Video games are without a doubt one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the planet but it has been subject a to a fair share of controversy especially with regards to such issues as loot boxes which are mostly uncharted grounds. A number of authorities have stepped in various capacities to examine the link between gambling and loot boxes and in a decent number of cases, the result has been the removal of these loot boxes from games within given jurisdictions.
Loot boxes assigned, renowned online game store Steam which is owned by Valve, has taken the supposed growing link between gambling and gaming to a whole new level. A Reddit user who goes by TarOfficial on the platform recently noticed x2Roulette, a game that allows Steam’s users to gamble with real money on casino-style roulette and then sell the potential winnings on the Steam marketplace for credit.
To verify this information, we had to check the store page of the games and true to the claims, the game’s trailer lays everything out. X2Roulette allows players to spend real money through in-game purchases of “X2P”, its version of credits. The X2P is then wagered in a simple game of casino-style roulette which results in even more credit or a loss depending on how skilled or how lucky you are. 1000 X2P on the site is worth a “1000 X2P Bundle”, one of Steam’s Inventory items which like all others can be traded with other players for Steam credit through the platform’s marketplace.
All of the things mentioned above are quite reminiscent of gambling but there are way more potential issues that may need to be addressed in the near future. First off, it is arguable that the game represents a form of unregulated gambling. In general, unlike typical casinos which must pay out players’ winnings, x2Roulette does not buy players winnings back from the player. In essence, this allows the developer to enjoy all the benefits of players buying-in without them having to risk the possibility of having to pay out.
Another potential issue with the game is the concern that the game will probably function as an easy avenue for money laundering and credit card fraud. This will happen when stolen funds are spent on X2P bundles which are then immediately sold on Steam’s Marketplace. The Steam credit obtained from the sale of the X2P bundles can then be used to buy gift purchases which can then be sold for real money on some shady websites.
As it stands, the game is yet to be launched probably because there have been potential legal complications that could arise because of that particular issue. Still, if this is going to go through, there are a number of other very important issues that will certainly need to be ironed out.