Step Right Up!
We are adding a feature where you can play instanced mini-games to win random loot in game! You purchase a ticket that gives you access to a mini-game instance. Should you beat the simple, fun game, you receive a random reward from a chest, or opt for tokens you can spend on items available on a merchant. We will be selling the tickets for Station Cash in the marketplace.
While still pretty vague in the “how much” and “what do I get” departments, it looks like SOE is stepping into new territory in order to hustle Station Cash. New for them at least, this is old hat elsewhere.
Other games have been criticized for selling random prize boxes. Syp did a post over at Massively called The Truth About Lockboxes, which includes directly calling them gambling, which has been the literal truth in some cases.
SOE looks like they are going to try to skirt the gambling charge by following the carnival game example.
As I recall, in my home state, the elements of gambling of gambling are:
- Consideration – You have to pay something in order to participate
- Prize – You get something of value if you win
- Chance – There is an element of luck which may keep you from getting a prize
Rules in your jurisdiction may vary.
Carnival games do not qualify by being about skill and not chance. You need just the right throw to get that hoop over the stuffed dog and the base on which he rests. And lockboxes like the ones Star Trek Online hawks so vigorously do not count in my state either, since you always get a prize. But the random nature of the boxes trips over the rules in other places.
In a carnival game, you know what the prize is in advance, so if you have the skill, there is no chance.
SOE is also trying to introduce some skill with the mini game. We shall see how easy or fun the games really are.
But SOE is still offering up the random prize box, which might make the whole skill aspect moot. The hinging factor might be that they added in the option to simply take tokens which you can spend. You can opt out of the random factor.
Will this avoid a gambling charge in all jurisdictions?
We shall see.
Will this take “pay to win” and make it “gamble to win?”
I can hardly wait to see what the prizes will be.
I guess if your cash shop is overly dependent on certain items… like mounts or heavily discounted Gold subscriptions… you have to find a way to branch out. And these sort of random box schemes have been a gold mine in other games. They might even be why STO is Not Dying.
I’ve said it before and I am sure I will say it again. I like that there we are entering an era of varied subscription options. The box price and monthly fee add up to a big barrier to entry for many.
On the other hand, I am not really happy about what some games become when they go free to play. And if you look at the MMOs I am actually playing lately… Rift, EVE, and a bit of WoW… you will see the common thread is that they are classic subscription model games. I am not sure if that is an accident or not. Like others, I seem to like my subscription.
How about you? Do you like random lockboxes?
And how soon after conversion will they show up in SWTOR?