Are Gachas Considered Loot Boxes (And Gambling)?

Cristiano

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In the past few years, loot boxes have become extremely controversial, with the controversy coming to a head with EA's release of Star Wars Battlefront II, where progression in a $60+ game was locked behind loot boxes bought with real money. After a huge backlash, EA completely changed how loot boxes and progression work in the game, but the damage was done. Legislators became involved, and while most stopped shy of regulating them, Belgium declared loot boxes gambling and made them illegal in games. Other big games have scrambled to make changes to their loot boxes or scrap them altogether (Shadow of War removed their marketplace in a recent patch). EA is currently risking violating the Belgian law by selling loot crates in FIFA 19. Guild Wars 2 stopped letting Belgian users buy gems to avoid violating the law.

Are Second Life's gachas considered loot boxes, and if so, could LL (and in turn, gacha sellers) run afoul of Belgian law? The fact that they are bought with a virtual currency (L$) doesn't matter, as you can buy that currency with real money.
 
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I don't think so, personally. There's no "progression" involved, and it's not like gambling. You pay for an item and you get an item, each time you play. It may not be the item you want, but there are all kinds of ways to trade or get rid of the extras/spares, and recoup at least some of your money.
 

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Two things though...

1. I think there should be a way to earn something or pay to get it (for some items)
2. I think if I'm going to spend a large amount on something I'm entitled to have that thing - not gambling to see if I get it after dropping $50

Some people have less time to invest in doing something but still want to enjoy it - and I think that's OK. I'm a busy lady and I also like to play things :)
 
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WolfEyes

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I don't see how they could be since SL is not a game.

These big gaming companies like EA need to stop ripping off their customers with "micro transactions" and lying about them. They tell you, you don't have to buy and while that is true what they don't tell you is if you don't buy you won't enjoy the same experience as everyone else on top of not being able to progress beyond a certain point. I know it happens because it has happened to me.
 
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Allison

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The same experience should be available to both - yes. And you should know beforehand that if you don't plan on doing microtransactions you won't get to fully play the game.

I don't see how they could be since SL is not a game.

These big gaming companies like EA need to stop ripping off their customers with "micro transactions" and lying about them. They tell you, you don't have to buy and while that is true what they don't tell you is if you don't buy you won't enjoy the same experience as everyone else on top of not being able to progress beyond a certain point. I know it happens because it has happened to me.
 

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Of course gachas are gambling. Of course they're loot boxes. You pay money and you get a random item. You have no control over what you get. It's just a slot machine by another name.

I will never support them.
 

Kara Spengler

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I don't think so, personally. There's no "progression" involved, and it's not like gambling. You pay for an item and you get an item, each time you play. It may not be the item you want, but there are all kinds of ways to trade or get rid of the extras/spares, and recoup at least some of your money.
Whether or not you get something is not really the point as the much maligned GW2 loot boxes (2 types actually, but everyone gave up on the first) operate the same way: you know you will get something, just not what. Some prizes are worth more than others.
 

Kalel

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Personally i think it is gambling in the psychological sense..

1) there is exchange of money that takes place
2) There is an event that determine an outcome you cannot control
3) there are winners and losers

the other issue as well as second life does is a mechanism to cash out into RL money! which alot of people consider a big point in gambling

However, SL breaks the rule in a few ways

SL isn't technically a game
99.9% of Gachas are cosmectic. There no gaming advantage...(unless you consider looking good an advantage, depending on the business)

it's creating a market where the value is based on scarcity..

if you wanted to do scarcity... just sell a limited amount of copies... theres even a function for that in the marketplace...

alot of the stores i use to visit.. some of them have turned to gacha and are banking off of it. it's clear it's about the money and no longer about getting the customer to buy the product.


Frankly i'm more upset entire outfits are separated... seriously i don't need another aqua arm piece... just want the whole complete outfit -.-
 

Kamilah Hauptmann

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Frankly i'm more upset entire outfits are separated... seriously i don't need another aqua arm piece... just want the whole complete outfit -.-
Ya, if it's a thing I really want that's when I'm hitting the marketplace.

Extra fun when the core central piece is tagged as 'Rare'.
 

Adeon Writer

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I feel they are more like those $4 blind box figurines you see in toy isles of Walmart, Hot Topic, and LEGO stores.

Those are entirely legal, in the case of LEGO, it’s even targeted at Kids, I’m not sure what’s the difference is.

Happy Meal toys from McDonalds also fall into a similar boat.
 
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In the case of LEGO, you can just feel the accessories inside the envelope. There's a cashier at the Easton LEGO store who is extremely helpful with this.

But, the problem comes when there is a resale market and the items have "rarity" especially without a published odds table. If you buy a LEGO figure, there are equal odds of getting any figure in that series, so the value should be the same no matter what you get. Of course people have favorites and on Amazon or Ebay you will pay more for the ones that people want. But that is not manipulated by LEGO (unless you count teasing us with Batman in a pink tutu as manipulation).

