The ‘AAA’ Industry Can’t Be Trusted To Regulate Its Gambling Problem (The Jimquisition)

The ‘AAA’ Industry Can’t Be Trusted To Regulate Its Gambling Problem (The Jimquisition)


– Please like and subscribe. I need YouTube to validate my existence. What’s it gonna take to get
you to like and subscribe? Do I have to drink jewels? ‘Cause I’ll drink jewels,
I’ll drink jewels all day! (“Born Depressed” by Drill Queen) ♪ Born different ♪ ♪ Born innocent ♪ ♪ Born perfect ♪ ♪ I’m not like you ♪ ♪ I’m a born lover ♪ ♪ Born living and I know ♪ ♪ I’m not like you ♪ ♪ I was born clever ♪ ♪ Born knowledgeable ♪ ♪ Born better ♪ – Jewel. Anyway, I’m looking at my phone today. Got this article up about
the risks of loot boxes. A study has been published
in the July issue of “Royal Society Open” magazine, which talks about the startling risks associated with loot boxes. Those gambling mechanics
that the game industry tells us aren’t gambling mechanics even though they’re gambling mechanics because they look and
behave exactly like gambling and they are gambling, they’re gambling! They’re gambling is
what they are, gambling. They’re gambling. “We would argue that regardless “of the profitability
of the loot box trade, “the risks associated with
them are worryingly high.” According to this report,
what I am doing a reading of, the risks with loot box
spending and problem gambling are more than twice as
strong as the relationship seen recently in a similarly
recruited adult population. Now, any long time viewers of this show will know that there are risks associated with aggressive
monetization of video games. I’ve talked to the victims,
I’ve talked to the targets, I’ve talked to the people that
the game industry preys upon. I’ve published their
stories, and it sickens me. The video game industry, the AAA mainstream video game industry, makes me sick to my tummy wummy wummy! Why do I have to undermine my own points by saying things like tummy wummy wummy? Anyway, that aside, let’s talk about the video
game industry’s recent attempt to wallpaper over the cracks
of the loot box debacle. As loot boxes face a more
and more credible criticism and the practice of in-game gambling comes under investigation
across the world, the video game industry has revealed that major platform holders
are working on policies that’ll require more disclosure. In future publishers will be
required to reveal the odds of winning on their little
premium poison boxes with Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all working together to enforce it. This announcement was made by the Entertainment Software Association, the game industry’s trade association that specializes in
lobbying, astroturfing, and incompetently leaking
the personal information of thousands of E3 attendees. “I’m pleased to announce this morning “that Microsoft, Nintendo,
and Sony have indicated to ESA “a commitment to new platform policies “with respect to the
use of paid loot boxes “in games that are developed
for their platform,” said the ESA’s Michael Warnecke. “Specifically, this
would apply to new games “and game updates that
add loot box features. “And it would require the
disclosure of the relative rarity “or probabilities of obtaining
randomized virtual items “in games that are available
on their platforms.” Policies are expected to go
into effect by the end of 2020 and a number of major
publishers have agreed to reveal their loot box odds by then. Such companies include
Activision Blizzard, Bethesda, Bungie, Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive,
Warner Brothers Interactive, Ubisoft, and others. A number of publishers have not
thus far committed to comply including Gearbox, Square
Enix, Capcom, and THQ Nordic. But certainly, in THQ Nordic’s case, the company said it’s never
had loot boxes in its games and doesn’t pan to
implement them in future. The publishers who have
pledged their commitment are certainly the ones notorious for exploiting gambling mechanics. Epic Games, for its part, has
already been making changes, revealing the exact items
found inside loot boxes in “Fortnite: Save the World”, and promising to remove them
entirely from “Rocket League”. That last move, the removal of them entirely from Rocket League, is the only move that’s
actually worth a shit. The ESA may now express how pleased it is to announce this extra transparency, but it’s worth noting
that it’s come only after the Federal Trade Commission got involved. Amidst controversy and
criticism surrounding the game industry’s
predatory business practices, the FTC promised it would
start looking into loot boxes which has borne fruit
with a recent workshop titled “Inside the Game: “Unlocking the consumer issues
surrounding loot boxes.” Here the FTC learned about
video game monetization from a variety of academics
and industry figures and it was at this workshop where the ESA was so pleased to make its announcement. Before now however, the
ESA, which, by the way, recently docks thousanded
of games media members, has been pretty adamant that in-game gambling
