D3 Gambling Confirmed

Posted by Daeity On Sunday, September 25, 2011

Well well well..

So, the opinion that the Diablo 3 RMAH would be illegal was not received well by many. Everyone is claiming that it's perfectly legitimate and it's no where near the definition of gambling. Many forum users are even calling the notion ridiculous, paranoid, and even retarded.

Apparently, the country of South Korea disagrees with you.

In fact, Michael Morhaime, Robert Bridenbecker, and Blizzard Korea Sr. Mgmt had to meet with the Game Ratings Board this past Thursday to defend the use of their in-game auction house which is being called gambling. A similar in-game auction house system within the game "Emperor Online" was also rejected for its similar item trading, which was also considered gambling.

Without a rating, the game cannot be sold in SK. For now, though, Morhaime has called it "premature" to speculate on the outcome.

South Korea practically invented RMT and microtransactions, and their population makes up a huge stake of Blizzard gamers. So, if they believe something has gone too far (e.g. virtual gambling), then it probably has.

Here's a very interesting section from the news article:

The country’s attitude toward gaming involving cash transactions has irked Blizzard’s local staff who are reluctant to deal with the controversy expected with the introduction of the auction house but are forced by headquarters to launch the feature, an industry source familiar with the matter said.

Before the as-yet-undecided date of the official launch of Diablo III, the U.S. games subsidiary of Vivendi invited journalists Thursday to rebut the accusation that its auction house feature is a virtual casino.

“We’ve heard speculation comparing item trading...to some form of gambling, but in gambling you’re putting something at risk to win,” said Morhaime.

“Items” are won by individual players during the game when they complete a mission. Critics say they come through a randomized selection process, which is based on uncertainty like a card game, but Blizzard says it is a product of the player’s efforts.

“(In Diablo III), you’re not risking anything. You’re just investing your time (to win items to sell). It is an important distinction.”
* Apparently, either Blizzard is being forced by Activision to move ahead with the real money auction house system, or they mean Blizzard Korea is being forced by Blizzard US. It's possible that the Blizzard Korea office is trying to avoid using the RMAH in Korea due to its gambling nature and related laws, but HQ is forcing them to implement it regardless.

* Morhaime stated that in D3, "you're not risking anything". However, when you're trying to sell items on the Auction House to make money, you ARE risking your own money. If you don't sell the item, or someone undercuts you, you lose your Listing Fee for each of your auction posts.

* Robert Bridenbecker also mentioned that there are 3 tiers of money: in-game gold, cash, and the a Blizzard proprietary unit called "battle coins". Battle Coins is a term used by many other online games, so this might be in reference to the Battle.net credit system.

* And, just remember, when Bashiok was first asked about illegal gambling in D3, he claimed that their lawyers had already worked it out, but there was a caveat. His forum post went something like this, "our lawyers worked hard on this, it's sound from a legal perspective, don't worry.. BUT, if any local or country-specific laws do become an issue we'll of course be sure to let people in those regions know." Meaning, they're not really sure and they won't allow it in certain regions if they do find out it's illegal. (You can pretty much ignore anything someone says before the "but".)

And this is just the beginning.. wait until it's released and it starts getting questioned in other countries and even certain US states.