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MICROSOFT vs ESO - POSSIBLE NEW LOOT BOX POLICY

marius_buys
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This is pure lateral reasoning extrapolated from the official MS XBOX page should MS align the ESO LOOT BOX POLICY with THEIRS

Official Microsoft Loot Box Policy

At Microsoft, our goal is to create great games and gaming experiences for everyone, wherever they play – on console, PC, or mobile devices.

We want players to get the most value from our Xbox Game Studio games, which is why we invested in innovations like backward compatibility and in-home console streaming. We also want to keep our games fresh and to offer new experiences, including offering players the choice to buy new content and consumable items in their favorite games. In some instances, our business models allow for these items to be made available for customers to purchase, but we do not singularly determine success on these transactions. Our success depends on giving players great value, great experiences and earning long term trust.

Loot boxes are one of the many items we offer for sale in our games. Like trading cards, when you purchase a loot box, you know that you will receive a virtual item of value, but you don’t know exactly which item you will receive. Loot boxes have been the focus of debate because they contain an element of chance. We know that many of our customers like the element of chance in their gameplay and we want to deliver the best value to gamers who choose to buy loot boxes. We also want to be transparent about how Xbox Game Studios offers these items in our games. For all of our Xbox Game Studio games, starting with games released back in 2019, we will apply the following principles:

1 - Players always receive fair value. Players will receive a fair minimum value for all loot box purchases in our games. Every loot box will provide a virtual item that has an in-game worth or value equal to or greater than the amount paid.

2 - Items in loot boxes can always be earned through play. All items available through paid loot boxes in our games will also be available through unpaid opportunity by gameplay (i.e. grinding).
Content probability disclosure. Where loot box items are offered for purchase within our games, players will be told the probability of obtaining each category of possible items (e.g. 80% for a “common” item, 15% for a “rare” item, and 5% for an “epic” item).

3 -Purchase disclosures. Our games will disclose, at the point of purchase or download, that they offer in-game purchases.

4 - No pay to play in premium games. For purchased-to-own games, players will not be required to make additional purchases to play the base game. Expansions, DLC, and special content may require additional purchase.

5 - We won’t use the information you share with us to reduce your odds. We will not use a player’s personal or gameplay information to negatively impact the odds or results of receiving a valuable loot box item. This information, if used, would only be used to enhance the opportunity of a player, e.g., the possible items received may be geared toward what a player needs at a given time in the game or to prevent duplicates where the duplicate item has no added value.

Link to the Official Microsoft Studios Loot Box Policy Page
https://www.xbox.com/en-US/for-everyone/responsible-gaming/loot-boxes

This of course, could extend BEYOND crown crates to other loot boxes as well. Your thoughts?

@marius_buys
24/9/2020
Edited by marius_buys on September 24, 2020 1:00PM
  • Czekoludek
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    Great change to this broken system
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  • BigBragg
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    Section two is the interesting part.
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  • Danikat
    Danikat
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    BigBragg wrote: »
    Section two is the interesting part.

    It is, but this was discussed frequently when the news that Microsoft was buying Zenimax first broke and various people pointed out that technically all they need to do to fulfil that is add 1 source of free crown crates into the game. For example if your first vMA clear each week was guaranteed to give you 1 crown crate then they could claim that crates, and therefore everything in them, has an in-game source. It's not by any stretch of the imagination a viable alternative to buying crates, but it meets the wording of the Microsoft policy and so would technically fulfil their obligation.
    PC EU player | She/her/hers | PAWS (Positively Against Wrip-off Stuff) - Say No to Crown Crates!

    "Remember in this game we call life that no one said it's fair"
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  • NordSwordnBoard
    NordSwordnBoard
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    For all of our Xbox Game Studio games, starting with games released back in 2019, we will apply the following principles:
    Fear is the Mindkiller
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  • BigBragg
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    They are under no obligathion to do anything with this at all. I just think that their philosophy reguarding the subject is interesting, and there are a few areas that I personally would like to see some more pro-consumer changes made.
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  • DMuehlhausen
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    BigBragg wrote: »
    Section two is the interesting part.

    That's honestly how it should be and how it started off in most games. Anything in those crates should purchasable by different avenues or can be grinded.