mechanics aren’t a problem. In November 2018, when the FTC first promised
to look into loot boxes, the ESA preemptively
rushed to their defense, seemingly way more
protective of loot boxes than of people’s private data. “Loot boxes are one way
that players can enhance “the experience that video games offer,” said the ESA at the time. “Contrary to assertions,
loot boxes are not gambling. “They have no real-world
value, players always receive “something that enhances their experience “and they are entirely
optional to purchase. (comical giggling) “They can enhance the experience “for those who choose to use them, “but have no impact on those who do not.” Just the same weak, tired,
long debunked excuses for loot boxes that
game industry defenders have been pedaling for years with no plan or stated intent to
tackle them whatsoever. And yes, the ESA used
“enhance the experience” that many times, fucking cretins. Before then the ESA was even
more dismissive of concerns. In May of 2018, the trade
association wrote off in-game gambling criticism
as a mere over-reaction, something it wasn’t planning
to take seriously at all. “In the U.S., loot boxes are not gambling “for more than the reason
I put here,” the ESA said, referencing the same tired old bullshit. “The other one is it’s not
converted to value in the world. “It can only exist in the digital world” No, that’s the premise of “Reboot”. “That’s the component that many “of these definitions look at. “There’s not an exit path to turn that “into something outside of the game. “We have both of those reasons present, “predominantly for loot boxes “and in-game transactions
around this industry. “So going to the one or two
isolated over-reactions, “seeing how those over-reactions “play to one or two governments, “and then making that the standard “and doing that industry-wide? “That’s not going to be productive “for the industry, or for gamers.” In this statement, the ESA, which cannot be trusted to
protect your private data, also said that self-regulation
was the only viable solution, adding “Let’s inform first, “continue to self-regulate,
and move ahead that way. “It’s worked great for us
over the last 20 years. “That’s the prescription we
should use going forward.” Yeah, self-regulation has worked great for you over the last 20 years. For you and you alone, game industry. You see self-regulation
sounds great in theory, but in practice it only really works for the businesses doing the regulating. Expecting a corporation to
affectively self-regulate is like expecting Jason Voorhees to say, “Oh, that’s enough murdered
teens for me tonight, thanks. “I’m gonna have a sit
down and a sandwich.” This shifty fucking industry
has proven time and time again that it will do anything to make money if it can get away with it. It will indulge in any
toxic business model, sink to any depth of avarice,
no matter how unethical, and will only stop after
enough public outcry makes such behavior untenable. Something most clearly demonstrated with the backlash to “Star
Wars Battlefront II”. And the industry’s own regulatory bodies are woefully, often
deliberately, defeasible. The Entertainment Software Ratings Board is the game industry’s self-regulation arm when it comes to appropriately
age rating content. And they have been just as dismissive as the ESA in the past. Also using the same pitifully
transparent excuses. Despite this, the ESRB did eventually try to cover the industry’s tracks, once the political
climate around loot boxes got a little bit too hot, by adding an in-game purchases
content label for games containing loot boxes, micro-transactions and any other premium content purchasable within the software. It was an all encompassing move, however, lumping together loot boxes with other less
gambling-oriented transactions. This obfuscating move was by design. The ESRB’s stated reason for lumping all transactions together inadvertently betrayed
the sneaky motive at play. “I’m sure you’re all asking “why aren’t we doing something
more specific to loot boxes,” said ESRB President Patricia Vance. “We’ve done a lot of research “over the past several weeks and months, “particularly among parents. “What we’ve learned is that
a large majority of parents “don’t know what a loot box is. “Even those who claim they do, “don’t really understand
what a loot box is. “So it’s very important for us “to not harp on loot boxes per se, “to make sure that we’re
capturing loot boxes, “but also other in-game transactions.” Quite how Vance thought this would make the ESRB look justified is beyond me, as it’s basically the ESRB admitting they won’t explain things to people who need that explanation the most. I mean, we’re not explaining
what loot boxes are because parents don’t
know what loot boxes are is a hell of a stance to take, but it effectively demonstrates exactly what the ESRB is doing. Deliberately failing to effectively inform the public about in-game monetization. Just offering a blanket label to cover the game industry’s tracks and provide the appearance of regulation, without doing anything of
