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Innula Zenovka

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Everything posted by Innula Zenovka

  1. Similarly, I'm in SL to do what I enjoy doing. If I can make a bit of money doing it (and I do), that's great, but there are plenty of ways I can make a lot more money doing stuff in First Life, too, so that's not the main consideration.
  2. Many countries, including my own, are in the process of introducing legislation that will clarify the law to bring gachas, loot boxes, and the like firmly within the purview of national gambling regulators. This is happening right now, so over the next couple of years the list of measures LL/Tilia has to take, and reporting requirements everyone has to follow, to keep themselves in compliance with everyone's local regulations, is going to keep growing. Failure to keep up would potentially place LL and Tilia in grave legal danger, and they seem to have taken the view -- very sensibly, to my mind -- that whatever the disadvantages of proactively banning gachas now, before they become a major legal headache, those disadvantages are more than outweighed by removing problem completely, so there's no compliance and reporting to worry about. I used to have to know a bit about some aspects of anti-money-laundering legislation and the parts of British online gaming regulation relating to money laundering for my First Life job and I've wondered ever since I discovered SL how the L$ fit into all this. The problem is that, while obviously the legislation is written with banks, payment processors and online casinos in mind, not virtual worlds, there are certainly some parts that seem (or seemed, before LL banned various activities and also before they started Tilia) at least potentially to catch various aspects of SL, and if any regulatory body here ever decided to take a close look, then determining in the British courts the extent to which relevant UK law actually did apply to SL would be a difficult and expensive process, even if it transpired they didn't. It's not a risk any sensible business would want to take unless they thought they had to and, unless they considered gachas a major part of their future business plan for SL, I can't imagine why the new owners would want to assume it. I think what probably happened is that, possibly as part of the due diligence phase while the sale of LL was going through, someone asked their legal advisors to take a look at any possible present or impending legal issues that might affect SL, and this new ban is one of the results. You ask Some years ago, before LL introduced their skill gaming rules, I was asked a few times if I would be interested in making some casino-style games, and some of the offers were sufficiently interesting that I checked with our Gambling Commission what what sort of licences we'd potentially need and both what I (as the person responsible for the software) would need to do to gain their approval and sort of responsibilities I'd be undertaking if my software were licenced. That was enough to put me off the idea very quickly, because, even assuming I could get the software licenced (and was prepared to pay the costs and fees for the application process), the cost and administrative burden of remaining in compliance with reporting requirements, and the continuing cost of proper professional advice to keep us in compliance, were completely disproportionate to any rewards we might hope to see. So I dropped the plan and went on to script lots of other stuff in SL for fun (and sometimes for profit, too) that doesn't carry with it such risks. ETA: Any Brits considering designing or operating whatever comes after gachas might want to read this guidance from the Gambling Commission on Remote Gambling. It probably doesn't apply right now but it, or something very like it, will almost certainly start to apply at some point during the life of the present government.
  3. Quite so, and if LL did business only in the US you might well have a point. However, since LL's customer base is world-wide, providing electronic goods and services to many jurisdictions, they find themselves subject not only to US law but also to the laws of Australia, Japan, EU and EEA jurisdictions, the UK and elsewhere, to the extent they do business there. These laws, civil and criminal, are enforceable not in California but in the local jurisdiction, whose courts can, and will if necessary, enforce fines and other financial penalties through local banks and payment processors (credit card companies and PayPal) who hold payments from local residents destined for Tilia. So even if LL's new owners were prepared even to contemplate flouting the law in this way, it would rapidly become very difficult for them to send or receive funds overseas, and I doubt Mastercard, Visa, PayPal and Skrill would want to do business with them in the US either, which would be the end for Tilia and LL both. Anyway, one way or another, it's done deal.
  4. As I understand it (and I'd welcome correction here, since I've not played 7 Seas for years) you don't actually need bait (or a fancy rod) to catch stuff. As in First Life, good equipment and bait mean you catch more, faster, but if you're in no great hurry to level up, and add to your collection of rare and exotic fish, and just want to have fun fishing, either alone or with your friends, then all you need is the basic rod. So I think your analogy breaks down there. You know what you're buying at the time of purchase -- bait or special rod. That might make the game more enjoyable, if you care about how long it takes you to amass a large collection and earn more bragging rights, but you don't need to buy anything other than the basic kit to play the game and win the same prizes. It just takes a lot longer without the power-ups. That's my understanding, anyway, I'm sure someone will be quick to put me right if I've misunderstood. ETA: I see there's a very helpful explanation of 7 Seas earlier in the thread by @Angelina Sinclair analysing how it differs from gachas.
