Loot Boxes Expose Thin Line Between Gaming And Gambling

“Loot Boxes” have come to dominate gaming news in 2017. These are in-game objects with a random assortment of virtual items, which can sometimes be obtained in-game but more likely have to be purchased with real-world money. And there’s some concern that this could be teaching kids to gamble.

But really, this isn’t as new as most people seem to think it is. Way back in the 1990s, collectible trading card games like Magic: the Gathering, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh were selling card “booster packs” in stores. Pop a pack, and you could pull out a $100 mythic rare – or worthless junk. Even outside of games, baseball cards were once packaged with bubble gum and about the same random odds of pulling a rare, valuable card.

But it’s only recently that video game companies have come under fire for loot box distribution, just because it’s such a transparent money-grab. Electronic Arts drew a lot of derision in the gaming community for Star Wars Battlefront II, which uses loot boxes. The issue is that it’s simply too easy to fine-tune an algorithm on a computer to reduce odds on getting anything valuable from a loot box.

The bottom line remains that any kind of legislation of loot box practices is unlikely. Gamers are more than able to vote with their wallets. In the case of EA, veteran gamers will recall The Sims franchise, which had an endless parade of expansion packs, all the price of the full game, but delivering less and less additional content. After that experience, gamers could have had some foresight about EA’s practices. Gaming companies as a whole might learn a lesson from the backlash. But when they’re not being too greedy about it, loot boxes are still fun, so nobody’s calling for them to go away completely.


Candy Crush to become a game show

The makers of Candy Crush Saga may not know what the word saga means, but that has not stopped them from adding the word on to the end of their products. Their lack of concern over the accepted definitions of English words has not hurt their bottom line. Although casual gaming and social gaming are often connected, they are not the same. The makers of the game hope to bridge this gap by turning the popular puzzle game into a television game show.

 

Players of the Candy Crush game often play it on Facebook or their cell phones during their free time. It is similar to the Sega Genesis Game Columns, but it has a few twists of its own. The game show, unlike the casual game, would have players competing against each other to pop rows or to prevent their opponents from doing so.

 

At the moment, the game show remains in development. Unlike the Candy Crush cell phone app, the game show will feature teams of players navigating their way across virtual game boards.

 

Social media users reacted to the news with varying degrees of amusement. One Twitter user remarked that graduates will finally be able to pay off their student loans with skills they learned in class.