The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been running its loot box workshop this week, inviting a number of community figures, marketers, and publishers to come and chat about the implementation of loot boxes in video games.
The first panel featured Omeed Dariani, CEO of Online Performers Group (OPG), a firm which manages various YouTube and Twitch celebrities, including popular YouTuber Angry Joe.
Dariani had some truly eye-opening statements to share on loot boxes. He was asked by the FTC: “Based on your expertise, do video games publishers pay these content creators to open loot boxes? Do they pay for the loot boxes? And, if so, do they at times give them better odds than the public at large? And how much of that is disclosed?”
It’s wide yet precise questioning and Dariani responded with “Companies do pay for that sort of thing. It’s pretty uncommon for it to specifically be, ‘Hey, just open a bunch of loot boxes.’ But, we’ve definitely seen that.”
Going one step further though, he addresses the specifics of skewing the odds in favour of streamers. “I’ve definitely been in a room where a publisher said, ‘We could do better odds on the packs that this person opens for promotional purposes.’” Dariani said. “That’s only been one time.”
That right there is an actual disgrace. Deliberately adjusting the odds, or predetermining what comes out of a loot box, in order to trick viewers they’ll get better value. It’s disgusting it’s being offered and we’d certainly hope a YouTuber would turn down such an offer. Such a deal would be flat-out illegal for starters, provided viewers weren’t informed the odds are being skewed. If they aren’t informed this would be deeply deceptive.
None of it should be surprising, of course, particularly for anyone who’s cast more than a cursory glance over most YouTubers and Twitch streamers engaged with commercial partnerships. A lot of the time they’re just flat out advertising and it means it becomes difficult to take anything they say at face value. Who wants to hear a bloke paid to say a game is great, say a game is great?
Anyway, we’d love to know what you think of these revelations. Do you think many game streamers out there are receiving fixed odd loot boxes? How do you know who to trust? Let us know below!