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New Gacha Policy Discussion


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1 minute ago, Out Jinx said:

No you're misunderstanding how the above vendor I'm talking about works:
What this vendor is doing, is randomising the next item coming up. So it's like 'up next: This item is now up!' the user knows exactly what they are buying. They can go 'Eh this isn't the item I'm looking for' and wait for someone to get the item they wanted. This is NOT gambling.

You know exactly what you're going to get if you put your L$ into the vendor, but if the item showing is not what you're after, you can wait.

The chance part is if the item you want is the one up next. Not the one you're buying.

 

Anyway my joke was, this is going to create campers and group spam on events and is a terrible idea.

It literally says gacha on it, and you don't know what you are gonna purchase. As you could get a common rare or ultra rare. So you are literally taking a chance, if you were to pay the 100L on trying to get the rare. That is gambling. Lol 

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18 minutes ago, Katherine Heartsong said:

Exactly what most of us do. Here is X, it's 350L, there's only one of it. You like? You buy.

Plus if I worked out the math, I'd never actually want to sell anything ... I spend sometimes 2-3 hours on something I sell for 350L ... around $1.50. Once. All my pieces are one-of-a-kind. I do it because i love it not be get rich. :)

It's not tricky? I sell one of a kind artwork (no copy, no modify, transfer) that the new owner can transfer or even sell on, just like my real art. I think I missed the point of your post?

If you want to make an item available as a one-off, that's your prerogative. My point was let the customer be the person who makes the decision on what they wish to purchase of yours - you know, regular vendors.  Instead of continually feeding a gacha in the hopes of getting that one item they desire.

Edited by Mireille Massiel
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Just tossing in the observation, opinion-free, that in many states "next-play" machines (machines that show the next result before you play) are also considered gambling devices, on the logic that one must play in order to discover the next random chance, essentially just moving the random prize aspect one purchase further down the line.

I wanted to mention it, since I've already seen many posts suggesting "if we tell people the next random result maybe that is fine" and there's already some legal precedent about that too.

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3 minutes ago, Sammy Huntsman said:

It literally says gacha on it, and you don't know what you are gonna purchase. As you could get a common rare or ultra rare. So you are literally taking a chance, if you were to pay the 100L on trying to get the rare. That is gambling. Lol 

Well yeah, it says gacha, 'rare', and 'ultra rare' because the creator didn't feel like digging up their ad and changing the text on it. Seeing that the vendor they made is also in blender, I think it' s a WIP, so they're probably going to change it inworld. 

They'd have to call it like, 'random vendor' or something, because that is what it is. It's not gambling if all it does is change its vendor face to the exact item you're going to get next if you pay into it. You still know exactly what you can buy at that moment.

Edited by Out Jinx
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1 minute ago, Out Jinx said:

No you're misunderstanding how the above vendor I'm talking about works:
What this vendor is doing, is randomising the next item coming up. So it's like 'up next: This item is now up!' the user knows exactly what they are buying. They can go 'Eh this isn't the item I'm looking for' and wait for someone to get the item they wanted. This is NOT gambling.

You know exactly what you're going to get if you put your L$ into the vendor, but if the item showing is not what you're after, you can wait.

The chance part is if the item you want is the one up next. Not the one you're buying.

 

Anyway my joke was, this is going to create campers and group spam on events and is a terrible idea.

 

I didn't misunderstand anything.

You used the word roulette. Roulette is gambling. The chance part is what makes it gambling.

That is all there was to it.

Like that hasn't been happening on the grid for well over 15 years. It's not much of a joke when it's been the reality for that long. Sorry. It just didn't strike me as being funny. I thought you were serious.

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Just now, Out Jinx said:

Well yeah, it says gacha, 'rare', and 'ultra rare' because the creator didn't feel like digging up their ad and changing the text on it. Seeing that the vendor they made is also in blender, I think it' s a WIP, so they're probably going to change it inworld. 

They'd have to call it like, 'random vendor' or something, because that is what it is. It's not gambling if all it does is change its vendor face to the exact item you're going to get if you pay into it.

You are not getting it. You say it is a random vendor. So there is a random chance you may get one dragon or the other. That is literally a game of chance. So that is gambling. 

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Just now, Sammy Huntsman said:

You are not getting it. You say it is a random vendor. So there is a random chance you may get one dragon or the other. That is literally a game of chance. So that is gambling. 

There is a random chance you may get one dragon or the other, without having to pay for it yet. That's the key.

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1 minute ago, Out Jinx said:

There is a random chance you may get one dragon or the other, without having to pay for it yet. That's the key.

You still have to pay for it, and again random "chance" making  that vendor a game of chance. Ergo gambling. 

