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Reader Comments (23)

Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 5:04PM nimzy said

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There's something we're not hearing about this story. In any case, I'm not surprised. I've always been skeptical of these companies' business practices.

Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 5:13PM Syesta said

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Well, the Korean GRB is a government agency, so if they REALLY want that information, there are probably other avenues they can take to get it. (Sort of similar to how the US Congress can ask you to give a testimony on your own volition, or if they REALLY want it, they can serve a subpoena).

Not familiar with K-law, so that all may go without saying.

Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 6:45PM smartstep said

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@Syesta

Propably almost every country can do this. Law is law and after company will exhaust it's options to oppose they will have to hand over data or face really harsh punishents , not to mention that goverments can in extreme cases just go and forcibly take all data they want.
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 10:26PM ShivanSwordsman said

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@smartstep

The fact of the matter is, they know they're at fault. It's not the actual buying digital items for real money that's "gambling", the gambling aspect comes from the fact the items you buy are in fact random items. "Gumball Machines" are what they were called over here in the states with DFO, you'd pay real money for a random chance at a good item, thus, gambling.

Some items are mystery boxes, and the like. You open a chest and it has a "random chance" of being something good, like the "Riding Boar" boxes from Eden Eternal. For all intents and purposes... they've been breaking the law like crazy.
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 5:38PM Ocho said

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If you're getting virtual items back and not real money, how is it gambling? Gambling is only betting money in order to make money. If it was anything else, then you could even consider going to McDonalds a gamble (well... it IS a gamble, in a way)...

Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 5:39PM bobfish said

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@Ocho

That depends on the law in the specific country. Germany for example is notorious for its gambling laws being so vague that they even cover something as simple as a Church raffle.
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 5:46PM Resurge said

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@Ocho that's a silly reply. If you spend money to get a "chance" to "win" something, that's gambling. Nothing says it has to be money you can win. Raffles ARE gambling. If they sell a "prize box" for 5 bucks, and there's a chance to get something great(virtual items DO have real world value), and a chance to get something crappy that's worth nothing, that might be gambling. At McDonald's, if i give them 5 bucks, i get a meal ..there's no "maybe i will get a meal in my bag, and maybe it will be a piece of concrete, or a bag of pine needles".

Bottom line: Why won't they give up the info? What are they hiding? Maybe nothing - or maybe there is some shady sh*t goin' down. We don't know cause they won't tell us.

The article wasn't about if it is gambling or not, it is about the companies refusing to release info on how often these things "pay out" ..most likely because the percentage is ridiculously low in order to get people to buy more of them.
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 6:27PM Ocho said

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@Resurge But it isn't silly. I use McDonalds as a point because its more appropriate. You pay $5 and you get a few hamburgers... that could be awesome, or they could be really crappy. You still get them, but the quality could be different each time. As the quality differs, this COULD be considered a gamble. Of course, it isn't, because Gambling is different than just "taking a gamble". I don't see it as much different than paying for something that has items in it, on the off chance the item is of really high quality, but items you could still use nonetheless. Another good example is Woot's Bag-Of-Crap: You pay $8, and get 3 random items. They could be great for you, or they could be useless to you. Is it a gamble? Yup. Is this considered gambling? Nope.
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 11:49PM JuliusSeizure said

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@Ocho

'Of course, it isn't, because Gambling is different than just "taking a gamble".'

As is so often proclaimed on the internet: lolwut

Prove your assertion, good sir!
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 5:38PM bobfish said

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It just means the odds of getting anything good from those lottery systems are terrible, probably far worse than playing roulette in a real casino.

Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 6:16PM Hydrium said

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As a former employee of a certain company that used "RMT" for goods online I can say that the payout %'s for top tier items are set ridiculously low. Like low enough that it MIGHT happen once per server a year. All you have to do is set the chance to open it to something like 0.0000000000001% and then you can tag the item in the shop as containing that item because ...yes it will in fact drop....you just won't ever see it happen in your characters lifetime.

Yet we set them up and watched as 80% of our profits came in from that very item that contained one amazing item and then 5 or 6 terrible trash items.

Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 6:27PM DancingCow said

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So glad a government has finally stepped up to deal with this.

