Column: See-through llamas and the gamble of surprise

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

“We believe it’s important that the llamas you buy have what you want.”

That little nugget of a quote was released in January of this year from Epic Games about their online juggernaut that is Fortnite.

An update to the game was going to allow players to actually see the contents of reward-bearing loot llama pinatas available for purchase.

Epic and Fortnite have been in the news a fair amount lately in relation to a lawsuit filed in October by a Montreal law firm, Calex Legal, on behalf of two people who allege their 10- and 15-year-old sons are addicted to the game.

A lawyer with Calex said the boys “had all the symptoms of severe dependence – addiction – (and) it caused severe stress in the families as well.”

It’s not the first time Epic and other game makers have been accused of feeding addictive behaviour.

Electronic Arts faced a backlash over its game, Star Wars Battlefront II, that offered players the opportunity to make in-game purchases of “loot boxes” containing random surprise rewards, hooking gamers seeking an advantage.

In February, a U.S. legal action was initiated against Epic for their opaque loot llamas, the plaintiff alleging the company “made a fortune on in-game purchases, preying…on minors who are especially susceptible to such predatory tactics.”

And now, see-through llamas.

While I enjoy video games, I’m of the old-school mindset of pay once and know what you’re getting.

Read more: Quebec parents seek class action against makers of ‘addictive’ Fortnite game

Read more: No more Fortnite: Vancouver Canucks ban video games on the road

Read more: B.C. Fortnite gamer donates $164,000 in winnings to SPCA

To my son’s dismay, there is no Fortnite being played at our house. Our version of loot boxes would be the blind bag/box toy surprise packs available in stores.

These typically contain random bits of junk…er, I mean “collectible” figurines and accessories. They range in price from a few dollars to more than $100 for the L.O.L. “Bigger Surprise.” (The only one laughing out loud after that purchase will be the manufacturer.)

I’ve been through surprise pack purchase experience many times now, and can see how it might be compared to gambling.

If the toy is one your kid wants, you’re a winner; if not, well, you’re not.

And either way, you’re likely going to be stuck paying/playing again.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Two killed in collision, fire near Three Valley Gap

The Trans Canada Highway was closed for four hours

Chase rail blockade resumes after four-day truce

Protest held in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en First Nation regarding RCMP, LNG pipeline

Shuswap animal sanctuary seeks to fit frostbitten baby goat with prosthetic leg

Fundraiser started to help Zuri, newest resident of Twin Hearts Animal Sanctuary

Stanley Cup returning to Salmon Arm after 15 years

Resident excited for twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see iconic trophy

Money available to curtail nutrient pollution of Shuswap watershed

Excessive phosphorous could make algae blooms and other unpleasant conditions more common

Morning Start: How many grapes go into a bottle of wine?

Your morning start for Tuesday, February 25, 2020.

Trout ‘doing quite well’ at Kootenay hatchery after otters, who ate 150 fish, relocated

River otters had been pillaging a moat outside the facility for months, gobbling up about 150 trout

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

Trudeau revisits blackface embarrassment during Black History Month

Photos and a video of Trudeau wearing makeup to darken his skin surfaced during last fall’s election campaign

Alleged racially-motivated vandalism concerns Penticton Chinese community

Chinese community worried fear surrounding COVID-19 coronavirus a cause for discrimination.

Kelowna mayor to request RCMP’s ‘unfounded’ sexual assault report

RCMP said the report was completed over a month ago but have yet to release it or make a statement

Criminality not suspected in Ellison trailer fire death

The body was discovered after crews responded to reports of a house fire

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Most Read