Germany Might Ban Lockboxes as Early as March

Attention ladies and gents, because the first domino in the lootbox controversy might fall in March! Two days ago Games Industry Biz picked up an article by German newspaper “Welt” about the German Youth Protection Commission examining the lootbox issue as a potential gambling concern. What makes this a bit more significant than your usual political rumbling and “looking into it” talk is the given timeline. They’ll decide the matter in March. That’s a very concrete 30 days from now.

And make no mistake, the original German article is very clear about possible consequences if the Youth Protection Commission decides that lootboxes are indeed gambling. First of all, all such systems could be banned from games. Second, developers and publishers might even get fined.

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Why Could Germany Ban Lootboxes?

Now why could Germany indeed be the first country to ban lootboxes when others have talked about it, but never committed to further steps? First of all, the investigation was initiated by a university study concluding that lootboxes are gambling. We’ve had a lot of talk so far from scientists and lawyers that believe that some elements in games might be addictive and such. But an actual study is a different animal. Second, Germany has little industry to protect. The country has some publishers in the mobile market, but games are usually developed in the US and Asia. So the gaming lobby is not too strong (just don’t try to take away their diesel). Third, Germany is known to protect the customer first and care about economics second (again, just don’t try to take away their diesel).

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What Could Be Possible Ramifications?

If this indeed gets through, we’re not too sure what happens with lootboxes in Germany short-term. The most probable scenario would be that there’s some sort of deadline. And then it’s on the devs to either deliver another monetization model on the fly (unlikely), or exclude players from Germany from their games (more likely). But even more interesting is what happens to the market in general. As said, this might only be the first domino to fall. The European Union will likely follow soon, other countries like Sweden have also hinted at banning lootboxes. While losing Germany as market might not be too bad for the industry, losing Europe as a whole certainly is.

Of course much is speculative at this point. But no matter whether this will lead to anything after all, the lootbox controversy just added another interesting storyline!

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11 thoughts on “Germany Might Ban Lockboxes as Early as March

  • February 8, 2018 at 11:08 am
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    I really hope they do and others follow. It’s one thing to have loot boxes with cosmetic items, but quite another to be one of the main sources of player progression. Destiny 2’s system at least offers chances to get the same cosmetic items in game without any money spent.

    Reply
  • February 8, 2018 at 11:23 am
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    Losing the whole of the EU by lockboxes not dropping, or Zen Market keys not being available, might be financially damaging to PWE.

    But losing Europe completely by refusing to allow us to play will be even more damaging. I think they will find a compromise. Who knows, maybe the dedicated European server many have asked for might come about?

    Personally, I do not want to lose NW friends from the USA, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, the Far East and Australia. So I would not like to be shunted to a separate server.

    And I do not want my VIP keys to vanish.

    And I never buy keys unless I have traded AD for the Zen, and I have not done that for a few years. But most of my AD go on the WB for Marks, anyway. The best things I get from lockboxes, that I actually use, are probably Superior Enchanting stones and Companion Packs.

    The problem is that there is no other way to get Enchanted keys other than the Zen store, and many do not have the patience to farm AD to trade for Zen and then wait for a 50% sale to buy keys. “Youth Protection” should apply to children, so an 18 age minimum might come in. Only adults should have access to a credit or debit card, anyway.

    Maybe having a 3% chance to drop in-game from Dungeon Chests could be a deal?

    What they will do about VIP, though, might be a problem. Reduce the price, for one, if boxes and keys disappear. And the box contents would have to become available as drops or in the Zen store.

    Maybe account-wide, Legendary Mounts will end up on the Zen Market?

    I hope so!

    Reply
  • February 8, 2018 at 11:35 am
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    If they do, maybe that would be a reason for me to come back to a dying game. Althogh the bigger issue in NWO is: no rework of dungeons, no rework in professions, no rework in loot system, no rework of the boring grinding system, no new classes…..

    Reply
  • February 8, 2018 at 2:40 pm
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    All of those things have been reworked, and are still being reworked.

