Fruit Stand Kingpin
- Sep 19, 2018
- SL Rez
I think where this question gets tricky is the idea of "Value": how do we judge an item as having more value than another item?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.
It's easy when we're talking about gambling because everyone knows currency has value and precisely how much, but nobody is agonizing about not getting the right gumball because people are almost always fine with whatever flavor they get. Thus, the gumballs you receive are all inherently equal in value and there usually isn't (or at least isn't intentionally) a "rare" one that's inherently more desirable. Gacha and lootboxes however are about identifying "value" in the items then adjusting their rarity to match.
I think a better example for your question was a gumball machine that a pizza place I went to as a kid had. It had the normal selection of gumballs, but also had various "special" colored ones, with the colors corresponding to different increasingly desirable prizes: free drink, free slice of pizza, up to the rarest which got you a whole pizza. This would drive people to buy a gumball who wouldn't otherwise want a gumball because of the possibility of getting a rare one, which changed the value proposition.
I guess the easiest way to look at it is to consider it from the owner's side. Why would they choose to introduce the element of randomness? In the case of a normal gumball machine, I don't think it could ever be argued that they were expecting kids to dump in quarters to get the strawberry one or whatever: it's just a convenient way to distribute a product of equal value. But it definitely could be argued that this was the goal with the gumball machine from that pizza place.
If it looks to me that the owner is attempting to determine value and then set randomness based on that determination of value, that's when it starts to feel like a "lootbox" to me, because their goal is clearly to drive sales based on the small chance of getting a desirable result. Which means they're preying on the same human characteristics that gambling does for the sake of profitability.