Loot Box: A form of GAMBLING?

Journalism

Video games have been an industry for decades now, entertaining individuals with their robust stories and competitive multiplayer modes. Everything seemed quite well, with the occasional scare which is to be expected in any industry, however recently a new design has entered the video game world.

Loot boxes.

Loot boxes are digital goods that once obtained, allow a random selection of goods to be obtained. Picture it as a mystery box from Call of Duty: Zombies. The object obtained from within may either be of high quality or not desirable. You do not have a choice of what you get. The system has now entered newer video games such as Overwatch, Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Middle Earth: Shadow of War. This is concerning.

Individuals have expressed their concern for it, claiming it is like online “gambling“. Lootboxes can either be obtained through in-game progression at a slower rate or purchased using real-world currency.

The latest Star Wars Battlefront 2 in which I played the beta, has progression limited to the use of loot boxes. This means that in order to get better weapons and abilities for your “soldier” to use, you must earn experience and crafting resources. Star cards (or abilities) and weapons are earned through the loot box (loot crate as its called in Battlefront 2) system.

The main way to achieve star cards is through in-game progression, login bonuses as well as “microtransactions”( the purchase of in-game goods using real-world currency). This is troubling because through progressing as well as purchasing of loot boxes, you may still not even obtain the items you wish due to it being a random selection.

 

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot box system. As seen above, to purchase more loot crates you need resource points which can be earned via playing or purchasing with real-world currency. Source

 

To read further about Star Wars Battlefront 2, click here.

This is getting even more concerning as the latest Call of Duty WW2, is using a WHOLE system dedicated to the use of microtransactions. Pretty Good Gaming, a YouTube channels covers this story. “For example, in one implementation, the system may include a microtransaction engine that arranges matches to influence game-related purchases”.

Microtransactions and loot boxes are becoming so concerning that a petition was created in the UK to try and make gambling laws focused on video games as well. In the UK, if an online petition accumulates more than 10000 votes it must be investigated by the government.

The petition is here. However, only UK citizens can vote.

PC Gamers covers the story here.

The video game industry is changing rapidly and the direction it is travelling is not for everyone and thus, many individuals are becoming vocal about their concern.

Now I will leave you with a few questions. Do you believe loot boxes to be a form of gambling? Also, do you believe microtransactions should be welcomed into more video games? Why? Why not?

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How YOU can become a BLOGGER

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A blog is a fantastic way for individuals to express themselves and communicate with others. There are infinite topics a blogger can write about which is why it is so popular. Blogging is popular due to it being easy to get into and also because it allows large amounts of individuals to communicate with one another and share their content and ideas.

However, to get your name out to the wider public and construct a blog that is both different and appealing as well as providing quality content, there are a few tips that you can follow. These tips are:

1)Choose your niche 

Writing about many topics on your blog may seem appealing but to draw an audience, the audience must know what they will see every time they go onto your blog. The only way to achieve this is to write about one topic (eg fashion, beauty). On my blog, I mainly write about the media and my various opinions towards topics affecting society.

The easiest way to create an audience for your blog is to choose a niche and stick to it. Writing about many topics just won’t do it, sadly. Your blog would become oversaturated and would fail to do one great job and rather be subject to many mediocre pieces. Try not to do this.

2) Select a blogging platform

Choose the platform in which you will write on. I personally use WordPress as I find it incredibly easy to use and has a large array of plugins and other features to choose from. If you choose WordPress you have to choose between WordPress.com (Easier to use but less control) and WordPress.org (Self-hosted). There are other blogging platforms to choose from such as Blogger and Tumblr as well, which all have their own positives and negatives.

Research the different platforms and select one that best resonates with you. I, however, would recommend WordPress.com for your first blog due to its simplicity and ease of use.

3) Blog Design

A blog requires a design and template that is appealing as well as functional. Look through all the available templates and compare each until you find one that is suitable to your content. Some templates are more suited to journalistic styled blogs while others are more suited to photography blogs. Choose carefully but do not worry, choosing a template at a later date is easy and can be done at any time.

Do not use too many widgets and plugins also as this will make your blog look amateurish and may also increase the loading time of your blog!

I am currently using the “Lovecraft” theme and I find it does a great job for my blog layout.

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Just a few of the templates that you can find on WordPress.com. My current template is shown above.