    Reply
  • February 8, 2018 at 5:16 pm
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    I guess a nerf technically is a rework, which has been done over and over to some of the professions so that they are a mess with lower lvl and shorter length tasks paying better than higher lvl and longer tasks. I guess removing dungeons and not replacing them could also count as a rework. A half-ass rework, but that is how Cryptic works. The grind has gotten a whole lot worse so I guess we could count that as a rework too. Unfortunately none of these reworks have improved the game. Its been something like two or three years now that Cryptic has been telling us that they will introduce a new class once they have balanced the classes. Still dont see any balance. Though they did admit on the state of the game that they have no one with a clue on how to balance classes,

    Reply
    • February 8, 2018 at 6:37 pm
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      I agree, Bob. There are posts on the Neverwinter Uncensored forum about how to balance the classes and Cryptic have been told repeatedly on the official forum and via bug reports, but they only listen to whinging GWFs moaning they cannot one-shot things since their broken Lostmauth set got fixed. So nerf the DC.

      They have to fix what’s broken first. So they have to start with the tooltips: do they do what they say they do, and do they say what they actually do? Are they clear and unambiguous? And check the code at the same time.

      EG, when I first started and I rolled an Arcane Mage alt, I started wondering why every other CW was an Ice Mage. It turns out that the HEROIC Feat Blighting Power does +6/12/19% damage boost to Cold powers when the target is affected by Chill, instead of the +2/4/6% it says. Coupled with Chilling Presence, it’s no wonder Ice Mages do more dps when the Arcane equivalent is 1/2/3% and actually IS that amount. How long has that been broken? 5 years? But they obviously don’t know (or care) because they don’t read Sharpedge’s Guides and don’t check their own code. And we can insta-Freeze now with certain Feats while Arcane stacks take much longer to stack up and disappear very quickly. And Arcane Presence buffs Cold powers as well!

      And look at the various rounds of nerfs CW has had in other areas, when they should have started with fixing the actually broken things first.

      GWFs get +6 AC bonus butt naked from nowhere.

      OPs get +10% max hp more than other classes, butt naked with CON 10 (I did the graphs), and ludicrous DR.

      The list is endless.

      “Continuing to be reworked”! Continuing to be screwed up, more like.

      What’s the problem? Lack of income? LOL!

      Anyway, in a way I’d like their lockboxes to get screwed by new laws, but I think adults who can afford it should have the choice. But the drop rates should be published by law and some sort of value for money should be guaranteed, with no Booby Prizes. I don’t care a whit if Legendary Mounts drop to 2 million AD on the AH. I won a Golden Lion companion one time in a giveaway on Twitch. The guy said he loved spending money on the game. He was a US service man posted overseas, so when he was home he liked to play NW and spend like a whale.

      Reply
  • February 8, 2018 at 5:19 pm
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    I personally want to see people perp walked over these lockbox scams. A fine would be rather unsatisfying.

    Reply
  • February 8, 2018 at 9:52 pm
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    That´s what I meant, all the things I mentioned were (reworked) in a negative way and need a rework in a positive way for the players again……but I don´t see that happen. The game won´t change.

    Reply
  • February 8, 2018 at 10:45 pm
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    Crybaby CW….learn to play

    Reply
  • February 9, 2018 at 1:07 am
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    what is actually running short here is :

    quote :
    The country has some publishers in the mobile market, but games are usually developed in the US and Asia. So the gaming lobby is not too strong (just don’t try to take away their diesel). Third, Germany is known to protect the customer first and care about economics second (again, just don’t try to take away their diesel).

    what you are telling us is :
    – I don’t give a fuck about children protection
    – I don’t give a fuck about law
    – my only concern is pressing as much money as possible from whoever plays the game

    which in fact results in any government concerned about the mental health of its people – especially of children is just unjustifyingly blocking your income

    Lads… do you understand what kind of bullshit you are talking here ?

    if you complain that gaming has no lobby in Germany or Europe, think again – you don’t even give a shit if a player is above 18 or not by making all that stuff available. It is simply the responsibility of any government to protect its people against any sort of fraud – so don’t complain about a government taking this task seriously, instead think about your own lack of consience… and remember… losing Europe gives you more negative impact than losing lootboxes

    instead of whining start thinking !

    Reply
  • February 9, 2018 at 7:02 am
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    I think you misunderstood the whole article.

    Reply

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