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31 minutes ago, Semirans said:

I think this little bit is very telling. in the Ryan Schultz Blog: Nodoka Hanamura has posted a Twitter thread FAQ about this:

"Again, I cannot stress this enough. This isn’t something LL did to spite people. This is because it was either they banned gacha, or LL would be in hot water for hosting it…"

I mentioned in another thread about LL moving to cloud hosting with Amazon would have some consequences.  I assumed the child avatars and the adult sims would get targeted. Apparently not. LL is not "hosting" it, Amazon is.

They are still hosting the content in the eyes of the law. Amazon is providing the server resources, that does not make Amazon automatically accountable and Linden Lab not accountable. Both technically are. Linden Lab provides access to these servers to the public, and Amazon provides Linden Lab these servers to run their services.

Amazon Hosting is home to various different services, ranging from adult content to grandma's cookie recipes. The worst we'd get in my personal opinion is the child avatar situation being escalated, but I haven't seen that be an issue as of late.

Edited by Rathgrith027
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I think this decision is totally wrong.
I rezzed 2 gatchas, one with items for Ladies, one with Items for Gents. All items in gatchas are the same I sell in regular vendors, gatcha price is less than regular vendors, I set up gatchas in order to not give more than one time the same item to the same avatar, and all people can see the list of Items in single gatcha.

Wouldn't it be better to regulate the use of gatchas instead of completely banning their use?
 

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34 minutes ago, Kyau Brodie said:

The problem with those limited item events was the popular brands items sold out of their copies within the first few hours of the event before most people could even get on the sim to get to it. Meanwhile the unpopular brands are embarrassed that their item has sold only a few copies for the whole duration of the event and everyone takes note and judges that brand as being unsuccessful.

I was going to post this, but then you did. Not only was it embarassing those who did not sell much after the popular items was gone, but those who sold out their 100 items in minutes, would have sold more than 100 in an ordinary event. It was no benefit for any seller.

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Gonna hard pass on those "see the next item!" type of vendors.  First, because that feels to me like trying to get as close as gacha as it can possible, thus basically showing the middle finger to the spirit of the law, which leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and second, I'd be too afraid to play it if even one person is nearby, in case they snipe me, or the script lags, yada yada. I still remember that happening a lot with the really popular lucky chairs.
Also, thridly - I got no time to just hang around idly somewhere.

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Y'all can try to find loopholes in this all you want, but if you keep suggesting the same chance based thing where you pay money to get a random item it's going to count as gambling therefore fall under LL's new policy.... If you pay a vendor and get anything other than something you want, and get something at random, that. Is. Gambling....

The addict mentality is coming out hard for some of y'all

 

Edited by IvyLarae
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Simple fix: buy a specific item e.g. a [copy/no trans] necklace and get a random [no copy/trans] reward/gift with it.

Basically the gacha script just needs a small tweek. And of course the rewards/gifts are listed next to the necklace. And one ends up buying 5 times the same "necklace".

Just like in RL: buy a shampoo and get a random item from their product line as gift. Which definitely is not gambling, but comon practice.

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2 minutes ago, IvyLarae said:

Y'all can try to find loopholes in this all you want, but if you keep suggesting the same chance based thing where you pay money to get a random item it's going to count as gambling therefore fall under LL's new policy.... If you pay a vendor and get anything other than something you want, and get something at random, that. Is. Gambling....

The addict mentality is coming out hard for some of y'all

 

The addiction is buying the lindens in the first place. What you do with said lindens is how you chose to enjoy the "game". Me playing a game or you buying a shirt or house or whatever is equally addictive.

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It's interesting that Gacha will be banned yet it doesn't involve money to fuel gambling purposes. Just think of the gumball machines and crane game machines. At least give people a choice of buying a certain product, a fatpack or use one of the gacha machines to help stimulate the L$ flow. Gacha wasn't entirely intended for gaming purposes!

 

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12 minutes ago, Sammy Huntsman said:

You still have to pay for it, and again random "chance" making  that vendor a game of chance. Ergo gambling. 

No you don't because you always know what you're getting next. It's a vendor swapper, essentially.

Optionally you can pay for it if you don't want the item displayed to get the next item or you don't. You're not tossing your money into the void this time. You know exactly what you're paying for. What makes this gambling isn't because there is chance in the equation, it is tossing your coin into something with no knowledge of what random thing you'll get. In this case you do know, like looking at a normal single item vendor.

tl;dr This circumvents that by showing you what the item you get will be. It's technically single purchase vendor that changes the advertised product after a transaction.

 

Is this good? I'm not saying it is good, but it is not gambling. But functionally it'd be disastrous because it's going to increase group spam and camping like the old days when luckyboards were huge, except x100. 

