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Apple Now Requires Game Developers to disclose odds on "Loot Boxes" [MERGED THREADS]

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    CoatHang3rCoatHang3r Posts: 4,965 ★★★★★
    edited January 2018
    @DNA3000 well said. I am confused as to how people think that they have found some brilliant loophole. It is Apple's sandbox and they will kick you out if they want to. I expect that we will see a complete revamping of the crystal process.
    For 2 gifting seasons MCOC has run a gifiting event using in game currencies. For 3 years Apple’s guidelines have expressly prohibited the gifting of IAP’s/purchases. People do not think they found a loophole, Apple has shown they do not consider in game currency to fall under purchases in realtion to the guidelines.


    *Given that, it appears people think they found a loophole in the guidlines that makes everything in game IAPs and therefore subject to apple’s guidelines in relation to purchases. Arm chair lawyers SMH. BTW i cant help but read DNA’s post in the voice of the Comic Book Guy and the indignation is hilarious.
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    SnizzbarSnizzbar Posts: 2,150 ★★★★★
    CoatHang3r wrote: »
    BTW i cant help but read DNA’s post in the voice of the Comic Book Guy and the indignation is hilarious.

    Yes yes yes me too. Another one I like to use is Professor Frink for everyone's favourite over-poster.
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    DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 18,848 Guardian
    CoatHang3r wrote: »
    @DNA3000 well said. I am confused as to how people think that they have found some brilliant loophole. It is Apple's sandbox and they will kick you out if they want to. I expect that we will see a complete revamping of the crystal process.
    For 2 gifting seasons MCOC has run a gifiting event using in game currencies. For 3 years Apple’s guidelines have expressly prohibited the gifting of IAP’s/purchases. People do not think they found a loophole, Apple has shown they do not consider in game currency to fall under purchases in realtion to the guidelines.


    *Given that, it appears people think they found a loophole in the guidlines that makes everything in game IAPs and therefore subject to apple’s guidelines in relation to purchases. Arm chair lawyers SMH. BTW i cant help but read DNA’s post in the voice of the Comic Book Guy and the indignation is hilarious.

    Pretty much everything you said here is wrong, except for the part about Comic Book Guy. I have no idea what anything sounds like in your head.

    The no-gifting clause in the app store guidelines was only added in June 2016 when they completely refactored the entire document into the format it roughly exists in now. Prior to that there was no mention of gifting.

    The gifting clause has nothing to do with intermediate currencies. The clause was put in place to prevent circumvention of the in-app purchase mechanism. Its actually there to prevent developers from allowing the users of their apps to buy content outside of the app store purchase mechanism. You cannot do something like "donate to my Patreon page and I will unlock this feature for you that normally costs five bucks in the app." User to user gifting is also banned, but mostly a side effect of the problem in most cases.

    Directly gifting an in-app purchase item in a way that bypasses the in-app purchase requirement has always been a rejectable offense, simply by virtue of the fact that Apple always rejects apps that attempt to bypass the in-app purchase mechanism. But the guidelines governing that have changed over time as developers have tried to figure out ways around that requirement. However, as I've said elsewhere, in the past Apple has rejected the apps first, and then if enough of them make it to the top of the rejected app list (Apple publishes the most common rejection reasons on their developer pages) they address that in the guidelines. The gifting clause wasn't something Apple suddenly thought about in 2016. They always rejected apps that attempted to circumvent in-app purchase. It just became a significant enough thing for them to directly mention it in the refactored guidelines.

