Is MMO Loot A 'Jackpot' Under The Law?

Video games regulators in South Korea say MMO publishers there have obstructed an investigation into "jackpot items," predicated on the idea that players risking in-game currency for random-item payoffs is in fact a form of gambling.

While publishers have cooperated so far as to provide the virtual items' names and virtual costs involved, they haven't coughed up the payout percentages to the government. For those who live in U.S. states with gaming commissions, this is somewhat like the audited figure that's intended to give slot machine parlors a modicum of transparency. Instead it ends up providing humorous double-entendre billboards like "Loosest slots in Central City."

Back in Korea, publishers say such payout info is proprietary and a business secret. Government officials think the MMO publishers are hiding something.

South Korean Game Rating Board Targets Jackpot Items in MMO's [Game Politics]


Comments

    Key word here is in-game currency. Sure it's a form of gambling. No more so than hitting my computer with a sledghammer gambling whether it'll start up again... I'd say the odds for that are pretty slim.

      Aah, but Diablo III's real cash Auction House may violate the distinction you make...

        Possibly. Although players will not be trading real world currency for a chance at loot. In game currency in the form of consumables and repair/res costs will be put against the odds of loot which will then be on-sold to others for dead presidents. To use an example, it would be the same as me paying for a spin on a wheel of chance and then selling the material prize. No gamble is involved on the part of the final purchaser.

          If real world currency can be used to purchase the in game currency used for the gambling, then it is effectively gambling with real world currency.

          If it wasn't then a casino could claim that none of its games are gambling either because you use chips, which aren't real money either.

            What a shame, you've taken my reply.
            Now I have to contact Paul, but he's still in Hong Kong.

            The way these F2P games work is you pay real money to purchase 'premium currency' and then use that currency to purchase a 'chance' box that has a miniscule % chance of winning something valuable.

            In other words, you pay real money for a CHANCE at virtual loot that you want, but you only ever end up with trash.

            In real-world terms it would be if a casino gave you a 'consolation prize' like a spider ring or some other stupid kiddie prize like at a Chuck E Cheese's prize wall. You wanted money and all you got was this stupid thing, and the odds are horribly rigged in favor of the house where player skill isn't even a part of it.

            If I went on the street and convinced people to give me $5 each for a 'mystery box' that only ever contained old gym socks, wouldn't that get me arrested? :P

            It goes under gambling, consumer fraud, misrepresentation, and a whole lot more. I hope to see them mandate that these companies have to post the % chance of winning for all their gamble boxes, and possibly post full droprate % for everything in their games.

            We have WoWhead, so why not for other MMOs. Its not proprietary info or secret, numbers are exempt from that statue. Custom mathematical formulas that are unique would be qualified if they weren't common knowledge. These numbers aren't an algorithm, its a tiny fixed % chance and not protected by their bullshit 'trade secret' crap.

      they arent talking about ingame money, they are talking about the MMOs that make you pay real money for in-game resources used to upgrade items, but when you use said resource there is also a chance of the item breaking and being destroyed. What the companies are doing is not giving the %s of how often it brakes compared to succeeds. im pretty sure if the overall numbers are below 50% success rate it becomes gambling in the eyes of the law (company has more success then the player)

        I understand, but whether the item breaks or not is kinda besides the point. The money goes towards the upgrade which is then used to modify the item. There is no gamble involved. It's not like you HAVE to use the upgrade after you've paid for it.

    Is murdering in game also now murdering IRL?

    -_-

    Under this failed logic, If you shoot someone in a game, and that person in their house on the other side of the world suffers some kind of fit due to a flash of the gun, has a heart attack and dies, you are a murderer.

    Don't you just hate it when politicians (anyone really) kick up a stink over the smallest thing, and it's all a sham to justify their job's existence, to make themselves appear busy.

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