Gamers Therapy’s New Look!

I’ve done it! I’ve finally done it! I had an idea and I actually freaking executed it! It’s come to fruition. So if you’re a dork, geek, gamer or maybe somebody hiding something more personal and for some reason, you don’t want to share it. You might like what I have to say. Continue reading

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Video Only – Electronic Arts Shady Practices

Electronic Arts Shady Practices

 

*if you’d rather not read the whole article then you can check out the video below instead. 

*please help me out by subscribing to my youtube channel. It would go a long way in assisting me. 🙂 

Loot boxes, uh a hot-button term, one that divides the gaming community in a number of ways.

If you’re a gamer then you are probably aware of the dismal release of Star Wars Battlefront 2 and the subsequent blowout back in November 2017.

Hell, you’ve probably heard about it even if you aren’t a gamer. This blowout sent ripples through the gaming industry and eventually garnered the attention of mainstream network journalists, state representatives and government officials.

Let’s start at the beginning though:

Star Wars Battlefront 2 was released in November 2017.

However, when the game was in testing, players who were fortunate enough to be involved discovered that the game had a massive flaw.

A malicious system was implemented that would require players to spend thousands of hours grinding in order to obtain enough in-game currency to purchase characters integral to the Star Wars universe or power-ups, all the while violently nudging players into spending real-world money on loot boxes.

With no drop rate specified for items, players could spend hundreds of dollars on power-ups. Essentially, a pay-to-win system.

The backlash that followed led to the infamous most downvoted comment in Reddit history where EA tried to sell the idea that they wanted players to feel pride and accomplishment when a character was finally obtained after hours of grinding… or just skipped the grind and spent the cash.

A very weak defence.

EA had to remove microtransactions completely from the game when Disney got wind of what was happening and personally called EA.

Even with microtransactions removed from the game players would still be grinding over 3000 hours of playtime in order to unlock characters.

It was then brought to light that was no customizable skins within the loot boxes. EA then went on a tangent defending a practice that has been common in games of this calibre regarding customizable skins.

After questioning EA, they replied with “they couldn’t do customizable skins because they didn’t want to mess with the star wars cannon.” And making fun of the possibility of pink Darth Vader.

Data miners, in response to this statement, found that within the battlefront 2 system there was, in fact, an option for customizable skins, EA just hadn’t unlocked them yet and was probably saving it for a future update.

More gamers retaliated against EA by showcasing a pink and white version of Darth Vader in game.

Taking the above into account and the fact that Disney had to get involved, you can imagine that EA garnered some well-deserved attention in the public eye. The debate over whether Lootboxes were gambling had now filtered into the public domain and a Hawaii State official, Chris Lee, got the ball rolling on writing up new bills regarding Loot boxes.

Slowly, more countries have gotten involved in the investigation regarding whether loot boxes are gambling or not, from Scandinavia, Germany and Great Britain.

Belgium and the Netherlands have already ruled that EA’s FIFA Ultimate Team is equivalent to gambling and in violation of their laws.

According to an article by Jeff Grubb on Venture Beat, EA is still pushing forward with loot boxes, regardless of what other countries are saying or doing.

EA CEO Andrew Wilson had this to say at an industry conference call with analysts:

“We’re going to continue pushing forward [with FIFA Ultimate Team “We’re always thinking about our players. We’re always thinking about how to deliver these types of experiences in a transparent, fun, fair, and balanced way for our players  and we’ll continue to work with regulators on that.”

In the article, it is revealed that EA made $1.25 billion dollars in revenue during its last quarter and this is without releasing a new AAA game.

“We’re working with all of the industry associations globally and with regulators in certain regions and territories,” said Wilson. “Many of [the regulators] we’ve been working with for a long time, and they have evaluated and established that programs like FIFA Ultimate Team are not gambling.”

It’s obvious why Andrew Wilson would state this as already confirming the ridiculous amount of money made from microtransactions in the last quarter, he would have no choice to but to defend EA’s Holy Grail of money making.

This is the source of all EA’s major income and would be hard-pressed to make money from the gaming industry legitimately.

My other thought is that EA will not name it’s regulators at all. They are faceless corporate who won’t come into the limelight, likely because it would severely hamper their reputation.

