Over the course of the last decade, the gaming world has continued its flirtation with gambling, but with the caveats of clarity. As online sportsbook sites in the UK like Bet365 have risen to popular games have needed to be careful. Gambling odds in computer games make an ever more aware population nervous. When just part of a game, self-contained as in Fallout New Vegas, it’s fine. However, as the lines between games and reality blurred, things went awry.
Fallout had always had some gambling in it. The skillset was no one’s predominant investment, but it did exist. However, in 2010 Fallout New Vegas placed it front and center. In an apocalyptic world where bottle caps are currency and irradiated animals stalk the landscape, Vegas survived. It created a pinnacle of experience so woven into the story that it almost killed the trope dead. The biggest loss from a nuked Nevada with a cola fixation were gambling odds in computer games.
This isn’t to say there weren’t a few other forays into the arena. Far Cry 3 included villagers playing cards with which you could play, although to little purpose. Providing some texture to the already impressive scenery, it was fun, but money was rarely an issue in the game. Getting rich in New Vegas was the point, in Far Cry it was just another mini-game. Not so different from logging into online betting sites in the UK today like Bet365 and trying their poker or blackjack offerings.
Pearl Clutchers Highlight Bet365 Territory
These headliners aside, the gaming industry was learning that putting gambling odds in computer games was a bit dicey. The rise of social media meant outrage was always available on Mumsnet. The corporate interests that run triple-A title releases began to shy away from anything with even a whiff of controversy. This led first to fans adding in gambling on their own via mods and then to the biggest controversy in years. It went from a beggar’s brawl to an obvious dirtball fast.
NPC Guard – Skyrim
“I used to be an adventurer like you. Then I took an arrow in the knee.”
Beggar’s Brawl Arena was a gambling mod, modification, to the hugely popular release Skyrim. With cage fighting. This was, frankly, an entirely apt addition to a game of this genre. Anyone fighting dragons all day isn’t going to shy away from gaming at night. However, it was not these gambling odds in computer games that caused the industry it’s the biggest headache. No, that was because they allowed people too young to bet on sports in the UK to gamble anyway.
Gambling Odds In Computer Games Stray Into Real Life
The internet and multiplayer games had always been a bit of an issue. But when Warcraft items could be sold between characters for real-world money, that’s when things got a little ropey. Micro-payments, or pay-to-win, schemes corporate types dreamed up as revenue streams were at fault. Constant paying in was good for profits but introduced gambling odds in computer games that shouldn’t have had them. The problem, and it still exists to some degree, was loot boxes.
Benny – Fallout New Vegas
“The game was rigged from the start.”
Play a game, find a box, look inside, get something either good, bad, or mediocre. This has been at the core of so many games. Then some bright spark thought people might buy extra boxes. Didn’t occur to them this was obviously dumping gambling odds in computer games for kids. The internet noticed, of course, and promptly exploded in outrage. Subverting US, European, and UK gambling laws? Oops. Suddenly we all knew where we stood. Games had to be games, and gambling had to be gambling.
We take a look at how gambling odds in computer games have gone from triple-A titles to the headlines of the tabloid press.