    Apple does consider in-game intermediate currencies to be "purchases" because they indirectly define them as such. The first guideline for payments states: "In-App Purchase: If you want to unlock features or functionality within your app, (by way of example: subscriptions, in-game currencies, game levels, access to premium content, or unlocking a full version), you must use in-app purchase." That statement taken by itself would seem to preclude the use of anything else to buy anything else. But that statement cannot bar the use of in game currencies, because two sentences later they address currencies: "Any credits or in-game currencies purchased via IAP must be consumed within the app and may not expire, and you should make sure you have a restore mechanism for any restorable in-app purchases." These two statements taken together clearly state Apple's intent: all purchases have to use the in-app mechanism, but the exception is when in-app purchase is used to buy an intermediate currency that is then used to purchase the item. That's still considered a valid purchase according to Apple. Anyone who interprets the guidelines as saying buying things with units are not really a "purchase" is then saying that it is completely illegal to do that at all, since that would be "unlock features or functionality within your app" without using the in-app purchase system. Apple considers buying units with cash using IAP and then spending those units within the game to be a valid purchase that indirectly but ultimately involves the IAP system.
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    I was thinking about how there was no update this month.
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    CoatHang3rCoatHang3r Posts: 4,965 ★★★★★
    Arm chair lawyered again. For two seasons apple has allowed gifting and forbid gifting of IAP content, Apple allows gifitng inside MCOC. Ergo facto ipso calypto IAP =\= in game currency.

    3.1.1 In-App Purchase:
    If you want to unlock features or functionality within your app, (by way of example: subscriptions, in-game currencies, game levels, access to premium content, or unlocking a full version), you must use in-app purchase. Apps may use in-app purchase currencies to enable customers to “tip” digital content providers in the app. Apps and their metadata may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase.

    Any credits or in-game currencies purchased via in-app purchase may not expire, and you should make sure you have a restore mechanism for any restorable in-app purchases.
    Remember to assign the correct purchasability type or your app will be rejected.

    Apps should not directly or indirectly enable gifting of in-app purchase content, features, or consumable items to others.

    Apps distributed via the Mac App Store may host plug-ins or extensions that are enabled with mechanisms other than the App Store.

    Apps offering “loot boxes” or other mechanisms that provide randomized virtual items for purchase must disclose the odds of receiving each type of item to customers prior to purchase.
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    BinawayawhileBinawayawhile Posts: 287
    Are the changes to the 5* feature crystal a result of the "Apple loot box disclosure" rule?
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    GroundedWisdomGroundedWisdom Posts: 36,310 ★★★★★
    Are the changes to the 5* feature crystal a result of the "Apple loot box disclosure" rule?

    No. They've answered this. Those changes have been in the works for some time.
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    WOKWOK Posts: 468 ★★

    All I can surely say is, what has happened has happened, and what will happen also will happen.
    And quite frankly, what is the need to NOT disclose the drop rates of MCOC or any other app for that matter and for the playerbase to argue against it, especially if the drop rates are determined by RNG process? Its not as if such information divulges any proprietary info that needs to be protected to circumvent competitors from "stealing" their ideas nor would it give any players some unfair advantage over others. Would it? I couldn't come up with any logical scenario that it would.

    A number of Kabam reps have reiterated the fact that they support transparency in all of their in game changes and goings on, so I really can't understand why and or if this is really as big an issue as it seems to be snowballing into being.
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    unknownunknown Posts: 378
    WOK wrote: »
    I mean how can you even argue @GroundedWisdom .

    Apple have come up with a rule, and your telling apple they are wrong...

    Why? Just why? They will have people working there who know what they're talking about.

    How can you argue with that?

    I'm not intimidated by any major corporation, and I can have an opinion on any action taken by a company. I do not approve. There are many things Apple does that I do not approve of.

    I hope this doesn't derail the thread, but I can't help myself.

    @GroundedWisdom, I'd like to ask what ideology encompasses your previous support of Kabams TOS is their right to amend and enforce as they will and in criticizing Apple Inc. of amending and enforcing theirs?

    I'm not getting into my views on Apple. I've already expressed I do not support them. Further to that, if it were Android, I would still have the same view on the subject.

    Chalk this one up to a word called "hypocrite"
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    ZappZapp Posts: 69
    WOK wrote: »
    All I can surely say is, what has happened has happened, and what will happen also will happen.
    And quite frankly, what is the need to NOT disclose the drop rates of MCOC or any other app for that matter and for the playerbase to argue against it, especially if the drop rates are determined by RNG process? Its not as if such information divulges any proprietary info that needs to be protected to circumvent competitors from "stealing" their ideas nor would it give any players some unfair advantage over others. Would it? I couldn't come up with any logical scenario that it would.

