There is a lot of discourse currently ongoing over whether certain mechanics like lootboxes and randomized microtransactions count as gambling. (For the record, we think they are.)
Critics like Jim Sterling have spent hours upon hours making their case for why they think these mechanics are, in fact gambling, and in response the video game industry has responded with a weak “…nuh-uh!”
Related: Check out this episode of the Jimquisition on the cost of these monetization mechanics.
Well, if you can believe it, Rockstar Games, publisher of the Grand Theft Auto series including the massively popular MMO, GTA Online, has one-upped everyone in the conversation.
GTA Online players can now visit a real in-game casino as part of the new Diamond Casino and Resort DLC. This won’t go poorly at all!
It might seem like a casino where you can spend your actual, finite paycheck (on GTA$ and Chips) would be a no-brainer in a game where you can kill literally anyone you see, but it complicates an already quite complicated conversation regarding developer and publisher business practices, lootboxes, and whether trying to entice gambling is a legitimate practice to employ against players.
For what it’s worth, we think it might be a good idea, if you’re someone with an addictive personality who plays GTA Online, to take a break away from the streets of Los Santos for a while.