actual substance, note or use. Very much like the ESA and
its new loot box disclosures, the ESRB’s in-game purchases
label was only implemented after years of willful
ignorance on the issue, of hand waving concerns away until the political
pressure got real enough that it was time to put
on a show of proaction. And even with the ESRB
going out of its way to protect publishers’ interests, those very same game publishers are making a mockery of the effort. Thanks to post-launch micro-transactions adding premium currencies
weeks or months after launch, companies like Activision
are getting their games rated without the appropriate warnings, totally undermining the very thing that was instituted to cover their asses. Activision gets to enjoy weeks of suckering customers into its economy before anyone realizes
that’s what’s happening. And the ESRB ratings can’t reflect it, because the ESRB doesn’t
know it’s coming either. They can only digitally
re-rate it after the fact. And, in the case of physical boxes, those already out there can’t be amended. “Crash Team Racing” could be
bought in a store right now and the appropriate labeling
isn’t on the package despite micro-transactions
getting added in. I cannot get over how
fucking weaselly that is. The in-game purchases
label was fucking designed to protect publisher interests and they still can’t help undermining it. Even with the ESRB looking out for them, they still can’t see past their own greed-fueled
short term gains enough to consider for a moment maybe
not fucking with the system that’s designed to work in their favor. I mean, how addicted to
being a sneaky rat fuck do you have to be? God dang it, Bobby! That, and that alone, demonstrates how woefully inefficient game
industry self-regulation is. I’d almost call the regulation inept, if I didn’t suspect that it’s doing exactly what it’s meant to be doing. Which, is to say, not very much. EA was ahead of the curve on this one, revealing “FIFA Ultimate
Team” prize odds as of 2018. The odds themselves
showed just how brutally in favor of Electronic Arts they were, with the most desirable prizes having a less than 1% chance of dropping. But knowing the odds has never stopped people with spending
addictions, problem gamblers and it’s never stopped children. The very people companies like EA have been making their money from. And, EA will continue to unethically sucker money out of people with “FIFA”. Which, by the by, is rated
suitable for young children, which leads to stories of kids cleaning out their parents’ bank accounts, unless given more adult supervision than is needed for “Wolfenstein”. The fact that odds are disclosed has done jack squat for families impacted by the duplicitous nature of loot boxes. Unlike with sticker
packs and trading cards, which the industry loves
to compare to loot boxes, video games are constantly updated and publishers have 24/7
access to their end users. Odds can always be shifted. We already know that in-game
purchases are fiddled with, thanks to companies
like Scientific Revenue, which uses tactics like dynamic pricing to alter digital storefronts
on a per player basis. All with the goal of psychologically manipulating people into spending money. Given the inherently raptorial
nature of micro-transactions, I am simply not one to trust the game industry here on any level. At what point have
publishers ever done anything to deserve trust, especially by now, when they’ve fucked so many people over so many times over so many years. Moreover, odds can
always be misrepresented. For example in casinos, the common promise of a 95% slot machine
payout can be misleading. Not all slot machines have
the same odds of payout, with some paying out 95% and others paying out practically zero. The casino just takes a
select sample of slot machines and uses them to arrive at its
average chances of winning. That’s just one way that
odds can be misrepresented. But, at least at a casino
when you win something, there’s financial value. When you buy a Panini sticker pack or a collectable card game pack, you get a physical good that
could be traded or sold. The industry loves to hide behind the fact that you can’t benefit
financially from a loot box prize. But what are they really admitting there? They’re just saying that loot boxes are like gambling, but shit. And, as I’ve said in the past, if I go to the Beau Rivage casino, they’ve go that sweet crab buffet with that sweet buffet crab. I don’t even need to have
a go on the slot machines, I’ll just head straight to the buffet and eat all that crab,
thank you very much. All crab all nice up in my tummy. Sweet buffet crab is
better than loot boxes. Every time. Playing “Call of Duty” has never once given me the sweet taste of crab. Instead, it just makes me
feel like I’ve got crabs. Odds disclosure is wallpaper over a crack, a newspaper put down over
a puddle of cat piss. It’s the illusion of something being done without anything actually being done to address the fact that gambling is part of the AAA game experience now. If something were to actually
