Youtube Tech Lawyer Says Lockboxes Are Illegal

It might be a new year, but the war on lockboxes has certainly made the jump to 2018! A tech lawyer with a sizeable audience on Youtube has now weighed in to the topic and released a detailed analysis on whether lockboxes are illegal. His clear summary: They definitely are, but we’ve still not reached an amount of public criticism that would force politics to respond. Of course, for every lawyer that say lockboxes are gambling you’ll probably find another one that says they are not. But this is nonetheless an interesting evaluation. If true it puts an end to the narrative of companies being “safe” because of their terms of service and whatnot. They are not.

The second piece we’d like to share is an interview of Gamasutra about lootboxes done right. They’ve asked several developers of studios that “executed loot boxes gracefully and successfully for years”. Amongst the participants: Stephen Ricossa, Executive Producer of Star Trek Online. While not directly Neverwinter related, she is working for Cryptic and probably a lot of the view shared is how the studio is currently viewing the topic.

Another opportunity afforded by loot boxes is the ability to tuck odd, rare, or unique rewards into them, content that might exist on the fringe of a game’s universe. For Star Trek Online, which allows players to earn loot boxes through both real money and by trading in-game currency on an exchange with other players (and makes all items tradeable so that players have the opportunity to buy items that appear in boxes a la carte), this means loot boxes allow devs to control, to some extent, the proliferation of new items. It allows them to unleash new vessels that may seem out of place in larger numbers.

“Loot boxes provide the team with opportunities to deliver atypical starships in a way that keeps them rare, which helps maintain the in-universe believability of our fictional setting,” says executive producer Stephen Ricossa. “Lock boxes also allow us to experiment with concepts and designs for items because we know the player sample will be smaller than a standard release. We can then use the information we’ve gained based on back-end data, in-player auction pricing, and forums or social posts to determine the popularity of our experiment and potentially bring more of that type of item into the game.”


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