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Topic: Dutch Oven: Loot Boxes Investigated by the Netherlands as Pa...
Steve Farrelly
AusGamers Editor
Posts: 7649
Location: Sydney, New South Wales

Specifically, according to a report over at VG247, 10 games were investigated by the Netherland's gaming commission. Four of them have been found to be in violation of the Better Gaming Act and have eight weeks to make significant changes or face fines or even be removed from sale.

While the four "popular" titles found to be in violation of the act aren't named, the gaming commission declared that they "are designed as gambling games are designed, with the feeling that you have almost won" and that they are calling "on all game companies not to make loot boxes accessible to children anymore and to remove addictive elements".

VG247's report comes via Netherlands public news agency NOS who has outed the four games as FIFA 18, Dota 2, PUBG and Rocket League. Given these games are played globally online, how the companies decide to handle any demanded changes will be interesting. The other six games that were part of the overall investigation still featured loot boxes, but were found to be compliant with gambling laws. Check out the more in-depth VG247 report via the link above.

Loot boxes -- what are your thoughts on them overall?
Posts: 9594
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
IMO games incorporating these systems should have to use a third-party token system. They should also be required to declare the drop rate of items, and publicly report on the actual number of each item issued to verify those drop rates.

It's a little hard to explain but I've been tinkering with designing a system that would externalise the process of fairly generating token results in a way that could not be gamed by either company. It works a little bit like SAML implementations for SSO and federated logins.

The company issuing loot boxes would basically have to publicly declare the drop rate of each item, which would also be provided in an interchange format that be verified by both the customer and the token authority, which would also be signed by the third-party for verification. The third-party would be responsible for assigning a randomized identifier that maps to an item to be returned. This would be implemented in such a way that the token authority is also blind to what items the token maps to.

The merchant would be obligated to return the item defined by that identifier, and there would be a mechanism where the customer can verify that the merchant has returned the item assigned by the token authority.

last edited by Raven at 21:12:42 20/Apr/18
AGN Admin
Posts: 39569
Location: Other International

That sounds technically neat but given this whole system is basically gambling, how does it align with existing gambling laws?
Posts: 9595
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
I believe such laws do not exist because such a solution does not yet exist. If presented with a workable system, it might encourage lawmakers to consider it as a solution.

It has the brilliant advantage that it can also work as an avenue to generate a business/market from - client becomes a customer of a token authority who issues a certificate, and you could design it in such a way that a second token authority then takes that certificate and is paid per-token that's generated.

Kinda in the same way domain names or SSL certificates are signed and sold.
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