    Even the Radiant mounts should be available via gems. Make it like 5000 gems or something, but even if you only spent like 1500 crowns a month on say crates over time you would earn enough gems to buy one of the mounts
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  • DMuehlhausen
    DMuehlhausen
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    Danikat wrote: »
    BigBragg wrote: »
    Section two is the interesting part.

    It is, but this was discussed frequently when the news that Microsoft was buying Zenimax first broke and various people pointed out that technically all they need to do to fulfil that is add 1 source of free crown crates into the game. For example if your first vMA clear each week was guaranteed to give you 1 crown crate then they could claim that crates, and therefore everything in them, has an in-game source. It's not by any stretch of the imagination a viable alternative to buying crates, but it meets the wording of the Microsoft policy and so would technically fulfil their obligation.

    I agree this could be an option. I don't think they would go that stingy though.

    I could see making a crown crate a reward for like Weekly Trial quest, Daily Undaunted pledges HM (or give you the choise of a geode and key or crate), vMA etc. Then you could grind like 15 or so a week or something. With the current drop rate you still wouldn't have an amazing shot, but it would be a lot better than none.
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  • DreamsUnderStars
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    The only problem is that the devs (ZOS in this case) sets what the value of something is. So they could say an xp scroll is worth 40$ and claim that the value exceeds the amount of the loot box. Assigning worth to 1's and 0's is a very grey area.

    I used to work at Kmart and when sales would roll around they would jack up the prices of somethings and then mark them down so that people were actually paying the original price.

    I'm not saying ZOS would do this, but it's something developers could do.
    Edited by DreamsUnderStars on September 24, 2020 2:18PM
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  • vamp_emily
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    It sounds like a better system, allowing people to earn lootboxes in the game.

    However, I believe their policy is just political BS. If they want to earn the trust of players ( such as I ) just don't sell lootboxes and have a store filled with virtual item that are for sale at a "reasonable" price.

    If you want a friend, get a dog.
    AW Rank: Grand Warlord 1 ( level 49)

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  • DreamsUnderStars
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    vamp_emily wrote: »
    It sounds like a better system, allowing people to earn lootboxes in the game.

    However, I believe their policy is just political BS. If they want to earn the trust of players ( such as I ) just don't sell lootboxes and have a store filled with virtual item that are for sale at a "reasonable" price.

    Except they make more money off suckers whales buying loot crates... it's more ethical to just sell the items, have flash sales, and rotate the stock, but also slightly less lucrative.
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  • AuraStorm43
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    Lootboxes shouldn’t be a thing in ESO as it is, considering how monitized the game is, or in any game for that matter

    Looking forward to them being treated like gambling so we never see them again in any game
    Edited by AuraStorm43 on September 24, 2020 2:15PM
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  • Chaos2088
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    Able to earn items in game would be awesome. I would not mind the grind fest to get them!
    @Chaos2088 PC EU Server | AD-PvP
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  • Kajuratus
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    For all of our Xbox Game Studio games, starting with games released back in 2019, we will apply the following principles:

    Yep. Unfortunately, this game was released all the way back in 2014, and does not have to meet these requirements. If they want to gain some goodwill, they would adhere to at least some of these, but unfortunately they are under no obligation to do so
    So the Dark Elves have weird alien architecture, where people live in mushroom towers and the shell of a giant crab, but the High Elves, the pinnacle of technology, the most magically advanced race in Tamriel, are still stuck in slightly pretty, fairly tall stone buildings? Not even a hint of a glass city? Are stainless glass windows really enough to claim that a city is made of glass?
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  • Pauwer
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    Number one totally applies for eso 'cause a mystic stew, 10 warrior elixir and some poison bottles are totally worth the cash :)
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  • rrimöykk
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    I hope with Microsoft the prices of houses come down. Paying 15k+ crowns for a virtual house is too much. It is not worth 100 euros, never should be.
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  • DigitalHype
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    Danikat wrote: »
    BigBragg wrote: »
    Section two is the interesting part.