Back when WoW introduced trading cards with a chance to win in-game items my immediate thought was, "How is this not gambling?"

As developers go, NCSoft is one of my favourites but I'm with the Sth Korean govt on this one.

Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 6:43PM smartstep said

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Agreed , goverment agencies should REALLY take a look at those practicies. With item shops and rmt this is really shaky ground and as there is alot of money involved sooner or later goverments will want to regulate and tax those things.

Normally I am not so happy about this kind of things but in this case I am fully supporting S. Korean goverment and if any other countries goverment aggencies , tax offices and /or consumer organisations will want to do this they have my full support.


Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 7:03PM Fabius Bile said

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I understand Nexon doesnt want to collaborate because, well, all their games are shitty F2P craps and all of them have this lottery shit for tools

but c'mon, NCSoft too? what NCSoft game does this? thats falling too low

Posted: Sep 24th 2011 6:25AM Sukiyaki said

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@Fabius Bile

NCSoft was likely dragged in by some clueless officer.
Sometimes they temporarily offer the original "present with random stuff inside" what other companies have exploited with their gambling practices.

Usually for seasonal events like Valentine they offer present boxes in Aion for player to give to their (girl)friends. Those have a few random regular items like healthpots, scrolls or sometimes less than a handful of badges inside (of which you need hundreds to buy gear). Items you get every day and everyone has dozens or even hundred in their bags anyway and aren't even worth the price.
The feat of the boxes usually are the seasonal costumes which are regular in boxes. Nothing remotely "rare". You cant get "rich by some lucky shot" or get anything very valuable from these boxes "by luck".
Similar for their other games just with equivalent items.

But likely this was thrown into the same pot as those gambling practices merely because of the "random" factor.
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Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 7:31PM Space Cobra said

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Companies are always protective of their data, no matter what. This may be signifigant, especially in light of some of the responses I read here.

At first, I was gonna give a "benefit of the doubt" and believe they just don't want government telling them how to do business (and maybe even asking for a cut of the pie if the government or its officials are corrupt enough to ask).

I will still hold out a twig of doubt, but it is not the branch it used to be.

Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 7:33PM BubleFett said

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Why doesn't this S. Korean Agency demand for the politicians to
divulge information on the gambling that goes on in the offices of the
gov't.

Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 7:44PM Pitt said

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Good, i hope these shady companies like perfect world, and nexon and most FTP games get fined for including such shady practices in thier item stores.

i was disgusted after clicking nexon's "earn free NX" in thier item store, and it takes you to a website to fill out competitions and enter your details into surveys so advertising companies can spam you with junk emails.

There is some really shady practices going on with some of these companies and they need to be held accountable to some higher body.

Posted: Sep 22nd 2011 9:10PM TheClaw said

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My only experience with this sort of thing is in Atlantica Online - great game, terrible F2P business model.

Instead of selling e.g. mounts, they sell boxes in the cash shop, for $1 to $10 each, which are guaranteed to contain SOMETHING.. but only a small chance to contain the desired item. And a VERY small chance to contain a "rare" version of it.

Mounts, by the way, don't just let you travel quicker in Atlantica, they come with potent stat boosts.

Is it gambling? I suspect that they get around the issue on the grounds that you always get something out of the box. So it's not so much like a raffle (buy a ticket, hope to win a prize) as it is like a lucky dip (pay money, get something, just not sure what it is). If that was deemed to be legally "gambling", then I guess things like trading card packs would also be deemed gambling.

Whichever way you look at it though, it's a disgusting game mechanic, and I certainly saw guildmates spending large amounts of money and exhibiting all the behaviours of problem gamblers. Much as I liked the game itself, I'm not sorry to have left it behind, and to get my squad-based MMO fix from playing Guild Wars solo + 7 heroes.

Posted: Sep 23rd 2011 3:01AM Jade Effect said

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Isn't MMO about gambling?

You kill a mob. You might get 10 silver. You might get 25 silver. You might get a stick worth 5 silver from the npc vendor. You might get a sword.

Instead of gambling money, you're just gambling time. Throw away enough time and you'll eventually get something good from the mob.

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