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Blockchain could help legalise the loot boxes

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Blockchain could help legalise the loot boxesReading Time: 3 minutes

Loot boxes, which have been in existence for about a decade, have run into legal problems in countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium. The redeemable virtual rewards system, which involves accessing maps, weapons and a whole range of upgrades to your in-game functionality, had already become so popular that some developers have wholly shifted their monetisation models away from paid-for-games to free-to-play games because of the revenue they provide.

But the legal issues are threatening the core business model of loot boxes. That is why developers are thinking of reverting to a business model based on advertising or selling games rather than giving them away for free.

However, there can be another option. Rather than making such a drastic U-turn, they could find salvation in the shape of the blockchain. By implementing a new tokenised economic model that this technology provides, game developers could not only continue to make money without having to rely on advertising but also implement a system that would reward gamers for the time they spend playing games.

The problem with loot boxes

Loot boxes first emerged in Asia, but have become more well-known after social game developers like Zynga successfully implemented them. Since then, loot boxes have slowly begun to embed themselves into the fabric of most games, even where their incorporation seems unnecessary. Then loot boxes’ presence in triple-A console games like Overwatch, Battlefront 2, and Shadow of War ramped up their presence in terms of public awareness.

When an entry fee or cost is present in a gaming monetisation scheme, along with luck or chance, and the potential for some type of monetary gain, the scheme is almost definitely going to be considered gambling as a result of those three key elements. Since loot boxes have both a cost and a “random element,” they have landed game makers in hot water with regulators. The cash purchase of these boxes, for regulators in the Netherlands and Belgium, resembles gambling – and is therefore an illegal offering.

While companies like EA have said they will persist with loot boxes, confident that other regulators do not see the situation in the same way as the Belgian or the Dutch authorities, there is no guarantee that other authorities would not act to quash them.

Blockchain as a solution

Rather than putting these key revenue flows at risk though, one potential path that publishers could pursue is to leverage a new form of blockchain monetisation. For example, my company, Loot, has a new mining process that leverages player skill to generate new units of cryptocurrency instead of GPU or CPU mining.

All blockchain networks have some sort of incentive mechanism built into them, which helps the network to function properly. In the case of Bitcoin, this is the proof of work algorithm that keeps the network secure and trustworthy by making it hard to add new transaction data to the blockchain. For game networks, the algorithm could be based not on computational power, but gameplay and the “work” done by players. This would eliminate the initial entry fee, which would prevent regulators from labelling it gambling.

Even though you can already earn virtual currencies within games, cryptocurrencies that are mined and awarded as a result of gameplay are a unique new solution because traditional virtual currencies in games have no value outside of the game, while cryptocurrencies hold their value everywhere. This is the key, because if the coins players spend in the game to buy loot boxes and other items have real value outside of the game, the developers can accept their own in-game coins as real payment for their items. This solves the problem of traditional entry fees and ultimately eliminates the consumer risk that is arguably the most important of the three elements that define what is gambling and what is not.

From the game publisher’s perspective, this would mean they could continue to offer loot boxes but just have them paid for with cryptocurrency that gamers have mined and earned from their skill in play, instead of with real money.

For example, in Overwatch players are currently unable to spend in-game credits and have to spend real money or wait for a level up to grab a loot box. If the in-game credits were a cryptocurrency generated on a blockchain as a result of player skill, Blizzard could accept the credits as payment (at no cost to the user) and exchange the credits for dollars like any other cryptocurrency. This means the players do not have to spend any of their “real” money while the developer has the same revenue they did before.

As publishers and developers consider the effect that loot box regulation might have on profits, they should consider blockchain technology as a potential solution. Publishers should understand that this innovative new technology could safeguard existing revenue streams and also incentivise gamers to play more.

 

 

Tobias Batton is CEO of Signal Zero. The company behind Loot, the world’s first blockchain protocol that allows gamers to earn and mine tradable tokens as a result of their skill and without entry fees.


