Red Dead Online Beta Launches! – What’s Good Games (Ep. 81)

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This week the ladies are joined by the lovely Ashely Esqueda! Discussions include Red Dead Redemption 2’s online beta, Obsidian’s new game tease, the FTC’s investigation into loot boxes and Nintendo’s new streaming guidelines. Hands-on impressions include RDR2 online, Fallout 76 and My Horse Prince. Let’s get to know Ashley in the third segment!

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  • Wrt lootbox discussion:

    1)There is no anti-lootbox lobby facing off against industry lobbyists because there is no money in being anti-lootbox.

    Governments are looking at the effects of all forms of screen time because the post millennial generation has a dramatically higher incidence of mental illness—such as debilitating anxiety—and suicide rates in the space of five years for teens have gone up 30% for males and 70% for females. And the big change from the millennial generation has been the emergence of data driven manipulation to drive engagment via tech companies, and videogames are part of that.

    2) Saying that government has no role in limiting what children are exposed to is an abrogation of one of society’s fundamental responsibilities: the protection if those who cannot protect themselves. Moreover, parents are not omnipresent and omniscient. How do you stop your kid from buying cigarettes, for example? Lock them up?

    Remember, these game systems, like most of our current digital lanscape, has been created by billion dollar corporations who employ sophisticated algorithms that can track and manipulate the behaviour and psychology of millions of individuals, including children, in real time. Parents dont stand a chance on their own.

    3)Whether randomized lootboxes are legally gambling or not doesn’t matter, nor does the question of whether there are gameplay effects vs cosmetic only effects matter. The question is whether or not exposing developing minds to these gambling like systems is harmful or not.

    We know that exposing children to actual gambling increases the risk latter in life of gambling addiction. So is it prudent to prevent children from accessing complex, data driven faux-gambling systems? Or should we not restrict it, and see how it plays out as these children grow into adulthood?

    4)Finally, these companies fight against regulation not because they are afraid that lootboxes will be illegal, but because they are afraid they will lose access to the most profitable part if their audience, the under 18s.

    It takes untill the age of 25 for human brains to fully mature, and the younger you are, the more easily you can be manipulated into engaging in impulsive and self destructive behaviour. Companies have know about this for a really long time which is why Big Tobacco spent so much money targeting 10-20 year olds. “If I can get them smoking [cigarette brand] at 13, I’ve got a customer for life,”—former tobacco exec.

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