Sunday, November 26, 2017

EA's Lootbox Fiasco Will Reach Far Beyond Itself

The lootbox issue with Electronic Arts will have consequences that go far beyond that company. Not only will all videogames be affected, all gaming will be affected. The various governments across the world looting to place regulations or bans on lootboxes by proclaiming them to be a form of slot-machine gambling (which they are), directly affects other genres of game whose business model rests on this concept.

The Collectable Card Game (e.g. Magic: The Gathering) genre is going to get nailed, maybe even destroyed, by these pending government decrees. A booster pack of random cards is the basis for the entire business model, and power is directly tied to card rarity, making the game Pay To Win as well as slot-based gambling; some games ameliorate this by a secondary mechanism that allows players to recycle duplicates into desired cards but that's usually confined to virtual CCGs (e.g. Hearthstone). Tabletop CCGs will get destroyed, and a few see the writing on the wall; they're shifting to a different model that removes the gambling.

Not that I lament the loss of lootboxes and everything like them. They're a goddamn cancer and I will be glad to see them gone.

The game industry, across all media, will have to retreat and retrench once the bans go through and the uniformed men with guns standby for order to shoot the shit out of non-compliant parties. Since most people don't want to die by being ripped apart via rifle fire, especially craven greedy cowards like EA's executives, we can confidently expect a global shift in business practice back to (for videogames) more like the PS2 era (and for tabletop, before CCGs), and we can expect it because that will be easier than wasting time and resources fighting it in court or lobbying against it in legislatures.

Especially as word spreads of how Disney called up EA and read them the Riot Act over this matter. The Mouse will take EA's heads if The Last Jedi opens below expectations, using them as the scapegoat without mercy or hesitation. No matter what, EA's going to hit a regime change presently; it's not down to a matter of scope and scale. The fallout from this fiasco will, overall, be a positive change as all the Pay To Win fake games get neutered or destroyed regardless of genre and the fake gamers who play the toll to fast-track to Real Ultimate POWAH! go with them. That's good for everyone but the fakers, and they can go fuck themselves with rusted shovels covered in shit and burrs.

The reactions as this rolls out will be telling. Take note of those crying for the loss of ways to avoid Gittin' Gud as the sole path to victory, as well as those who cannot release a solid, complete game at launch to save their worthless lives. Note them, and shun them like they're leper zombies with alien embryos in their chests waiting to burst forth. This is good news to we who hate bitchwork in gaming, as lootboxes were just the latest iteration of it; kill it--all of it- with nuclear fire.

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