Riot Games’ League of Legends Upgrade Sparks Controversy with Gambling Complaints

League of Legends Players Unhappy with Developer’s Gambling System

Posted on: August 17, 2023, 07:46h. 

Last updated on: August 17, 2023, 07:46h.

The League of Legends (LoL) community is expressing dissatisfaction with Riot Games, the game’s developer. The release of a new in-game skin is tied to a gambling system, drawing criticism as loot boxes and randomizers are no longer deemed acceptable in gaming.

A characterization of Dark Cosmic Erasure Jhin from the video game League of Legends
A characterization of Dark Cosmic Erasure Jhin from the video game League of Legends. Riot Games is under fire from gamers for enticing gamers to gamble. (Image: League of Legends video game)

LoL will introduce new Cosmic capsules at the end of the month, which can be obtained by achieving certain game milestones. However, these capsules are causing concern as they are randomized, making it unclear what players will receive.

The Debate Over Capsules

Discussions among LoL players about the capsules have been intense. The uncertainty surrounding the capsules has sparked debates about their value and whether they should be considered a form of gambling.

Concerns escalated when data from the Public Beta Environment (PBE) revealed similarities to gacha games, which involve spending in-game currency for virtual items without knowing the outcome. This further fueled speculation and uncertainty among the player community.

Gacha games have long been a subject of debate. Emily Lawrenson of Qustodio describes them as “video games [that] encourage players to spend in-game currency for virtual items as they progress.”

Many gacha games feature randomized items, sparking discussions about whether these in-game purchases should be classified as a form of gambling.

LoL players immediately voiced their concerns after the PBE data was uncovered. While they initially expressed willingness to purchase event passes and capsules, their enthusiasm waned due to disappointing results.

The negative reaction has led some to label this as LoL’s worst year yet, with calls for government intervention growing stronger.

The Changing Landscape of Microtransactions

Riot Games has yet to respond to media inquiries, seemingly unaware of the growing international scrutiny on loot boxes in gaming. Global regulations on these randomized systems appear inevitable.

In an effort to protect players, particularly minors, and promote fair play, the UK gaming industry has implemented an extensive 11-step strategy to address loot boxes. The strategy includes technological measures to prevent children from accessing these systems, a widespread awareness campaign, and the introduction of transparent disclosure.

After a thorough three-year investigation, the UK government has voiced support for industry self-regulation as a solution. This decision reflects the urgent need to address the issue properly, considering that the microtransactions segment generates approximately $15 billion in revenue.

Countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, and Austria have taken a stricter stance on these matters. Unlike the UK’s self-governing approach, these countries have implemented more stringent restrictions.

Belgium and the Netherlands have completely banned loot boxes and similar mechanics to combat gambling addiction, prioritizing the protection of individuals, particularly minors, from the potential harms of in-game purchases.

Austria, while not imposing a full prohibition, enforces rigorous regulations on the use of virtual currencies within secure storage areas to prevent excessive spending, particularly by minors.

While different countries have adopted varying approaches, the global trend is clear: governments are tightening regulations on the video game industry.

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