Edited by Out Jinx
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1 minute ago, Cinos Field said:

All I can say is if LL allows these barely-even-loopholes there was no point in banning gachas to begin with.

no, it doesn't make sense in an ethical sense, but maybe in a legal sense it does. so they don't mind gatchas if residents can think of a legal way around them

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And lastly, I'm not gonna comment anymore because this is all becoming too time consuming and I got things I need to do, even though this may have been sprung on us out of the blue, y'all saying "I've found a loophole "Is kinda funny because these things are thought about months in advance, these sort of decisions are discussed with a lawyer where they talk about what does and doesn't count so I can pretty much guarantee that they've thought of every possible way people could get around this and any attempt to will get shut down...

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7 hours ago, Natasha Petrichor said:

You're not wrong that laws governing internet communications/transactions are not self-enforcing.  But, that's a highly simplistic view that does not reflect the reality of doing business on the internet. 

For example, I work for a company that is based/incorporated in the US, and hosted in the US (on AWS, in fact), like Linden Labs.  However, like Second Life, we have a *lot* of users and do a *lot* of business in other countries, enough to be legally considered a non-resident business entity in those countries.  Which means we can be held legally and criminally liable under their laws; as long as the prosecution can establish that the company is conducting business in the country, being based somewhere else doesn't really matter, and thanks to the international nature of the internet (and precedents set by the RIAA and MPAA, unfortunately), establishing that an internet service can be sued/prosecuted in another country's courts is trivially easy. 

I imagine you knew that much (just making sure we're on the same page), but here's the part I think you're missing:  In the world of corporate law, if there is already a case against you, it's too late, you've already lost.  The potential fines are so high that most companies cannot survive paying them, or even an out-of-court settlement, and the legal fees to fight a case can be equally devastating.  Some companies, as you pointed out, will fight to make a point, but they are the exception, and tend to be the ones with unfathomable millions to spend.  SL is bigger than most people give it credit for, but it's not THAT big. 

So, when there are new international regulations that apply to a company like Linden Labs, the question is never "are we literally being charged with a crime or threatened with a lawsuit right this second?".  If that question is being asked, it means the company's lawyers failed so spectacularly that they'll probably be fired after asking it, because corporate law is about calculating and mitigating risk.  The primary job of corporate lawyers is to anticipate legal cases *before* they happen, and give advice on how to prevent them from happening.  Thus, the real question when evaluating new regulations is "how much liability could we face under this law if we don't comply, what is the cost of compliance, and how much will it cost to just not do business in that country?". 

Coming back to the issue at hand:  It's reasonable to assume that the regulation of lootboxes as a gambling mechanic is the most likely reason for this policy change for LL, because while that's probably not on the immediate horizon in the US, many EU countries (like Germany) have already passed laws imposing various restrictions on lootboxes in video games, and more are in the works.  Thanks to companies like EA and Activision doing everything they can to fight those laws (because unlike LL, they have the resources to afford the risk, and a more obvious fiscal incentive to do so), the lootbox situation in the EU is escalating, and more countries are exploring even stronger restrictions.  And to any reasonable observer, there is no distinction between the mechanics of a loot box in a video game and the mechanics of a gacha machine in an SL store:  Pay real-world money for virtual currency, then use that virtual currency to buy a loot box for a set amount, which awards a random prize that may or may not be what the player wanted, with the most desirable prizes having extremely slim odds of being unlocked, encouraging players to buy more and more loot boxes to try to get what they want.  You can argue whether those mechanics constitute "gambling" (which is, at time of writing, an unsettled question in most courts worldwide), but trying to argue that the gacha machines in SL stores work differently in a legally-distinct way is not an argument anyone will ever be able to win in court.  Even the late Johnny Cochrane wouldn't have been able to pull that one off, and I could not think of a legally-significant difference to use in a rhetorical comparison when writing this paragraph.

So that's the legal landscape most likely influencing this decision - it's possible that it's something else, or somewhere else, but given that this unfolding situation has been dominating gaming media for over a year, it's as good a starting point as any.  Because even if the underlying motivations are completely different, the same questions would need to be answered:

  1. How likely is it that this will turn into a real liability, and when is that likely to happen? 
  2. If it does, how exposed is the company, and what would the potential damages and legal costs look like? 
  3. How much would compliance cost the company? 
  4. How much business would the company lose if they took door #3 and ceased doing business in the affected country/countries?

Those are the questions that would've needed answering in making this decision, and based on what's been happening thus far, we can extrapolate that the answers were, respectively, "very likely to be a real liability, and very soon", "so extremely exposed that the damages could pose an existential threat to Linden Labs", "total cost of compliance via a policy change is the lesser of three evils", and "we cannot afford to cease doing business in every country where this risk exists".  We can debate/question whether those were the "correct" answers, but the legal calculus behind answering those questions (or even just the first one) is so much more complex than "did LL receive a legal threat from a prosecutor about this?" that the existence of such a legal threat isn't really even relevant.  Because, as I said, if such a legal threat existed, it's already too late, the lawyers have already failed to do their job of anticipating a threat before it happens.

