Perhaps one of the last holdouts on the notion that lootboxes aren’t gambling and are ‘A-Okay’, ESA Prez Mike Gallagher took it a step further at Nordic Game Conference at Malmö Central Station in Malmo, Sweden this previous week by championing the well-hated lootbox mechanic as a source of massive revenue increases. In a long-winded, inaccurate, dry speech given to attendees Gallagher argued that lootboxes never left players upset and never “took their money without giving them something”. Belittling government authorities that have banned lootboxes in video games such as Belgium and the Netherlands, Gallagher simply called these “the lowest common denominator” and sought out to discredit those bodies which have done the research and concluded their findings that lootboxes are dangerous items that will lead to long-term addiction and gambling problems for players of games which contain them.
Many journalists, gamers, and developers have often been on the side of self-regulation for the game industry, which Ghallager goes on to promote. However, the opening up of the conversation beginning with such an avid defense of lootboxes perhaps proves that the authorities currently in place to do such self-regulation can no longer be trusted to keep the best interest of gamers in mind. Gaming has always grown massively year over year, and without the help of predatory lootbox micro-transactions that cause addiction and gambling neural pathways to develop in the human brain. This attempt to combine fear of government regulation with defense of lootboxes proves that the ESA cannot be trusted as an ally to gamers anymore.
While a good amount of this mainly empty power-point presentation from Mike Ghallager argued against lootbox regulation, there were a few other strange anti-consumer points attempting to be made as well. Simply allowing predatory or poorly designed monetization systems to roll out in mainstream games then later be patched via feedback was trotted out as a worthy solution to the current problems of the industry. A label of “in-game purchases” that doesn’t specify lootboxes from micro-transactions or expansive downloadable content was also given as a reason why self-regulation is supposedly working. Video game addiction becoming a World Health Organization classification was brought up as well as USA’s research on the potential link between mass shootings and violent video games (which ultimately ended up undecided).
Ghallager attempted to paint the picture of an innocent game industry that did nothing wrong and was under attack by the big, bad wolf. In reality, Star Wars: Battlefront II destroyed the last remaining bit of belief gamers had in the industry to self-regulate and the ESA is now unable to defend itself against government regulation due to their refusal to hold EA Games and companies like it accountable for their misdeeds. In short, it has become impossible for the ESA to speak out against defamation of the games industry by the World Health Organization and be taken seriously since they have proven they are simply shills for large gaming corporations and don’t care about their own consumers’ well-being.
If Mike Gallagher truly believes the things he said on stage this week, then he’s part of the executive abuse of game developers and video game customers going on which is a plague on this industry. If he doesn’t believe the things he said, and is “just doing his job” as many claim, then he should resign to give some one with more spine a chance to stand up to the forces controlling the ESA through special interest funding deals designed to neuter their ability to represent real gamers.
Today saw the release of a very intriguing statistics report regarding the video game industry, by The Entertainment Software Association. The ESA is a Washington D.C. based group that represents the industry’s interest.
Some of the more interesting bit of info in its annual “Essential Facts” are that 85% of Parents are actually aware that ESRB Rating system exist and that 56% of them say that video games are a positive part of their child’s life. You can read the full 2014 PDF report here, or check out some the more interesting findings.
Who Is Playing?:
- 59 percent of Americans play games.
- 181.3 million Americans play games.
- Average gamer age is 31.
- 51 percent of Americans own a dedicated game console, and those that do own an average of two.
- 52 percent of U.S. gamers are male, and 48 percent are female.
- Women aged 18 or over make up a much larger percentage of the gamer population (36 percent) than boys 18 or younger (17 percent).
- The average number of years gamers have been playing video games is 14.
Who Is Buying?:
- Average age of the most frequent game purchaser is 35.
- Of the most frequent game purchasers, 50 percent are male and 50 percent are female.
- 44 percent of gamers said video games give them the most value for their money, compared to DVDs, music, or going out to the movies.
- 88 percent of parents whose children play games believe the ESRB rating system is either very or somewhat helpful in choosing games for their children.
- 85 percent of parents are aware of the ESRB system.
- 87 percent of parents believe that the parental controls available in video game consoles are useful. In addition, parents impose time usage limits on video games more than any other form of entertainment. 83 percent for games, 80 percent of Internet usage, 76 percent TV viewing, and 70 percent movie viewing.
- Of the games rated by the ESRB in 2013, 46 percent were rated E, 19 percent were rated E10+, 23 percent were rated T, and 12 percent were rated M.
- 91 percent of parents whose children play video games are present when games are purchased or rented.
- 82 percent of children ask for their parents’ permission before purchasing or renting a game.
- 95 percent of parents say they pay attention to the content of the games their children play.
- 56 percent of parents say video games are a positive part of their child’s life.
- The “action” category was the best-selling console video game genre in 2013, making up 31.9 percent of all games sold last year. The next closest category was the “shooter” category at 20 percent.
- For PC, strategy games took the lion’s share, with 38.4 percent of all sales. The next closest category was “casual” at 28.3 percent.
- The best-selling console game of 2013 was Grand Theft Auto V, followed by Call of Duty: Ghosts.
- On PC, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm was the best-seller, followed by SimCity.
- In all, gamers spent $21.53 billion on all video game content in 2013.
More than 2,200 “nationally representative” households data was gathered by research firm Ipsos MediaCT for this report.
So what do you guys think, any of these findings surprised you? I was personally surprised and happy about the how parents knowing of the ESRB’s existence, seeing as I used to work in a retail store and sold many video games to those that were oblivious. Of course I didn’t meet a majority of these parents but still it was hard not to think that way.
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jermain Jackson on 20140424 and was last modified on 20140424 .