    It is, but this was discussed frequently when the news that Microsoft was buying Zenimax first broke and various people pointed out that technically all they need to do to fulfil that is add 1 source of free crown crates into the game. For example if your first vMA clear each week was guaranteed to give you 1 crown crate then they could claim that crates, and therefore everything in them, has an in-game source. It's not by any stretch of the imagination a viable alternative to buying crates, but it meets the wording of the Microsoft policy and so would technically fulfil their obligation.

    No. They would also need to publish the odds for Radiant rewards. They don't currently do that. Only the base tier odds are published.

    They would also need to confirm they adhere to #5. There has been no official statement from ZoS to that effect, thus far.
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  • HappyTheCamper
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    So do you make each item available through game, or do you make crowns as a whole available through game...?
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  • Scion_of_Yggdrasil
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    So do you make each item available through game, or do you make crowns as a whole available through game...?

    That iiiiis the question.
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  • EdmondDontes
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    Yes, but isn't ZOS still ZOS even if/when MS completes the purchase? ESO will always be a ZOS product, not an XBOX product, right?

    Seems like some are kinda getting lost in the weeds with this discussion.
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  • Scion_of_Yggdrasil
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    Yes, but isn't ZOS still ZOS even if/when MS completes the purchase? ESO will always be a ZOS product, not an XBOX product, right?

    Seems like some are kinda getting lost in the weeds with this discussion.

    For continuity and reputation, I would hope Microsoft would enforce their policy on something they now own... although that is a very fine line you are talking about, and I hope they choose the right side.
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  • Sahidom
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    I wonder how these loot box policies differ from online gambling since its a micro transaction for virtual items of value; considering, IRS doesn't consider this revenue when you sell a virtual item because its not a material object exchange.
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  • HappyElephant
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    MSFT's clear policy with loot boxes is to make sure they don't run into trouble with gambling laws in the US.
    For example, MSFT makes sure players "always receive fair value."
    MSFT also makes sure all loot items are available for sale. That way they can clearly attach for each item real-monetary-value.

    This is obviously not the case for ESO's crown crates.
    For example, ZOS's gems are not translatable into actual monetary value.
    I have seen people open 200 crown crates, only to receive one mount.
    ESO's Crown Crates are also dangerous for players with a gambling addiction.

    A case could be made that ESO's Crown Crates are a form of lottery or online gambling.
    For starters, you cannot quantify that the player always receive "fair value."

    Do you think ESO is breaking federal gambling laws with its Crown Crates?


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  • juliandracos
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    Yes, but isn't ZOS still ZOS even if/when MS completes the purchase? ESO will always be a ZOS product, not an XBOX product, right?

    Seems like some are kinda getting lost in the weeds with this discussion.

    Xbox Game Studios is essentially MSFT game division. Under XGS are all of the studios MSFT owns. Zenimax Media would eventually be integrated as a subsidiary. ZOS being a subsidiary of would therefore be under XGS.

    What I think a major issue will be after the purchase is completed is the new organization. Zenimax Media has 8 subsidiaries. Will each one now be directly under XGS or remain with its current hierarchy? Would MSFT transfer some game developments to different studios and close certain studios?

    Most of MSFT previous game company acquisitions (and there have been many over the past few years) are focused on a single video game series or at most three. Zenimax Media owns multiple studios and some like Bethesda make many popular series.




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  • SgtPepperUK
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    Hopefully, something changes.

    Interestingly, some of the commentators I've seen recently talking about Microsoft's acquisition of Zenimax have talked about how Zenimax isn't making as much profit as one would think, given the high profile IPs it has (apparently it's problematic profitability hints at why they were open to, or even actively, looking for a buy out.)

    If this is the case, I wonder how much ESO has been propping up the larger Zenimax sphere and, with the massive amount of Microsoft monetary backing it now has, if that could lead to ZOS being able to step off the gas a little with its monetisation.

    I'd imagine between ESO+ subs and the regular Crown Store purchases, they could be profitable enough in their own right and, without needing to shoulder Zenimax Media as a whole, financially speaking, to drop Crown Crates totally.
    Edited by SgtPepperUK on September 24, 2020 9:25PM
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  • Canned_Apples
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    Very unlikely.
    Zos likes getting $$$ for potions they give away on a bi-daily bases. They've already started raising the cost of monthly crown gem offering. 700 gems for a mount? lol. Remember when 200 was over the top.