solve the issue of loot boxes, EA, Activision and their trash brethren would be fighting it, not pledging to comply
with it for appearances. They’ve resisted any legitimate attempt at regulation in the past. And this self-regulatory grand-standing, that’s just more resistance, swaddled in the sheep’s
clothing of compromise. Loot boxes are gambling. Gambling, but shittier. It’s gambling and should
be regulated as such. “FIFA” has zero business
marketing itself toward kids, not when it needs such
intense parental supervision. By the very strict legal
definition of gambling in most countries, loot boxes are not, no, they’re not, technically gambling. But, that’s all it is. Game publishers are getting
off on a technicality. That’s what they’re exploiting. Psychologically and mechanically, these things are not
different from slot machines. And that’s why you never see EA, Activision, the ESRB or the ESA talk about the mechanical
implementation of loot boxes or the psychological
impressions they make. No, they sweep all that
shit under the rug. They only stick to legal definitions, weak comparisons to sticker albums or the disingenuous claim
that it’s all just optional. They do this because they
know damn fucking well that loot boxes are comparable
to gambling in every way except that strict technicality. And, more than any other point, odds disclosure isn’t
enough for the simple fact that micro-transactions of any stripe shouldn’t be in a paid
game to fucking begin with. The game publishers raking
in billions of dollars off the back of predatory business models is wholly unethical and
that the very real harm these sneakily incremental
purchases could inflict is fucking abominable. Loot box odds disclosure isn’t
enough because, ultimately, premium loot boxes need
to fuck off and die. The only regulation that matters is regulation that
strangles the entire concept until it’s nothing but a
twitching goddamn corpse. Loot boxes are vile, they
should be eradicated, the game industry has a
clear gambling problem and it cannot be trusted
to regulate itself. I realize not everyone takes me seriously when I go on my tangents. I mean, I don’t know what
about this whole setup isn’t to be taken
seriously, but, for reals, people dismiss me as rambling and ranting and getting all angry over
the video game industry. But, I truly do mean it. I’ve said this in other videos, I’ve said this in the addiction video, that I really would like
people to still share and put out there, because
of the testimonies in there and the research in there,
you know, it needs to be seen. And, as I’ve said there, I’ll say it here, it’s not an act when I get furious at the AAA game industry. I know I throw in little catch phrases and there’s some humor in what we do. We like to have a laugh
on the show where we can, a bit of levity, if you will, but that doesn’t mean that I’m insincere. I’m genuinely concerned about
what aggressive monetization has done to the game industry, to the quality of video games themselves. And, more importantly, to
the people they target. To the so-called whales,
to problem gamblers, to people with spending
shopping addictions, people with compulsive personalities. Just all the people that
the video game industry is raking in tens of
billions of dollars from. I use to stress a lot that
I am not fully in favor of government regulation
of the game industry, but it is quite clear by now, that self-regulation is a crock
of shit for the most part. It’s something the industry
wants to do to avoid scrutiny, to avoid accountability, to
avoid taking responsibility for the harm that the industry is doing. And that can’t carry on. And at this point, I
just don’t give a shit if the government steps in or not. The industry had its chance,
it had multiple chances. And these little things
they’re trying to do, the in-game warning labels that the industry is actually
just ignoring and undermining, this new thing about
loot box disclosure odds, it’s a farce, it’s a performance, it’s grand standing and it means nothing. It’s just the game industry
trying to cover its own tracks so it can continue exploiting people, preying upon people, generally
being a massive pile of wank. And, at this point, if
they do get slapped down, I won’t weep for them. I won’t even bother getting a tiny violin, they’re not even worth that much. Thank god for me and all
that, but, more importantly, thank god for people who are
still coming forward to me, telling me about their
stories and their experiences with aggressive video game monetization and what it’s done to them. I still have lots more, many more stories to share in that regard, and hopefully I’ll get to do that soon. More testimonials, or another
“Jimquisition”, who knows? I’ve got so much to share and it’s heartbreaking and despicable and at some point, one day, the so-called AAA video game industry is gonna have to answer for it. I’ve just noticed one of the jewels went into my actual water. I’m literally drinking jewels. (“Stress” by Jim’s Big Ego) ♪ Everybody’s thinking about me ♪

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