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Thread: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    This will go nowhere surely? Rich company employs lots of lawyers, government accused of wasting tax payers money, case collapses/gets withdrawn/discharged whatever. Nothing changes, and best case is EA get a fine, which they duly stall with appeals and eventually don't pay. Like Intel with its EU fines, which SFAIK are still not paid. Anyone know when that appeal is due to be heard?

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    I think times are changing. Its going in the right direction, will probably take a while but we will get there. Just hope EA get shafted.

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    There's no way to cash out of, say, horse racing, but that's still gambling.
    There's the chance that you can come away with less (or no) money than you put in - That chance and that loss makes it gambling, simple as.
    Do you even know what horse racing is? you bet on a horse, it wins, you win more than you bet on it...what is your concept about it?

    Anyway, the whole idea in this company is maximize profits. You can call them greedy or anything you want, its a market... there is no good or bad, its relative to each point of view.

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    <Intel>Anyone know when that appeal is due to be heard?
    I think its already been heard and was set aside on the grounds that the lower court didn't examine/prove if the rebates had effected the competition economically, they've essentially been told to redo the entire trail because the ECJ's judgment was that the lower court failed to meet a particular burden of proof.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rejuvination View Post
    Anyway, the whole idea in this company is maximize profits. You can call them greedy or anything you want, its a market... there is no good or bad, its relative to each point of view.
    Nothing wrong with that but this is more about circumventing existing laws that prohibit underage gambling.

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    ....

    There's no way to cash out of, say, horse racing, but that's still gambling.
    There's the chance that you can come away with less (or no) money than you put in - That chance and that loss makes it gambling, simple as.
    Can you clarify that first line, as it doesn't seem to make sense.

    I bet on a horse, it wins and I can take the cash. It loses, I lose. The gambling bit is about risking something of value on some uncertain future event or unknown outcome, and winning or losing accordingly. What is is that you risk, and pretty much what you risk it on, are immaterial providing you can gain or lose something of value.

    One grey area is the definition of "value". It could be argued that if a loot box contains a really desirable item, then the "gambler" won because they highly value that, even if it is virtual. If they gey a ho-hum item, then they lost as they probably value that less than the cash they paid.

    Presumably, anyone buying a loot box for a chance of winning a desirable virtual item would have paid that same sum, or more, to just buy it with 100% certainty of getting it, else ehy buy a loot box. So, virtual or not, they 'value' thst item, and by paying real money for a chance to get something of value, means they're gambling.

    Just because 99.999% of people wouldn't value it doesn't make it worth less to the gambler, the buyer of the loot box.

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    One grey area is the definition of "value". It could be argued that if a loot box contains a really desirable item, then the "gambler" won because they highly value that, even if it is virtual. If they gey a ho-hum item, then they lost as they probably value that less than the cash they paid.

    Presumably, anyone buying a loot box for a chance of winning a desirable virtual item would have paid that same sum, or more, to just buy it with 100% certainty of getting it, else ehy buy a loot box. So, virtual or not, they 'value' thst item, and by paying real money for a chance to get something of value, means they're gambling.

    Just because 99.999% of people wouldn't value it doesn't make it worth less to the gambler, the buyer of the loot box.
    I would put money on Belgium using that surmisation of gambling. But it may fall flat if existing legal precedence is set that gambling is where you can extract tangible real world value out of what you have received. Which means Belgium may have an uphill struggle creating a new precedent which i personally feel won't be hard but it may have far further reaching implications. It could affect the world of trading cards quite heavily.

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    Quote Originally Posted by Tabbykatze View Post
    I would put money on Belgium using that surmisation of gambling. But it may fall flat if existing legal precedence is set that gambling is where you can extract tangible real world value out of what you have received. Which means Belgium may have an uphill struggle creating a new precedent which i personally feel won't be hard but it may have far further reaching implications. It could affect the world of trading cards quite heavily.
    Oh, indeed. It's not just existing precedent, but existing legislation, and/or interpretation of definitions ... which is why I stressed earlier about whose jurisdiction this falls into. It's a murky area when provider is in one jurisdiction (say, USA), the buyer is in snother (be it EU or an EU member nation) and the entire transaction (offer, acceptance, payment and even delivery) takes place online with no real-world component.

    And that's before we even get to definitions of gambling.