In the case of SL, it does not matter that SL is not a game: the Gatcha device IS a game. You put in money, and get a "random" virtual object. Most Gatchas have a "rarity" factor that artificially limits some items in order to create a difference in the monetary value of the item (since you can resell items and exchange Lindens for local currency, that is a real world value). It should also not matter that there is no "advantage" offered by the item, it is the difference in values that matters.

I think Gatchas are a grey area, but they could easily come under scrutiny as gambling, and like EA's loot boxes or a bunch of mobile games, the purchaser has no idea of the actual odds of winning but the seller can manipulate those odds behind the scenes.
 
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CronoCloud Creeggan

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After spending mass quantities of L$ on a Ingenue shoe gacha to get ALL THE COLORS a couple of years back I came to this conclusion:

Gacha is Satan, not Satin and we want Satin, not Satan. Hail Satin! I want what I want when I want it, not what I don't want.
 

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Ya, if it's a thing I really want that's when I'm hitting the marketplace.

Extra fun when the core central piece is tagged as 'Rare'.
You run into about the same thing in games. Getting all the skins for an outfit have the same level of difficulty except for one random piece which requires a bunch of extra hoops. This is the point where I start going through my wardrobe to see what else will work as a replacement.
 

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This is so last January.

My comment said:
(1) This article is literally the first time I have ever heard of Gatchas as "loot boxes".
If nothing else, Gatchas have been around way longer than "loot boxes". Maybe we should call loot boxes "Gatchas".
(2) Unlike loot boxes in video games, Gatchas are a tiny part of second life for most people. They're the online equivalent of those toy machines in front of the grocery store. I've been to a Gatcha event maybe three times in the past 12 or so years I've visited SL.
I had a business on SL for several years. My biggest money-maker was a product I sold full perm purely on the honor system. It still sold pretty well for a couple of years after LL made 90% of its features irrelevant by incorporating them into the game itself. So, I have to say most people in SL are there socially and have no interest in ripping anyone off... it's really not a big problem.
And a few days ago I got flamed by someone who doesn't think that L$50 is pocket change.
 

Cristiano

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Things have changed because of the law in Belgium and legislation being considered elsewhere. Microtransactions in games are often pocket change, but it adds up when people become addicted to loot boxes and spend thousands.
 
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NiranV Dean

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I'd give this a clear: Yes they are.

Why?

What makes loot boxes loot boxes? Loot boxes come in many different shapes but they all work mostly the same. You get them, you open them, you get something random.

Whether you have to pay for them, or you get them as gift from someone else, or you get them for an achievement or goal doesn't matter. You get a box with random content, so you'll never know what you get making this also gambling to some degree. In SL's case it's even the worst case of them as in most Gachas you are not protected from getting doubles, instead it is an integral part of the entire Gacha system since these items are often trade able and no-copy.

I'd even call them a ripoff since you absolutely and totally have to pay for them (if you have to pay for them) and you are never guaranteed to get what you want essentially making this a blind buy. In most games you CAN buy them but also get them for progressing through the game.

If i were you i'd despise any kind of Gacha and would stay far away from them, letting them rot wherever they cam from, they are just another bad thing that somehow crept its way into Second Life to make as much money with as little effort as possible.

Verdict: AVOID.
 

Adeon Writer

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Are gumball machines lootboxes?

You don’t get to pick the flavor. Also blueberry ones are rare so it’s a risk involved if that’s the one you want out of it.

Remember your answer.

If I made it in SL, does it change anything? If so, why?
 
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NiranV Dean

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Are gumball machines lootboxes?

You don’t get to pick the flavor. Also blueberry ones are rare so it’s a risk involved if that’s the one you want out of it.

Remember your answer.

If I made it in SL, does it change anything? If so, why?
No because they are not packed into boxes.

/sarcasm

Yes, they are. I don't know why this lootbox thing suddenly became so popular when we actually had lootboxes for a long long time already, they were just not simply packed into boxes and given out at the end of a level/match.

Sure when they mean lootboxes they mean this specific kind of lootbox where you (and that's my assumption) pump real money into it to progress faster but many other things are nothing but lootboxes too. The moment you get any type of random item out of a container, be it a machine or something else not human it's a lootbox just one of many types of lootboxes.

But SL Gachas are and stay the worst kind of lootboxes regardless.
 
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The thing I dislike massively about gachas is how *much* stuff is now gacha-only. I can only assume they make a lot more money for the creator than just selling the thing normally, which yeah does mean they're depending on other people's gambling habits so they can turn a profit. You're very very unlikely to lose your home over an SL gacha, but it's easy to spend a lot more than you would have when you really want that rare item.