Fans accused popular Twitch streamer Asmongold of promoting gambling, claiming that his streams of Raiders of the Lost Ark and other “pay-to-win” games harmed the community and indirectly linked the streamer to endorsing such products.
Asmongold, who never shies away from adversity, politely objected to the accusations leveled against him. He argued that entertainers should be exempt from such ties because they only want to provide their audiences with games that they would want to play themselves.
The streamers went on to say that the morality he was taught was inappropriate because viewers should not look to streamers to validate or set their moral beliefs.
To the delight of fans, Asmongold stated flatly that he was not and would not be promoting any gambling products. Fans have accused Asmon of being a facilitator of gambling products by playing games like Raiders of the Lost Ark and others with a “pay-to-win” element.
The streamer argued that anyone who believed this was a legitimate issue should try to enact policies or rally political support because it would ultimately be up to the government to suspend “gambling-like elements.”
Even contentious issues like loot boxes, which were once thought to be gambling, have gained traction in the courts. The State Council of the Netherlands, Raad van State, recently ruled in favor of EA in a case against the Dutch gambling regulator. Asmongold’s advice is well-placed in light of this.
The decision on whether a form of gaming is gambling should be left to policymakers, and it would almost certainly come as a result of direct voter pressure. A previous lawsuit against Apple over loot boxes was dismissed, and the plaintiffs were advised to seek and exert pressure on lawmakers if they wanted such elements in video games to be clearly and unambiguously labeled as a form of gambling.
Lost Ark may have flaws in certain aspects of the game, but such games would not be possible in the first place if all governments – or those directly overseeing the development of pay-to-win gaming elements – reached an agreement on them.
Although China has explicitly prohibited the use of certain gaming elements, governments across the western world are debating the use of loot boxes and pay-to-win elements. The United Kingdom is the most recent country to investigate loot boxes and pay-to-win games. With the Gambling Act Review 2005, possible regulatory changes are expected.
Meanwhile, Asmongold is correct in saying that Lost Ark and other games with a thriving and impactful in-game economy involving real money should be taken with a grain of salt and their implications should not be exaggerated.