Loot Boxes in Videogames: Gambling by Any Other Name?

Jeffrey N. Rosenthal and Ethan M. Simon

To quote classicist author Edith Hamilton from her book The Roman Way to Western Civilization, “The comedy of each age holds up a mirror to the people of that age, a mirror that is unique.”  Nowhere is that statement truer than when discussing the comedic genius of the hit animated television series South Park, now approaching its twenty-second season.

In its 2006 Primetime Emmy Award-winning episode “Make Love, Not Warcraft,” South Park delved into video gamers’ obsession with the wildly-popular PC game World of Warcraft.  One of the show’s plotlines focused on a player whose in-game character had become so powerful the game’s developer had to devise a way to stop him.  The developer’s solution: give another player the legendary “Sword of a Thousand Truths,” a unique item that might even the odds.

Eight years later, South Park lambasted so-called “freemium” games in its Primetime Emmy Award-nominated episode “Freemium Isn’t Free.”  This episode, too, took a hard look at gaming culture, paying particular attention to “freemium games”—in which players can play a videogame for free, but to obtain certain desirable upgrades or items they must pay real-world money.  In this episode, an eight-year-old character spent thousands of dollars on freemium upgrades, much to his father’s chagrin.

Not surprisingly, South Park’s observations about videogame culture were right: gamers will place a premium on certain virtual items, and are eager to spend big money to get them.

To read the full article, please click here.

“Loot Boxes in Videogames: Gambling by Any Other Name?” by Jeffrey N. Rosenthal and Ethan M. Simon was published in The Legal Intelligencer on April 24, 2018.

WEBINAR | Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Litigation Concerns: Class Actions, Criminal Exposure, and Criminal Tax Implications

Wednesday, April 11

1:00–2:00 p.m. (EDT)

Online via WebEx

Click here to register

 

 

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are not only dominating the headlines, they’re changing the way companies do business. As the regulatory, transactional, and litigation landscapes continue to evolve at a rapid pace, Blank Rome’s attorneys have maintained cutting-edge knowledge of the issues facing a broad range of businesses in a wide range of areas.

On Wednesday April 11, 2018, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. (EDT), Blank Rome Partners Michelle Gitlitz, Carlos Ortiz, Ana Tagvoryan, and Shawn Wright will present a live webinar that will cover some of the most important issues facing companies today, including:

  • Blockchain basics—what you need to know
  • White collar issues surrounding the adoption of blockchain applications or the use of digital currencies, including SEC, CFTC, state enforcement efforts, and criminal tax implications
  • Class action vulnerabilities and implications

Please contact Marianne Talbot for more information about this event.

New Jersey Supreme Court Grants Absolute Immunity to City of Paterson under Tort Claims Act

A Blank Rome appellate team successfully represented the City of Paterson in Hamrick Lee v. Brown, et al., recently obtaining complete relief from seven consolidated wrongful death and personal injury suits, in a New Jersey Supreme Court decision that will have significant implications for NJ taxpayers and the public interest. Continue reading “New Jersey Supreme Court Grants Absolute Immunity to City of Paterson under Tort Claims Act”

Marketing for the Legal Professional and Law Firm Advertising

Blank Rome Partner Jonathan Korn will present at the upcoming Camden County Bar Association CLE, “Marketing for the Legal Professional and Law Firm Advertising,” which will be held on Thursday, February 15, 2018, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., at the Tavistock Country Club in Haddonfield, New Jersey.  Continue reading “Marketing for the Legal Professional and Law Firm Advertising”

A Lesson from the Third Circuit on Arbitration Clauses: Say What You Mean

Stephen M. Orlofsky and Deborah Greenspan

A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reminds us that when we want an arbitration clause to apply in certain situations or to certain parties, we have to build that intention into the plain terms of the contract.  In White v. Sunoco, Inc., — F.3d —, No. 16-2808, 2017 WL 3864616 (3d Cir. Dec. 5, 2017), Sunoco promoted the “Sunoco Awards Program,” under which customers who used a Citibank-issued “Sunoco Rewards Card” credit card were supposed to receive a 5-cent per gallon discount on gasoline purchased at Sunoco gas stations. The promotional materials included a document entitled “Terms and Conditions of Offer,” which indicated that Citibank issued the Sunoco Rewards Card and applicants had to meet Citibank’s creditworthiness criteria to obtain the credit card. Continue reading “A Lesson from the Third Circuit on Arbitration Clauses: Say What You Mean”

Successful Federal Court Practice

Blank Rome Partner David C. Kistler will be a panelist at the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s “Successful Federal Court Practice” program on Wednesday, October 11, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EDT, at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, NJ. Continue reading “Successful Federal Court Practice”

Accused of Accepting Lavish Trips and Gifts, Sen. Menendez Goes on Trial

New Jersey’s senior senator, Bob Menendez, is facing a dozen counts of bribery, conspiracy, and fraud charges in a corruption probe involving one of his close friends. The Democrat’s trial begins Wednesday in federal court.

Prosecutors at the Justice Department accuse Menendez of accepting lavish gifts in exchange for using his political influence to help friend and Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen. Continue reading “Accused of Accepting Lavish Trips and Gifts, Sen. Menendez Goes on Trial”