Nintendo sued over their Spotlight Pipes

Content Team 1 year ago
Nintendo sued over their Spotlight Pipes

Multinational video game company Nintendo has been served with a lawsuit regarding their loot box features on their offering: Mario Kart Tour, being described as “immoral”.

This is certainly not the first time loot boxes have made the headlines, however it is a surprising first for the Japanese video game developer. Their use of what has been described by fellow video game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) as surprise mechanics applied to Nintendo’s own loot boxes, have been accused of being implemented immorally.

Specifically the “Spotlight Pipes” from their “Mario Kart Tour” have been highlighted as they allow players to pay for the mere opportunity of receiving a character, kart parts along with a variety of other in-game items.

Nintendo suited over their loot boxes. The plaintiff is a user who has spent over $170 on multiple microtransactions including the Spotlight Pipes where the complaint stems from. Most notably paying on their parent’s credit card without the holder’s knowledge or consent.

Regardless of the players financial misgivings however, the claim at hand is accusing Nintendo of intentionally guiding players with some heavy persuasion to use the surprise mechanics to actually progress in the game. This practice is known to video game developers as a “dark pattern” and is in fact illegal in certain US states.

This is another case brought to light regarding the loot box practice within video game publications, with EA receiving multiple international lawsuits pertaining to their own loot box practices which have been disparagingly described as “deceptive”. There has been a claim that these microtransactions constitute a legitimate call for these video games to be labelled as gambling.

The true issue lies in the fact that when players purchase these boxes, they cannot be certain they receive the same value every time, while excitement is garnered by this lack of certainty it is an unfair provision of services and assets. There is no way of knowing how likely any outcome is as the video game providers are not obliged and will not voluntarily release their algorithms’ probability statistics.

This lawsuit is demanding that all minors in the United States who have paid for Spotlight Pipes on the Mario Kart title be refunded their purchases. Nintendo have not responded to this but nonetheless, action will most likely be taken and steadfastly secured in terms of internal alterations that will be implemented, doing away with the elements of chance.

An in-game store has replaced these surprise mechanics loot boxes on the Mario Kart Tour title, meaning that all the items can be purchased separately with no surprises. Following suit several other video game developers who despite winning certain landmark victories most notably on the part of EA, are showing a preference away from to items such as battle passes or the purchase of items that have a cometic benefit as opposed to proving an in-game advantage.

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