    Even a slight % increase on real (quality) items would be welcomed by the gamblers.

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  • volkeswagon
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    In Canada 2100 crowns will cost $200 when not on sale. So in order to get 400 gems to get one of those ugly mounts you have to buy 4 sets of 15 crates so that's 200 dollars for a virtual mount. You can buy the game and all it's expansions for that or less.
    Edited by volkeswagon on September 24, 2020 10:14PM
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  • Sahidom
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    In Canada 2100 crowns will cost $200 when not on sale. So in order to get 400 gems to get one of those ugly mounts you have to buy 4 sets of 15 crates so that's 200 dollars for a virtual mount. You can buy the game and all it's expansions for that or less.

    And the micro transaction addiction begins, hehe. I got to spend money to collect everything in the game, gambling on my chances for the drops of the crown crates... Gambling, lottery, randomized loot, its all the same when you integrate statistical odds on crate items.
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  • juliandracos
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    Interestingly, some of the commentators I've seen recently talking about Microsoft's acquisition of Zenimax have talked about how Zenimax isn't making as much profit as one would think, given the high profile IPs it has (apparently it's problematic profitability hints at why they were open to, or even actively, looking for a buy out.)

    If this is the case, I wonder how much ESO has been propping up the larger Zenimax sphere and, with the massive amount of Microsoft monetary backing it now has, if that could lead to ZOS being able to step off the gas a little with its monetisation

    Ubisoft's market cap is about $9 billion. It's P/E is 58. Using that as a framework for value, then Zenimax Media's net income would be ~$130 million. That is comparable to the 140 million Euro's Ubisoft reported in 2018 as net income.

    Zenimax Media is a holding company owned by various equity companies. The largest owner in 2016 estimated the value of Zenimax was $2.5 billion. Zenimax has only acquired two new studios since then. The equity owners have been exploring various options since then. Unless we think that MSFT massively overspent, then it is less likely that Zenimax was having profitability options when in 4 years your value triples.

    Unlikely, but since MSFT is a publicly traded company, we may learn more about how much ZOS contributes in terms of revenue with MSFT public disclosure requirements. However, they may just lump everything together under a larger heading like entertainment obscuring the particulars.
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  • marius_buys
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    MSFT's clear policy with loot boxes is to make sure they don't run into trouble with gambling laws in the US.
    For example, MSFT makes sure players "always receive fair value."
    MSFT also makes sure all loot items are available for sale. That way they can clearly attach for each item real-monetary-value.

    This is obviously not the case for ESO's crown crates.
    For example, ZOS's gems are not translatable into actual monetary value.
    I have seen people open 200 crown crates, only to receive one mount.
    ESO's Crown Crates are also dangerous for players with a gambling addiction.

    A case could be made that ESO's Crown Crates are a form of lottery or online gambling.
    For starters, you cannot quantify that the player always receive "fair value."

    Do you think ESO is breaking federal gambling laws with its Crown Crates?


    Great, logical reasoning and makes a compelling case to bring ZOS loot box policy in line with that of Microsofts' rather than risk breaking the law.
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  • Taleof2Cities
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    MSFT's clear policy with loot boxes is to make sure they don't run into trouble with gambling laws in the US.
    For example, MSFT makes sure players "always receive fair value."
    MSFT also makes sure all loot items are available for sale. That way they can clearly attach for each item real-monetary-value.

    This is obviously not the case for ESO's crown crates.
    For example, ZOS's gems are not translatable into actual monetary value.
    I have seen people open 200 crown crates, only to receive one mount.
    ESO's Crown Crates are also dangerous for players with a gambling addiction.

    A case could be made that ESO's Crown Crates are a form of lottery or online gambling.
    For starters, you cannot quantify that the player always receive "fair value."

    Do you think ESO is breaking federal gambling laws with its Crown Crates?


    Great, logical reasoning and makes a compelling case to bring ZOS loot box policy in line with that of Microsofts' rather than risk breaking the law.

    The Microsoft deal isn't expected to be done until 2021, @marius_buys.

    Wait until then to bring out the torches, pitchforks, and tin foil hats.
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