statuettes: Ok, I guess? But they aren't.

Don't get me wrong: Arena Net is certainly one of the more favorable publishers in the MMORPG-market and I'm happy about that, but BLCs are still utter kitten regardless.

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@"Inculpatus cedo.9234" said:

I wonder how much it would hurt Guild Wars 2 to have a higher age rating. How easy, or difficult, is that to enforce with sales?

Judging by Anet's (and industry in general) modus operandi in previous cases, they won't go for that option. They'll just remove the RNG offerings themselves for that country. This results in pressure from that country's players, who feel "left out" from the party and blame their government (even though the "ban" is self-inflicted). It also covers them legally, as they won't have to admit the gambling nature of lootboxes, which they 've been denying for so long.

@Cyninja.2954 said:A lot of players have gotten used to the freemium (especially in handheld games) and buy-to-play models without every spending any substantial amount of money. If cross funding from whales is not longer possible, so will these models need to find new methods to sustain themselves.

It might have been about sustaining themselves when the model was in its infancy, during the first f2p games era. It's not anymore. Now it's about squeezing every single penny they possibly can, with unprecedented profits for the industry. During the last decade the gaming industry has exploded in growth. For the last couple years it's the most profitable entertainment industry, surpassing the movie business. And analysts confirm it's mainly because of MtX and lootboxes specifically. And yes, Anet may not be the worst offender but they are dancing at the same shady tune. Not to mention NCsoft's reputation.

The amount of money involved with this industry is why your options A and B are the most likely to me. Personally, I believe only a full market crash could change the current status quo. Which is unfortunate.

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@"AlexxxDelta.1806" said:Nothing is decided yet so speculation about any specific implications for this game is a bit early,

If they do act on this though, I can't wait for the inevitable misinfo parrots, bashing on the "bad government" banning our happy lil' gambleboxes. When in reality there is no banning suggested here, just a demand to properly label and age-rate the product.

Just quoting this in the vain hope that some of those posts may be averted.

You're completely right: they won't be banned, gambling is not illegal in the UK. However, games with gambling in them will require an 18+ certificate and appropriate warning labels. They will probably also need a gambling license. It'd be similar to how companies can apply for a gambling license in Belgium if they wish to operate gambling mechanics there, however as the same 18+ rating would be required the publishers don't really want to do that.

As gambling operators they will also more than likely have to pay the appropriate gaming taxes for any key sales, which is something like a 15% tax levy and the publishers definitely don't want to do that.

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@"Tukaram.8256" said:I have a hard time seeing loot boxes as gambling. To me gambling implies a chance to win something of value. All we get are pixels. There is no value, other than the fun of having pretty pixels. Random or not... just does not give any chance of actual value, so hardly gambling. :)

One of the points made in that report was that these items do have (edit: monetary) value because people are willing to spend so much money on a chance to get these "pixels". They may not be valuable to you but that doesn't matter, they are valuable to others.

Edit: also people do trade real world money for in game items which implies that they have value.

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For me "gambling" implies I can make my money back. When I buy keys I know its a 100% loss.

I do understand where they are coming from but the problem that is being diagnosed is a lesson that is one that is to be taught by the people who raise you. No company should have to regulate this sort of thing because one can not have self control or teach children how to use money responsibly. Whats next limiting stores from selling foods to us because they are bad for you to combat child obesity?

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One thing that's being overlooked in this thread: disclosing the statistical likelihood of any given item in the box. That's been talked about extensively in context with lootboxes in multiple countries. One of the key points is that they want companies to disclose the actual odds to anyone who is potentially buying a box. There's a big difference between "You have a pretty good chance of getting this Starborn Outfit" and "You have a .05% chance of getting this Starborn Outfit". One incites gambling and is absolutely predatory, the other is completely transparent.

If you're aware of the odds, the blame resides solely on the purchaser. Otherwise the enticement is predatory and leans on addictive behavior. I agree that ANet is among the fairest and most reasonable of all companies that engage in these tactics. Between false scarcity and non-disclosure of actual odds, it's still bad behavior. Bad behavior that keeps the game afloat? Probably true.

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