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    Quote Originally Posted by Rejuvination View Post
    Do you even know what horse racing is? you bet on a horse, it wins, you win more than you bet on it...what is your concept about it?
    Yeah, it wins, you get cash.... but what if it comes in second, or loses completely? You get how much?
    Nothing?
    There ya go, then. Gambling.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rejuvination View Post
    Anyway, the whole idea in this company is maximize profits. You can call them greedy or anything you want, its a market... there is no good or bad, its relative to each point of view.
    If it undermines the fundamentals of the industry to the point where it changes the culture and alienates customers from their own and other companies, then it's bad. This BS should have stopped the moment paid DLC began, but instead it set the precedent for things like microtransactions and all the rest.
    I'm sure there are various trading practices around artificially inflating prices or something that apply here, kinda like a company selling you a 'car' but charging extra for the key, tyres, steering wheel, etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Can you clarify that first line, as it doesn't seem to make sense.
    You can't take your losing tickets and cash them out, because you've lost. There is nothing to cash out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    The gambling bit is about risking something of value on some uncertain future event or unknown outcome, and winning or losing accordingly.
    Precisely.
    If it were in-game only currency, that might be different, but charging real money to purchase the risk of getting virtual rewards or virtual nothing is the gambling element.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    One grey area is the definition of "value".
    Not really. If people pay real money for something, or just the chance of getting either something, less than something, or nothing at all, then it has 'value'... pretty much the same value as the real world amount they spend for it. If there's a chance they won't get what they're giving up the cash for, then it's gambling. Nothing grey there.

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster
    Not really. If people pay real money for something, or just the chance of getting either something, less than something, or nothing at all, then it has 'value'... pretty much the same value as the real world amount they spend for it. If there's a chance they won't get what they're giving up the cash for, then it's gambling. Nothing grey there.
    Well, thdre's a difference between "has value" and "you value it".

    I value my account on Hexus, but does it "have" value. I value sitting at the back door in a storm, smelling the air and watching the lightning flicker and flash. But
    does that "have value". Well I can't sell it or swap it for something, or give it to someone else.

    Does a non-existent, virtual-only item exist? If not, can it have value, even if you or someone else values it.

    FWIW, i kind-of agree with you .... except sbout it not being a grey area.


    As for not cadhing in a losing ticket, I still don't see your point. Even in gambling terms, any ticket itself only has value before the uncertain event it refers to resolves itself. Cashing in refers to collecting winnings ... if any.

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    After the crap people like Jim Sterling got from certain sections of the gaming community over his criticism of loot crates,etc and how it would cause governments to get involved eventually he must be having the last laugh.


    Those despicable Elk,stealing the pond weed!

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    Sorry to bump this, but it really is very simple. You spend money on a randomized item, that item may or may not be an item you want/need/already have. Therefore the result is unpredictable and you are gambling money in the hope that the item you receive from the crate is worth something to you. It is gambling plain and simple, any game that includes random loot crates should be instantly rated as 18+.

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilCycle View Post
    Sorry to bump this, but it really is very simple. You spend money on a randomized item, that item may or may not be an item you want/need/already have. Therefore the result is unpredictable and you are gambling money in the hope that the item you receive from the crate is worth something to you. It is gambling plain and simple, any game that includes random loot crates should be instantly rated as 18+.
    True. But as far as I am concerned, and I guess the law is as well, there are different "tiers" to gambling. By the above logic, sticker packs, TCG's, blind packs and so on which are already available to children are also gambling; and they are really. I would class them as sort of a second tier type of gamling, with the top tier being ones that you actually just get straight cash from. And even then, you could sell what the cards/stickers you got possibly for more than you bought them for. Then you have those arcades with those 2p/10p machines which are "proper" gambling as in you could actually get more cash out than you put in, but kids play them all the time (I did at least!).

    Don't get me wrong, I don't like these practices but you really need to nail down the details to prevent it from having unintentional consequences.

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Well, thdre's a difference between "has value" and "you value it".
    Yes, but that doesn't come into it here.
    You value something, at the value you pay for it. However, it has value, because the company selling it has assigned it one, and that value is further given validation because several (or more) people have paid that value for the chance to have it. It is thus also gambling, because they paid for the chance to have, not merely to have.

