The microtransactions of Devil Immortal have been the cause of complaints, debate and discussion since the game was announced at Blizzcon 2018. And once again when it launched in mid-2022. But the title’s abusive mechanics free to play have not gone unnoticed by PEGI. In the last few hours, it became known that Activision Blizzard has been fined for not reporting that the game included random paid items —loot boxescome on— when submitting it for classification.
The Complaints and Compliance Committees of the body in charge of classifying video game content in Europe decided to give the American publisher an exemplary punishment… with a ridiculous fine. Is that directed by Bobby Kotick they will have to pay nothing more and nothing less than 5,000 euros. Yes, you read it right. Five thousand euros.
It is more than clear that “exemplary punishment” is nothing more than sarcasm. According to the ruling, by not reporting the presence of loot boxes in Devil Immortal, Activision Blizzard violated PEGI’s code of conduct and has to pay. What is truly curious is that the number is derisoryespecially for a company that generates billions of dollars a year.
But it is not even necessary to go to the extreme of comparing the 5,000 euros in question with the general finances of the American firm. Despite fierce criticism, Devil Immortal it has been a gold mine for its developers. In your first month available, generated nearly $50 million through its microtransactions; of which 11.9 million obtained them during the first week.
This means that, on average, he generated $1.7 million per day during his first 7 days. Any calculation shows that, at most, Devil Immortal required a handful of hours to generate the 5,000 euros that PEGI claims for not reporting the inclusion of loot boxes. And this is a bigger problem than you think.
Activision Blizzard faces a paltry fine for the loot boxes of Devil Immortal
The discussion about the morality of loot boxes that are part of countless video games has existed for years, and exceeds Devil Immortal. Several countries, especially in Europe, have made significant efforts to regulate or banin order to avoid gambling.
At the time, the Netherlands forced companies like EA, Blizzard or 2K to remove them from their games. And he even applied a fine of 10 million euros to Electronic Arts for refusing to remove them from FIFA 21. While Spain intends to veto its use by minors under 18 years of age. However, it is clear that the business remains lucrative enough to continue despite threats and punishment.
In fact, PEGI’s ruling against Activision Blizzard for Devil Immortal may end up being counterproductive in the fight against loot boxes. Perhaps the body does not have sufficient competence to apply a more severe sanction, at least in the face of an infraction of this type. But it is impossible not to think that as long as there is no true heavy hand for discourage abusive practices with microtransactionsThere will be no solution to this problem.
In the case of Devil ImmortalThe possibility of applying an exemplary reprimand could even be being missed. The Blizzard and NetEase game has been severely criticized for pushing its players to spend exorbitantly to enjoy a full experience. Something that has been seen especially from level 30, when the progression of the character is not consistent with the difficulty of the game and forces you to pay for loot boxes —the Elder Rifts— to get the necessary legendary gems.
Thus, it has been studied that in order to maximize a character of Devil Immortal you should spend around $540,000. A real madness, especially for a “free” game.