Source: European Gaming Media Latest News

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Betting firms have responsibility to tackle esports corruption

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Gambling companies have a responsibility to stamp out corruption in esports, according to one betting industry official.

The reputation of esports has been harmed by scandals including match-fixing, cheating and underage gambling.

Recent examples include CSGO player forsaken being banned after using a hack in an ESL Premiership event and Clash Royale payer Jimit Bhatt being suspended for 12 months for cheating.

Lars Lien, founder and CEO of esports betting operator Luckbox.com, says the legitimate operators in the gambling industry have a duty to help clean up the reputation of esports.

Luckbox is a member of the Esports Integrity Coalition, which works to maintain standards in esports.

Lien said: “Gambling will happen and it’s a matter of making sure that responsible operators work together to stamp out match-fixing and to help prevent it. We have an integral role in eliminating that from our world.

“This is why we’re part of ESIC, where we and other responsible operators share suspicious alerts. So if we see betting patterns that are not consistent with a normal match, we report to ESIC and they will investigate the event in question. They work with tournament organisers, teams, they educate players, they work to stamp it out.”

 

Players need to understand the risks

Luckbox holds an Isle Of Man gambling licence, which offers esports fans the highest levels of security and protection to bet on Dota 2, CSGO and League Of Legends.

Lien said it was also important for esports fans to be aware of the risks when choosing where to bet.

He said: “Recently, there’s a Reddit post that a gaming company stole $500 from them. There might be legitimate reasons for seizing the funds of a customer, because match-fixing is a problem in every sport, including esports.

“That gambling company might have very good reasons for seizing funds but the difference is if that company had a good licence, the customer would be able to go to the Gaming Commission, file a formal complaint and the Gaming Commission would help the customer get the money back if that seizure was unwarranted. There’s legal recourse.

“Operators in jurisdictions such as Curacao, Cyprus, many others. There’s no recourse. I could borrow a Curacao licence if I wanted to.

“Esports has seen the skin-betting scandals where operators have let 12-year-olds play using their parents’ credit cards. Children don’t have the same understanding of gambling risks. Even with adults, you will have problematic behaviour.

“Betting should enhance your experience, it should not be the experience. If someone loses their house, that’s a bad thing, of course.

“This is also part of the distinction between the good guys and the bad guys. We have deposit limits, we have responsible gaming limits, we will make sure our players are over 18 and we will be looking for problematic behaviour, so we can help people not spend more on gambling than they can afford.”

 

Learning from the best

Lien said he was motivated to obtain the Isle of Man licence after working at PokerStars, which is also based on the island. In 2011, the US government banned online poker and PokerStars was able to return funds to players while rival Full Tilt collapsed.

Lien said: “You can either be one of the good guys, that has a proper licence, where all of the player funds are segregated from the funds of the company.

“We have what’s called a ‘client account’, which is similar to what a lawyer would have to keep the funds of their clients, that’s completely legally and physically separated from the funds of the business.

“I worked for PokerStars and the Department of Justice, in the US, decided they wanted to shut down the poker scene. They filed complaints against PokerStars and one of the competitors, Full Tilt. What happened?

“PokerStars, because they had taken licensing seriously from day one – they actively and intentionally got the strictest gambling licence in the world (the Isle of Man) – and as a consequence of that they were forced into having good corporate governance, good structures, good compliance. They were forced into doing things right and Full Tilt did not.

“So when the Department of Justice pulled the rug from under the industry, FullTilt collapsed. Customers couldn’t get their money, everything was black, no one understood how they would get their money back. They didn’t have the money, PokerStars did and paid everyone back in a matter of weeks.”

 Make sure to view the video where, Lars Lien, CEO of Luckbox, discusses the role of betting in the esports industry, and how proper regulation can solve the issues that it raises.

 

About Luckbox

Luckbox was founded by former PokerStars colleagues Lars Lien and Mike Stevens. Luckbox was built by a team combining vast experience in the igaming industry and a passion for esports to offer players unique and highly social platform for CSGO gambling, Dota 2 and League of Legends betting. Real Time Games Holding Limited – the company behind the Luckbox brand – holds a full licence under the Online Gambling Regulation Act (OGRA), issued by the Gaming Supervision Commission. Luckbox is a proud member of ESIC and is committed to supporting responsible gambling.