But, personally, I would welcome these “regulators” because I would love to hear their side of the argument.

Andrew Wilson also explained why he felt that loot boxes do not constitute as gambling.

“First, players always receive a specified number of items in every FUT pack,” the executive explained. “Second, we don’t provide or authorize any way to cash out digital items or virtual currency for real-world money. And there’s no real-world value assigned to in-game items.”

 It’s important to note that even though EA doesn’t provide a way to cash-out in-game items, that doesn’t change the fact that these items are being sold on third party websites and it won’t stop potential sellers and gamblers from exploiting that system.

This means that loot boxes in this instance are actually gambling.

After a quick Google search,I found two websites that allow you to sell your Fifa coins and characters. There is more of a risk involved in this practice besides the main “are loot boxes gambling?” element and it’s a very slippery slope for EA and players wishing to exploit the system.

I’m specifically referencing players who farm coins and then sell them on the black market.

I feel that the blame should be put on EA; whether they’re at fault for having a shitty monetization practice in the first place or for failing to actually prevent players from selling accounts.

EA is the company that has given players, charlatans and gamblers an opportunity to exploit other players and the system itself and as long as it is not kept in check, EA will continue to make gallons of money while sharks pick off pennies on the sides.

Take all of what I have just said out of the equation and you are still left with the psychological implications of loot boxes; a system that is designed to look, sound and feel like a casino slot machine.

It preys on every person’s gambling tendencies. While some players are able to resist the temptation, myself included, it does not change the fact that there is serious harm that can be done and has been done to players who have been abused by this system.

It is taking advantage of players with problems and children. Children don’t even have to play the game, they can just watch someone else play, case in point those loot-box videos that you find on YouTube.

You really think that is not going to have some affect on a kids mind regardless if they are playing the game or not.

It’s all psychological.

I’m calling you out Andrew Wilson, your company is a corporate shark, preying on players, causing real-world problems. EA is a plague on the gaming industry and you should be held accountable.

The gaming community needs a publisher it can trust and you, EA, are not one of them.

So why does EA condone loot boxes?

Because it made them a billion dollars last quarter regardless of the Battlefront 2 backlash.

If you’d like to stop these practices from happening then vote with your wallet. Stop giving into microtransactions and stop buying games with an abundance of loot boxes. This is the only way EA and other like-minded publishers will learn.

What do you guys think of loot boxes? Is it gambling or not? Should EA be held accountable? Leave a comment down below and let’s start a discussion.

Until then, be good to each other.

Wolfenstein 2 The New Colossus: Random Diary Entry

*Contains spoilers for Wolfenstein: The New Order, the first 15 minutes of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, bad language and questionable statements.

“I’m B.J. Blazkowicz. Hard ass american soldier, only purpose in this world is to destroy Nazi scum and protect those I care about. Sure I’m fighting a war but it literally feels like everything is on me and believe me I’ve killed a lot of people. I think I’ve killed more than Nathan Drake and he’s a mass murderer. Upon returning to this life of war, bullets, gunpowder, ugly German women and BDSM soldiers, everything starts coming back to me.”  Continue reading

The Two Year Time Gap

Well, it certainly has been a long time hasn’t it. 🙂

Much has changed since that somewhat bleak post just over two years ago.  I was still in a bad space, clearly. I’m starting to feel an itch, an itch that needs to be scratched.  The problem is that I can’t remember how to scratch it.  It’s almost like my brain has lost complete knowledge of how I ever used to do this.  But all I can do I guess, is put my fingers to the keyboard and just let something happen. Lets see where this takes us.

As I said in the beginning much has changed.  After that last post, even after the comments from Drakulus and Cary, I never came back on here.  I didn’t even think about writing about games. In all honesty, games weren’t even on my mind.  The will to game had been lost and I didn’t care. I quite literally forgot that I had a WordPress account and totally disregarded all my notifications in my Gamers Therapy email account. There were other things to focus on.

I tried being healthy, (which is bullshit because I’m still smoking), so as healthy as a smoker could be. I was completely committed to losing weight (which technically is cheating because I was depressed at the time so the fat just fell off).  Truth be told my life had been completely reset and I think for the better.

