Pachter: Loot Boxes Exist Because Consumers Are Stupid; Hawaii Legislators Are Morons
Michael Pachter, perhaps the most outspoken and well-known analyst in the games industry, appeared in a 'fireside chat' at a recent event held by the Video Game Bar Association in Los Angeles. GamesBeat posted the lengthy transcript yesterday and this time, Pachter talked about everything from eSports and VR (which he considers overhyped, at least for the time being) to loot boxes. On this latter topic, he provided a very blunt explanation for the very existence of loot boxes in the first place.
Why are there loot boxes? Because consumers are stupid and they’ll spend thousands of dollars trying to get that hard-to-get thing. If you put it up for sale for $500 they won’t buy it. I mean, I actually think the Chinese solution – posting the odds of getting each item – is the right way to do it. This thing has a 1-in-250 chance in the loot box, or you can buy it for $250. Then people realize, I have to buy 250 loot boxes for $600 to get it? Then they’ll just buy it.
The Wedbush Securities analyst then didn't spare any words against the Hawaii legislators led by Chris Lee, who spoke against loot boxes and tried to pass a few bills (which all failed so far).
In the U.S., there’s very low probability anybody passes legislation to regulate loot boxes. The guys in Hawaii are just fucking morons. They’re morons. They should not only resign, but they should kill themselves. They’re so idiotic. Seriously. They’re such morons. One of the two idiot legislators said—I forget the studio. But they said something like, “EA shut down my favorite studio in 2005 and I’ve hated them ever since.” He said that on the record. We’re going to legislate against loot boxes? What an asshole.
By the way, their solution was, loot boxes are gambling. Gambling is illegal under Hawaii law. Therefore you can’t buy a loot box until you’re 21. Does that mean you can gamble when you’re 21 in Hawaii as well? There’s no chance that law is upheld. They’re not going to get it passed, because somebody in that legislature actually went to law school. Somebody in their staff is going to look at that Hawaii law. They’re idiots. I don’t think any of that stuff happens.
Pachter's stance aligns with that of ESA President Mike Gallagher, who talked about the Dutch and Belgian governments' decisions to rule loot boxes as gambling as overreactions. It does seem like the United States and Europe are going to handle this sensitive topic very differently, at least for now.