Belgium says loot crates are gambling


Not necessarily, but it’s the most straightforward answer to your question.

Now, since you brought it up, what do you think actually distinguishes wanting loot boxes from wanting Legos?


They’re a skinner box. Google skinner box. This has been very well known and understood for decades.

Gambling is psychologically addictive. Gambling provides variable rewards. If you won or lost consistently, it wouldn’t be addictive. This causal direct link is very well understood.


We could just universally ban the practice of loot boxes, timer-based gameplay, and the whole raft of microtransaction-based insanity because it makes really fucking shitty games. 98% of games on phones these days blow ass because of this shit; it’s maddening.


I do have a moral objection to that sort of predatory monetization, but it doesn’t pass the threshold where I feel they should be regulated out of existence. Lots of people enjoy Candy Crush, and more power to 'em.

It’s when it encroaches on the types of games I enjoy, that’s when I get testy. P2W in a game charging $80 for the box, that’s some unacceptable bullshit.


Eh, I kinda feel like phone games could find some way to exist charging a set amount of dollars to just let you just play the fucking game without having to be wait-timered out of it unless you wanna clear the itmers for the low low price of sixteen gooblyjems only $5.99 cyber week special!

AKA, there’s no reason that proper gaming couldn’t exist on phones apart from greed feeding the worst impulses of the masses. Woe for the King Games execs who wouldn’t be able to sell out to EA for $50,000,000,000 off the back of a single wildly popular gooblyjem-clicker.


I feel the same way, but not liking something is not sufficient enough to really regulate. The assumption is if the game is bad enough, then no one will play it or pay for it which is clearly not the case. I think there was a line for these micros Apple and Amazon crossed their and now the industry is doing it again.


A Skinner box is a model for operant conditioning. That’s a means of producing a consistent behavior, given a stimulus. But a consistent behavior is not an addiction. It’s just a habit, which can be good or bad. These methods are used all the time in workplaces, schools, etc.

You still haven’t explained why loot boxes are addictive, but Legos aren’t.

You suggest that gambling is bad because it involves variable rewards, but that’s circular reasoning. Of course it involves variable rewards, that’s the definition of gambling. Your argument amounts to “gambling is an addiction because it’s gambling.”

Most addictions do not involve variable rewards. They are depressingly predictable. The addict craves cocaine. He knows exactly how much he will use, what will happen immediately after he uses the drug, how long the high will last, and what will happen after it wears off. There is no mystery about any of this, at all.

Note also that variable reinforcement is not the only way to form habits. Large, consistent reinforcement can also work. So now do you intend to regulate that, too? Because it seems to me that the whole point of a game is to make you come back for more. If it’s not trying to be habit-forming, what’s the point?


I did not say or even imply that variable rewards were the only sort of addiction in the world. I’m starting to suspect you aren’t posting in good faith. Straw men are not appropriate targets.


I’m trying to understand, stusser. The only distinction you’ve made between Legos and loot boxes is that the latter has variable rewards. But my point is that variable rewards are neither necessary nor sufficient to define something as an addiction. You also mentioned cost, but obviously that’s not unique to loot boxes.

So what’s left?


Variable rewards do indeed make an activity addictive. Again, very well understood and documented.


Agreed. Pick up an intro to psychology book if you missed this somewhere along the way. There is at least one famous experiment involving mice and a food button that demonstrates the effect of variable rewards on the psyche.


In glorious Penbladian Socialist-Autocratic Republic, is only reason for to regulate!

More seriously, I’m of persuasion that stopping at protecting kids from bad behavior isn’t enough. Adults are susceptible to the same scammy practices and we outlaw stuff for the good of all all the time. Can’t smoke in bars or run a ponzi scheme… I just wanna lower to required stakes to “participate in the greed based murder of gaming as we know it”


Yeah, I already brought up the skinner box. I mean, this is like arguing over whether water is wet.

You can’t smoke in bars or run a ponzi scheme because those things hurt other people. Obsessive gambling only hurts yourself, and adults are allowed to be self-destructive.

I mean if you take it to extremes obviously their friends and family are impacted by an addict’s self-destructive behavior, maybe they steal their friend’s TV to pawn it or whatever, but you get the point.


Water is wet!? LIES!

I don’t think I’d argue that adults shouldn’t be allowed to buy loot boxes, or gamble, or smoke, but that doesn’t mean kids should. Kids are really susceptible to this sort of thing and don’t possess the tools to understand and evaluate the situation.


Then…don’t let your children have access to a credit or debit card without parental supervision.

Whew, problem solved, thread over!


I tend to agree that good parenting is the best solution to this problem. Now how do we give parents the necessary tools to know what games contain these potentially harmful elements? How do we facilitate parents ability to parent well?


By that reasoning, children should be allowed to smoke cigarettes. After all, it’s the parents’ fault if they give their kids money to buy them or let them bum a smoke.

Ultimately, if your kid wants to smoke, he’s gonna find a way to do it. Whether that’s stealing from his mom’s purse, sharing with friends, or whatever, it’s going to happen. You can’t stop it. So… why not just make it legal?

Well, when an activity is illegal it has a chilling effect. When pot was legalized in Oregon, pot smoking went WAY up. My parents eat weed eatables now. Would they do that if it was illegal? Hells to the no.


Putting kids’ safety at the mercy of their parents’ responsibility is crazy talk. Have you MET people?


No, that is simply not true. Variable rewards produce habits. For instance, email checking has variable rewards and is habit forming. It is not an addiction.

Tons of other examples. I check TripAdvisor reviews before the ordering off a menu the first time. The rewards are variable (“try the salmon!” ). It’s a habit. Not an addiction.


So is your contention that slot machines can’t be addictive? After all Slot machines are a direct analogy to loot boxes and utilize the same form of operant conditioning.