July 2014 to February 2015:

I stayed at my job as a Xerox IT Analyst, hung out with a few friends who happened to stay close to where I was boarding at the time, went to another friend every Friday night to play guitar hero until very early hours of the morning.  These were all distractions of course, things to keep me busy so I didn’t have to think of what an utter failure I had become.  I went through some bad bouts as well.  I don’t really drink but there was an event or something and I had a drink or drinks, I honestly can’t remember and my walls came crumbling down. It was awfully embarrassing. Here was this 29-year-old man, taking antidepressants, bawling like a complete baby over his life. (good times) but there was someone helping me move along, picking me up whenever I stumbled, giving me complete and unconditional love and support.  This person became my rock, my fortress of solitude. I was excited to get home to see and speak to her. We went for walks, went to the beach, played Mario Kart and spoke about everything. She helped me more than ever. You see, I have no family here besides my daughter (forgot I had daughter didn’t you) and she quickly became my family. There was never any judgement or contempt over my failures or stumbles and she is always still there for me. Her name is Michaela.

Eventually, I started to find some motivation in my life.  The place that I was staying was becoming to crowded and negative for my liking and so I had every intention to leave as soon as I could. (There are much more details into these events but for the sake of this post, I’m not going to delve into specifics) I eventually found a great little flat which I am still currently staying in. So good to have my own space!! Having finally achieved independence again things started progressing slowly forward.

February 2015 to March 2016:

Many things changed during this period. Michaela and I had formed a solid relationship, she even moved in with me I think after three months. We were never really good at being apart. Michaela worked at a video store (having just finished high school, that’s kind of the only job that was around) and eventually I started working there as well for a bit of extra cash. This was our life now, I had two jobs. My main one being the IT guy and the second working at a video store. Mici (Michaela) and I were always together. We created our own personal bubble and a fuck the world attitude. Unfortunately, the world had that same attitude with us so things were good but definitely not easy.  We would come home and watch series, and movies. Every now and then a friend would come by but we generally like to keep to ourselves.  My daughter Paige started visiting every Saturday and eventually would spend the night as well. I also managed to get myself a car. (i was using the company car during this time) Eventually, I got myself off of those pesky antidepressants and I even managed to get myself  a Playstation 4.

April 2016 to now:

Obviously, Mici and I didn’t want to work at our jobs forever. I didn’t want two jobs because that was exhausting and Mici was becoming worried that she wouldn’t find anything else. She needed more of challenge and I needed to get out of my comfort zone.  We both took a chance and started applying for work.  It took Mici months to finally find a job but I think it was worth it in the end as she seems to really enjoy it. She is an assistant accountant now at one of the most prestigious accounting firms in town. Me, I left my job at Xerox and started working for a more IT related field technician. The money is way better, plus commission which is insanely easy to get.  Because of my nearly ten-year work career at Xerox I decided to cash in on my pension as there were things that I needed to get for myself which was only a car as the other was costing me more than I would have liked.  I found myself a good car and after that Mici and I just kind of enjoyed the money for a bit. Yeah it was a stupid decision. I should have put the rest straight into a savings account or a retirement fund but I didn’t and you know what? Best decision ever. I don’t regret spending that money at all. We had months of being comfortable, not over doing it but if we wanted to go out we would. If i wanted to buy her a gift I could and that feeling is awesome.  For my thirtieth birthday she and I traveled up to Johannesburg to see my family and we enjoyed a very expensive and awesome night at a strip club called teasers.(Yup, you read that right. Who else has a girl who actually wants to go see other naked ladies with you, plus my family…how screwed up are we, haha)

Nothing much has really changed in the last few months since then.  Mici loves her job. My job is very stressful and I’m thinking about rebooting my career but I’m still seeing where it goes currently. I’ve been gaming a lot lately which has been extremely enjoyable and I’m even excited about games that are coming out even though they are remasters.

That’s my life up until me writing this article.

Enough about me…

How are you guys?

P.S. Yesterday we took Paige to the Lion Park and I can’t resist but upload this. It’s a beautiful pic of Mici and Paige. Aren’t they both the most beautiful things ever? 🙂

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