And that's just the legal calculus, which isn't the whole story.  This is also a marketing and public relations issue.

As I mentioned, the legal situation regarding lootboxes and other gambling-adjacent video game mechanics in Europe is a relevant legal situation that applies to SL gacha machines as much as it applies to video game lootboxes, and it seems like the most probable legal motivation behind this policy change.  But the legal battle over lootboxes did not arise spontaneously, it was the result of massive mainstream press coverage about these mechanics preying on children, causing them to lose thousands of dollars, bankrupting their families before their parents even realized what was going on.  It's not the only negative impact of these sorts of game mechanics, nor is it necessarily the most severe way in which these mechanics damage people's lives, but it's the most sensational and motivating impact.  And it got a LOT of attention, to the point that almost everyone (especially in Europe) has at least seen the shocking headlines of kids spending tens of thousands of dollars gambling on FIFA. 

So, from a PR standpoint, on one side of this battle you have distraught parents in financial ruin because their kids just wanted to see their favorite football player in a video game and didn't understand the concept of what they were doing or how the game worked.  And on the other side of the battle, you have some of the biggest and wealthiest entertainment companies in the world, who have also been making unflattering headlines for unrelated reasons, making clumsy, obtuse statements about obscure legal technicalities while blaming those same parents for not understanding something they never explained clearly.  Even if the legal arguments are completely removed from the equation, it doesn't take a PR expert to figure out which side of that battle has the winning optics in the eyes of the general public (whether you *agree* with those optics is irrelevant, because PR is about understanding the perceptions of an outside audience, and figuring out how to make your case in the court of public opinion).  Which is why a lot of video game studios that aren't owned by EA or Activision have been making a public, performative point to remove lootboxes from their games; even if they're not facing immediate legal liabilities, they probably had corporate lawyers arriving at the same conclusions described above, combined with PR experts saying "even if you could win this case in a court of law, no one can win this case in the court of public opinion", and decided that it was cheaper and easier to just stop. 

There are more factors in a decision like this - community management, revenue analysis, etc - but as someone who's spent every day of the last six months with a front-row seat to a nearly identical (but unrelated) situation, that my analysis of what's happening here.  Did LL's lawyers and PR advisors miscalculate?  I don't know, and that's a reasonable and specific question to ask.  But I doubt the official on-the-record details eventually released will ever be as meticulous and detailed as you seem to want, because that's not how PR works.  What I *do* know is that it's not helpful to base assumptions and extrapolations on a narrow view of what does and does not constitute a valid legal threat, because the cardinal rule of corporate law is to never, EVER underestimate the potential risk of a rapidly-evolving legal landscape.  Because unless your company operates with a budget in the same order of magnitude as Amazon, it is ALWAYS cheaper to be cautious than cavalier, especially when analyzing and anticipating laws that are actively being written and debated. 

Thank you thank you for saying what I was trying to. The possibility of prosecution affects behavior—and very reasonably so. The existence of laws in any jurisdiction—especially in a growing number of jurisdictions—that prohibit gacha-like game mechanics are going to make SL think twice about potential liabilities of continuing to allow them.

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2 minutes ago, Cinos Field said:

All I can say is if LL allows these barely-even-loopholes there was no point in banning gachas to begin with.

It all depends what the FAQ will say in depth about the new policy. We need more clarification what "chance based outcome as a result of payment" covers. If it's just you can't have someone pay for a random item then that's one interpretation. This would make vendors that show you what you get for your payment, but generate a new item to purchase acceptable.

If it's you can't have someone pay for an item that results in a random outcome occurring at some point after purchase then that's another interpretation and would then include other things like breedables because the traits are a random outcome after purchase.

Pick your poison.

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I don't see why people are so opposed to buying single items or fatpack of these exact same sets.  I've pretty much started just buying the fatpack on offer at most events and that is far cheaper than playing the gacha most of the time. 

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17 minutes ago, Finite said:

The addiction is buying the lindens in the first place. What you do with said lindens is how you chose to enjoy the "game". Me playing a game or you buying a shirt or house or whatever is equally addictive.

Ohhh boy.
You can buy Lindens without the thought of using them on Gachas. That can be an addiction itself, yes, but it is not the reason for Gacha addiction. People who are addicted can feel physical or emotional pain if they don't partake in what they are addicted to. This is why it's so hard for people to quit certain things. They feel compelled to do it or the world feels like it's going to fall apart. Also fomo. It's like a high.
Not everybody has the same mental capacity or strength of will to stop themselves, so just because you can hold back, doesn't mean others can.
I have a mild addiction to houses in SL, but I have enough self control to stop and ask myself "Do I love it? What will I use it for?". Some people see it and they feel they need it, and there that goes.

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