    The same applies to most other non-material things, such as services (advice, work, etc) - And there's a taxman, and a Trading Standards man, and a Customs & Excise man, and probably a number of other men (as well as almost the same number of women, because this is the modern world) all queued up and cued up, ready to destroy any argument you might have against this assertion!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Does a non-existent, virtual-only item exist? If not, can it have value, even if you or someone else values it.
    Obviously. It's most commonly in the realm of 'Intellectual Property', but crosses into various other realms, too.
    If it didn't exist, people wouldn't be falling in love with Cortana/Siri/Alexa/whoever and they certainly wouldn't need copyrights and trademarks!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Cashing in refers to collecting winnings ... if any.
    Exactly. You can't cash out if you lose... But it IS still gambling.
    So my assertion is that, by this same reasoning, EA Wilson's remark that 'because you can't cash out that means it's not gambling' is thus flawed and incorrect and invalid.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gerrard View Post
    By the above logic, sticker packs, TCG's, blind packs and so on which are already available to children are also gambling; and they are really.
    But you can still exchange the ones you don't want for the ones that you do, right? These are Trading Card Games and Trading Stickers, right?
    Indeed, the whole premise of your Pokemon and your Garbage Pail Kids and your Pannini football stickers, is that you can swap them with other people in order to complete the set.... and you get a stick of cheap bubble-gum to keep you hyperactive and fuel your ADD, but only because candy cigarettes had a bum rep once upon a time.

    By contrast - Can you trade/exchange Loot Crates, or unwanted items from them?


    See, I don't care if it's gambling.
    I just hate the idea that you HAVE to do things like this and DLC in order to get the full game, basically.

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    @Ttaskmaster .... this is a quick post as I gotta go out.

    On your last line, re: DLC, utterly agree. Also, I have no sympathy for EA, and have been personally boycotting them for some years, despite being a fan of some of their games.


    As for IP, well, we're back to definitions. For IP to exist, there has to be something tangible .... and original. Be it photo, novel, song, musical score, recording, etc and copyright, or a logo and design right, or even a patent it MUST be something tangible. Even in a patent on a process, one of the criteria is it must be capable of being put into a real-world object, like a manufactured item or a manufacturing process.

    Anyway, all I really wanted was to understand that one line as I couldn't make out the point, but it doesn't matter. It was merely mild curiosity, and not worth a convoluted discussion. So I'll leave it at that.

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilCycle View Post
    Sorry to bump this, but it really is very simple. You spend money on a randomized item, that item may or may not be an item you want/need/already have. Therefore the result is unpredictable and you are gambling money in the hope that the item you receive from the crate is worth something to you. It is gambling plain and simple, any game that includes random loot crates should be instantly rated as 18+.
    If the context is common sense maybe. But as soon as the context is law, it's far more complex. Even just in UK law, there's a whole series of different laws covering different aspects of, and forms of, gambling and not all of one law applies to different forms.

    Exact wording, and interpretation of terms and even a single word are often what judgements hinge on.

    And that's just here. Get involved in Belgian law, EU law, US state laws and perhaps US federal law and you have a minefield .... like determining who has jurisdiction.

    That's one of the Brexit sticking points - in a trade deal, who is the ultimate arbiter? The ECJ, the UK Supreme court or an independent panel as defined by some proposed trade deal? Standard trade deals end up with the third option because neither of the first two is acceptable to both sides.

    There is going to be an element of that in this EA business, because it's impirtant where the business is done.

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    Re: Belgian govt opens criminal investigation into EA

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    But you can still exchange the ones you don't want for the ones that you do, right? These are Trading Card Games and Trading Stickers, right?
    Indeed, the whole premise of your Pokemon and your Garbage Pail Kids and your Pannini football stickers, is that you can swap them with other people in order to complete the set.... and you get a stick of cheap bubble-gum to keep you hyperactive and fuel your ADD, but only because candy cigarettes had a bum rep once upon a time.
    OK, that's an interesting point that I have been looking at this the wrong way. Gambling isn't so much that you can win more, but rather you can end up with nothing. That would also explain the horse racing example you brought up; you put money in and can (and normally will!) end up with nothing. Whereas the above examples mean you will always end up with something. This would also (unfortunately) include loot boxes by that definition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    By contrast - Can you trade/exchange Loot Crates, or unwanted items from them?
    I think in some games you can, sort of. You can "recycle" them into a virtual currency and then use it to buy something you actually want.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    See, I don't care if it's gambling.
    I just hate the idea that you HAVE to do things like this and DLC in order to get the full game, basically.
    I agree, with a caveat that some DLC's are done properly and are actually expansions of old. The Witcher 3 comes to mind, as well as the Fallout series. But the latter sort of undoes that a bit with the usual triple-aaaay BS of season pass and now their "Creator's Content" thing for mods.

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