Source: European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Betting firms have responsibility to tackle esports corruption

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Incentive Games signs renowned Gamification trailblazer Yu-kai Chou to their Advisory team

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Edinburgh-based software developer Incentive Games have announced the addition of internationally renowned Gamification trailblazer Yu-kai Chou to their Advisory team. The company has long followed Yu-Kai’s work and plans to apply his considerable expertise, including his pioneering Octalysis framework, to their products.

Author of “Actionable Gamification” and a regular speaker and lecturer on Gamification and motivation, Chou has worked with the biggest and the best; improving over 1 billion user experiences working with giants like Google, Lego, Tesla, TEDx, Huawei and Turkish Airlines. One of the earliest pioneers in Gamification, Yu-Kai has been named “Gamification Guru of the Year” in 2014, 2015 and 2017 by the World Gamification Conference, a testament to his continued research and contributions to the Gamification space.

Incentive Games develop games specialized to deliver value to the iGaming industry. Whether reinvigorating stale userbases or building them from scratch, Incentive Games acquire, retain and monetize users by delivering high quality, dynamic gaming content set within a casual, social framework to make their clients’ users go further. As Incentive Games continue their expansion through the USA and African markets, Yu-kai’s expertise will be invaluable in sharpening the competitive advantage of IG’s product suite.

“We are thrilled to have Yu-Kai Chou joining the Incentive Games team, his work in gamification and behavioral design is truly best in class, we can’t wait to implement his ideas into our games going forward,” said John Gordon, CEO of Incentive Games, on the announcement.

Formerly ‘Premier Punt Group’, Incentive Games have been moving from strength to strength since completing their B2B rebrand in late 2018. Previously designing industry-specific customer acquisition and retention software, Incentive Games has diversified their offering significantly with general purpose products now applicable to any industry.

Under the guidance of Yu-Kai, Incentive Games look to further hone the user experience across all their products, driving the user acquisition, retention, and monetization value of their games and capturing more competitive market share in 2019 than ever before.

Yu-kai Chou at TEDX Lausanne – speaking about how Gamification to improve our world

 

Incentive Games will be attending iGB Live! 2019 in Amsterdam 16-19 July. If you wish to book a meeting or have a chat at the conference please email dan@incentivegames.com or visit www.incentivegames.com


Source: European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Incentive Games signs renowned Gamification trailblazer Yu-kai Chou to their Advisory team

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Scout Gaming granted betting license

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Scout Gaming Group has been granted a license by Malta Gaming Authority, which enables Scout Gaming to provide betting related services, to operators under the Maltese regulation.

Scout Gaming has been granted permission from Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) to offer its recently developed products to operators licensed under MGA. As a part of the company’s strategy to offer additional sport-related services, a bunch of new games is expected to be launched under the second half of the year.

“Our player pricing is the foundation of additional odds related products, a prerequisite for launching these in Europe has been a license. Hence, I’m happy that we now can initiate the rollout. We already have a couple of current clients showing interest in this and one of the products is now live on the Indian market, comments Scout Gaming’s CEO, Andreas Ternstrom.

For additional information, please contact:
Andreas Ternstrom, CEO, Scout Gaming
Tel: +46 706 770 660
E-mail: andreas.ternstrom@scoutgaminggroup.com

About Scout Gaming Group
Scout Gaming Group is a licensed and regulated provider of B2B Daily Fantasy Sports and pool betting. The company offers a flexible and customizable network based Fantasy Sports solution with support for most sports and leagues through an in-house StatCenter which also provides real-time information to players. Local sports can be provided on request. The Group is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden with development and operations in Bergen, Norway and Lviv, Ukraine. Sales, support and product management is handled from the office in Malta.


Source: European Gaming Media
This is a Syndicated News piece. Photo credits or photo sources can be found on the source article: Scout Gaming granted betting license

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