  5. How have they shot themselves in the foot? LL want gachas to disappear from the face of the grid, and that's what's going to happen. All LL have said on the subject of conveyor belts is There's been plenty of speculation and wishful thinking in this thread, but all LL have said, it seems to me, is that it's ok if someone wants to make a vendor that sells one item at a time, chosen randomly, so long as it makes it clear what the item is and you know what you're buying at the time of purchase. Then the next item pops up, on the basis of first-come, first-served, and anyone who wants it (and is quick enough) can buy it. The question refers to the buyer touching the vendor to guarantee the right to buy the particular item on display. It doesn't say anything about buying the option to buy the next randomly chosen item, too. If there's an element of chance involved, and the item sold is transferrable, it seems to me, then the vendor is likely to get removed. That's because, if you buy an option to purchase a randomly-chosen item of value along with your actual purchase, that introduces an element of chance into into the transaction. To my mind, it's gambling if I'm taking a punt on my L$100 buying me not only the ultra common blue McGuffin on display, but also an option to buy the ultra rare green McGuffin that I really want because I can resell it for L$1000, and taking the risk that the option will result only in the opportunity to buy another blue one, to add to ever my expanding collection of ones I don't want. If anyone wants to try their hand at making one of these (bearing in mind Qie's early comments about the scripting), then I guess we'll see what LL make of it, but I don't why LL should get into the vendor business. No one ever suggested they might set up in competition to Caspervend, and I don't see why this should be any different.
  6. Why would LL want to pay the LDPW scripting moles to write one, and pay their QA to test it, and so on?
  7. Does the First Sale Doctrine apply to the terms on which creators grant limited licences to use their IP (which is what we're doing when we sell people virtual goods in SL) or only to actual physical objects (movable property)?
  8. I think those would be matters for the tax and regulatory authorities in the jurisdictions of the residents concerned. I certainly have to report my profits from SL on my regular tax returns and pay tax on them in the normal way, and I assume that's the case in most places. Similarly, regulations against price fixing and so on would, presumably, be applicable in the jurisdictions where the the residents concerned are based. You'd have to provide details to the regulators in the parties' local jurisdictions and see what they make of it. Whether people pay taxes on the profits from their gacha businesses, though, or find themselves under investigation for fraud by local law enforcement, is not LL's problem. LL's problem is ensuring it remains in compliance with all the relevant laws and regulations that govern LL's activities, not those of individual residents.
  9. That, I think, is what Patch and LL are trying to do with the FAQ that they're compiling. I think, though, that they've already made it pretty clear. If you pay L$ and receive either L$ or something that can be sold, and thus converted into L$, in return, and there's an element of chance about what what/how much you receive, then the strong presumption is that it's banned.
  10. Your local politician doesn't need to understand it. What matters is that both the specialist lawyers of the kind advising LL and those advising the various regulatory bodies, both in the US and abroad, understand the the nuances of the relevant laws governing online financial services and that LL's advisors keep Tilia and LL in compliance with them.
  11. I suspect that, in the UK at least, people might be able to compromise for the loss of gachas by buying scratch cards, or playing the low stakes/low pay-out fruit machines in bars and takeaway food outlets, and then using their winnings to buy L$ to buy whatever it is they want.
  12. The "true price" of the item is one which the customer is willing to pay (in both L$ and time combined) and one which the creator/merchant is prepared to accept. Certainly there are plenty of items I've seen in gachas for which I'll willingly pay a couple of thousand L$ (possibly more) but I've very rarely seen any that I want so badly that I'm willing to spend however long it is paying the vendor instalments of L$50 or L$75 until it decides to give me whatever it is I want to buy rather than spamming me with stuff I don't. Other people have different ideas about how much they're prepared to pay (and how much time and effort, if any, they're prepared to devote to reselling unwanted items). However, whether people like or dislike gachas is not particularly relevant. LL has apparently been advised that they represent a legal risk sufficiently grave that LL want to be rid of them. That's all there is to it.
