Today Epic Games’ CEO Tim Sweeney hosted the opening keynote at DICE Summit, according to reports, he talked about how some developers have adopted a “customer adversarial model”.
Tim Sweeney explains that the current trend of some developers is harming the customers, he directly points at Facebook and Google. He also raised his voice against pay-to-win games or loot boxes.
“We have businesses that profit by doing their customers harm,” … “Facebook and Google have been one of the leaders in this… They provide free services then make you pay for their service in loss of privacy and loss of freedom.”…”We have to ask ourselves, as an industry, what we want to be when we grow up. Do we want to be like Las Vegas, with slot machines … or do we want to be widely respected as creators of products that customers can trust? I think we will see more and more publishers move away from loot boxes.”
Certainly, loot boxes and pay-to-win games practices have evolved and became quite scary, the games are targeted for young players, being young makes them especially vulnerable, pay-to-win games are also designed to be highly competitive, and the players are almost forced to spend real money to stay competitive.
The best example of this is FIFA Ultimate Team, for those who are not familiar with the mechanics of the game goes like this:
Players take the role of a coach of a new football team, professional football players are available in the shape of cards, bronze, silver, and gold are available. The player’s journey starts with a bronze less skillful team. As the player wins matches, in-game currency is earned, the currency can be spent on the acquisition of card packages or a footballer of their like in auctions.
While all this sounds fine, the problem lies in the psychology behind the mechanics of FIFA Ultimate Team, the game receives updates for less than a year, players don’t have much time to build their dream team. Football players with their cards rated over 85 are rare, player like Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, or Lionel Messi are extremely rare cards.
Considering this, players are forced to spend real money just to receive a random bunch of gold players, that way, players can compete online with a half-decent team.
EA is currently being sued in France for, lawyers Karim Morand-Lahouazi and Victor Zagury argue that FIFA Ultimate Team mode is a form of gambling and should be regarded as such.