4) Write quality content

Each post you write, make sure it is of great quality. It is the first impression readers will get when they enter your blog and can either make or break whether you’re successful. Your content must be engaging and provide thoughtful and succinct information that resonates with your audience. As you have now chosen a niche, make sure each and every single one of your posts relate to your niche. By doing so your audience will anticipate each post you write.

Make sure that each post is also edited perfectly. This means making sure that there are no spelling errors or problems with the improper use of grammar. However I understand that we all are human and have strengths and weaknesses, and some of our weaknesses may be writing. To combat this I would use a real-time editing software such as Grammarly to help.

5) Share your content!

Whenever you have completed a post, be sure to share your content with your various social media platforms. This ensures that all your followers and friends are able to view your content as soon as it is published. Make sure to include a featured picture as well as a personalised message as it’ll give the potential reader an insight into what the post will be about.

There are various widgets and plugins that make it more than easy to share your content on your blog as well as display your various social media accounts on your blog too, allowing readers to view your other content as well.

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When you are finished writing a post, in the sharing menu to the right of the post there is a selection of social media services you can connect to.

6) Communicate with other bloggers!

This is incredibly important and is a definite way to help your blog grow an audience as well as make potential new friends in the blogging scene. If on WordPress enter the “Reader” to view other bloggers content. If you like other peoples content, leave a like and a thoughtful comment. By doing so it shows the blogger that you like their comment and who knows, it may even land you a new follower?

In my experience bloggers on the most part are incredibly nice and are almost always willing to communicate and share ideas. Guest posts are another way to share your content and make new friends as well. I have done guest posting and the individuals I have met are inspiring and good-hearted. Never be afraid to put yourself out there and share your thoughts.

 

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The WordPress reader that allows you to view other bloggers posts through the “search” option and “followed sites” option. A selection of the “best” content of the day is also available in the “Discovery” option.

 

By following these tips, you should be on the way to successfully starting a blog that is unique and provides great quality content. Remember, results will not come instantly but through using these tips and the continuation of writing, you shall be growing an audience in no time.

Good luck!

The Power of The Voice

Journalism

The necessity of the media is ever present, if not now more than ever. As Sherina Harris, a fellow blogger stated on my post “Journalism: A Slow Death” “In many ways, there is a declining trust in the fourth estate, but in other ways, people are depending on journalists now more than ever to hold the government accountable for its actions”.

Sherina also states, “It’s just that while in the past we saw journalism as being newspapers tossed on the front porch of every house, now we are seeing it in innovative infographics and videos. The field is changing, which, in my opinion, is a great thing.”

I truly agree that yes there is a decline in the trust in which a large number of individuals have towards journalism and the media, but the media will always be important. The news is prevalent and can occur anywhere at anytime. Information must be relayed to the masses as it is paramount to the stable functioning of our society. Without the relay of events to the masses, an information dark age would arise.

According to Oxford Dictionaries, “News” is “Newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent events”.

Without the media and its now digitial existence, we wouldn’t be able to get quick and often live coverage of events that are important. An example of this is the California fires which are devastating the countryside currently, forcing many to evacuate their homes; putting many at risk. Without live coverage of this event, we wouldn’t be kept up to date which can be anxiety-inducing, especially if one’s family is currently there.

The media is important.

The way the media is presenting information to the masses is changing rapidly also. However, it is not all as bad as some people express. Digital distribution means faster retrieval of information from media platforms as well as the ability to communicate with a large array of individuals more quickly.

I expressed here a debate individuals have in regards to digital vs physical publishing and although it is directed towards the publishing of novels, the information is still relatable to the topic of this post.

There will always be conflict in regards to publishing, especially when in relation to the media. This is because the media is incredibly important and holds a vast impact on most individuals. However, times are changing and it isn’t all terrible. The rise of the individual speaker is approaching, allowing many voices to be heard due to the use of social media and the increasing impact that free speech can have.

The media and more importantly, those that use the media to raise their concerns, are becoming more powerful. This is especially affiliated to politics and when individuals in power use their abilities in a wrong manner, awareness can be brought to these misdeeds and action can be directed towards the wrongdoer.

Journalism is changing and although worrying, it brings forth the chance for all journalists as well as individuals with the ability to voice their opinion, to hold wrongdoers accountable for their action.

Change can be scary but in this scenario, I think it can be exciting.

To read more of my opinions towards the media and its happenings, click here.

If you enjoy my content, please “like” and “follow” (to the right in the sidebar) as it alerts me that you like my content and allows me to better understand the content on which is desired by my audience.