  13. I think Patch has said (either in this thread or the addenda to the blog post) that they'll be exploring various ideas like this with LL's legal advisors, and will presumably be guided by what they have to say about conveyor belts or anything else. Best to wait for the next update to the FAQ, I think, rather than speculate, and then ask more questions at the time if necessary.
  14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loot_box#Regulation_and_legislation https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8498/
  15. Do you not think that, at the very least, governments have a legitimate interest in regulating online games of chance to protect the public from fraud and to disrupt money laundering? Gaming and money laundering regulations aren't drawn up with SL in mind, of course, but they still apply, and it really is a regulatory minefield. Regulators world-wide are taking an increasing interest in loot packs and gatchas, and I can well see why LL don't want to go anywhere near something that could easily land them with either substantial fines or a heavy reporting burden (that's one reason they split off Tilia). It's not that anyone's particularly gunning for SL gatchas, but they're certainly going after loot boxes and SL gatchas are so likely to be caught by at least some of the new reporting and licencing regimes that I can really see what LL just want to get rid of that potentially very grave risk completely.
  16. Loot boxes and gatchas already fall within the ambit of the gambling regulators in several jurisdictions where LL do business, and this will be true of several more (including my own, the UK) by the end of next year. Whatever the merits of the California case under discussion (I'm not familiar with it), that has little to do with how the governments of Australia, the UK and other countries may decide to regulate loot boxes in future -- we don't yet know -- and it seems to me not at all unreasonable for LL's new owners to decide from the outset that keeping themselves in compliance with an increasing number of different regulatory and reporting regimes in different jurisdictions just isn't something the company needs to be bothered about, since they presumably don't view gatchas as being so important to their business model as Apple do to theirs. Rightly or wrongly, LL presumably don't see gatchas as being worth the long-term hassle of keeping up with with the differing requirements of multiple regulators, and are bailing now rather than later. The "something" that's driving this seems to me to be no more than LL's assessment of what's in the company's best business interests. Presumably it's been under consideration for some time, and the people who make such decisions at LL have read too many articles like this https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2021/04/uk-report-recommends-regulating-all-loot-boxes-as-gambling/ https://www.wired.co.uk/article/loot-boxes-new-gambling https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-53253195 and have decided they want to divest themselves of all possible regulatory risk by banning gatchas altogether. It seems a perfectly rational decision, whether you agree with it or not, and I don't see why there needs to be anything else behind it.
  17. Two very different companies of different sizes with different markets, business models and priorities?
  18. I see from the LL Official FAQ about VAT that they're registered in the EU and Australia as a non-resident business in those jurisdictions, and I rather suspect that the same will be true in this case. While I doubt LL would find themselves in court in the US they'd certainly be subject to proceedings in the EU and Australia, at least, whose courts will certainly have jurisdiction over funds sent locally to LL via payment processors like Mastercard and Visa before the money is actually transmitted overseas. Even if they were minded to, I'm pretty sure LL can't treat the law in those jurisdictions, at least, with impunity.
  19. Gatchas and loot boxes are already unlawful under certain circumstances in Belgium and The Netherlands under existing gambling law, at least in the opinion of the local gambling regulators. Revisions to Australian gambling law are already before the Australian senate to bring gatchas and loot boxes within their ambit, and several other major jurisdictions, including the UK, will be introducing similar legislation this year or next. There's a short and very accessible report summarising all this at https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8498/ SL isn't a gaming platform and LL don't want to deal with the myriad of regulatory authorities they'd have to satisfy in order to become one, not least -- I would imagine -- because they'd have to submit all the source code for the gatchas (which they didn't write) for approval by dozens of different national gaming boards. LL have plugged the plug sooner rather than later, but the decision was inevitable, and has been for some time. Legislation is being drafted with companies other than LL in mind, and platforms other than SL, but it will be equally applicable to SL as to anything else, and no other decision would have been possible, to my mind.
  20. This change is needed because SL may already be breaking Belgian and German law (at least) by hosting gatcha machines, they'll probably be breaking British and Australian law both if they're still hosting them this time next year, and more and more jurisdictions are following suit. LL have to make this change if they want to avoid danger of prosecution in an increasing number of jurisdictions and they sooner they remove this risk, the better for everyone.
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