    A number of Kabam reps have reiterated the fact that they support transparency in all of their in game changes and goings on, so I really can't understand why and or if this is really as big an issue as it seems to be snowballing into being.

    Quite simple, because it's not random at all. I bet there quite a few factors at play like "amount of time you haven't logged in", "power level of the champion" etc. that determine the drop. Now if Kabam would have to disclose all those factors at play, people would get really angry and they want to prevent that at any cost.

    Disclosing the drop rates for prems etc. wouldn't do any harm. Everybody know the droprate for 4* in prems is 1% and there are good statistics for all the other crystals.

    The problem would be to say "well those odds for 5* crystals weren't the same for all champs after all. Our bad." Consider the **** storm that would bring.
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    Vdh2008Vdh2008 Posts: 966 ★★★★
    Save all this argument people, please list what items you think MAY be covered by Apples new rules please. (not LAWS, as no counrty in the whole world has laws for these apart from China, none)

    Daily specials
    PHCs bought with real currency

    The latest offer, the ying one, the ying crystals would have had DRs per level of character pulled. So 90% a 2 star, 8% a 3 star, and 2% a 4 star for example. NOT per character. But that is a one-off deal. Plus, what happened when the games in China started listing DRs? The sales went through the roof, especially for the rarer items! Ones with a 0.01% DR sold like hot cakes. Happened in every game, so even if this does happen dont expect sales to go down, they will go up!

    I cant think of any other item that will need to show DRs at all? You pop a 5* crystal, you get a DR of 100% that you get a 5 star, it wont be per character. The new featured 5* crystal, again 100% DR you get a 5*, not per character. Anything else at all that you think may be covered by these new rules please list below?

    Rather than go round and round here, this will help. I think the main problem is people really do think there will be DRs listed on every single thing we pop, and that it will be per character. It WONT be per character in any item that we currently have that I can think of?

    Oh, and this wont be for crystals etc opened in the past, only going forward. So no DRs for that 5* Groot I pulled for example

    And people saying what they THINK the rules (not laws) say doesnt really matter. Me and you have no influence on this at all

    I can't stop laughing at this post. You end it by making sense, what every one here THINKS will happen may or may not happen... BUT you're whole post is just guessing what YOU think will happen. Who are you to say the drop rate "WONT be per character"? You don't KNOW this, you THINK this.

    Having said that, I agree they will likely never release the true "per character" rates because it's obviously NOT the same chance to pull a god tier as it is to pull a garbage tier, and they will not want to publish that.

    My honest hope is that we get full transparency from not just Kabam, but all game studios. I lean towards this entire "lootbox" system being unethical at best, and in some cases bordering on illegal (not in Kabam's case).

    I don't think we will see that though, I believe that despite what is in the best interests of the community, Kabam, and other game studios will do the bare minimum to comply with whatever rules are forced on them. That's unfortunate.
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    Vdh2008Vdh2008 Posts: 966 ★★★★
    @Vdh2008

    Mate, I was being polite so no need to be rude back. There is nothing in any new rules that even hints at DRs being per character. Why would there be, and why would Kabam do that anyway. If you pull a 5 star, you get a 5 star, so the DR is 100% every time. I never stated this as fact, ever. I always state it as my opinion only. But surely you can see that there would be no reason to do this per character at all for Kabam. People are hanging their hopes on this, and it wont happen imho

    And if the DR for a 5 star is 100% Dr, then that is transparent isnt it??

    I notice that you didn list anything we can currently get in the game that would even need DRs apart from the PHCs and the daily specials (class specific phcs as they are) So you agree that there are no other items that would even show these if they decided to show them?

    As I stated, I personally believe they SHOULD be publishing "per character" drop rates on everything. That would be "full" transparency to me. I agree that this is NOT what Apple is asking for, though. I just think that a company hiding this information from the community is shady, whether or not that information is "mandated" for release.

    I am all for the ability of customers to make fully informed decisions. If someone is chasing a SPECIFIC champion, they should know the odds of pulling that champion from any given crystal they are "buying". This is an INFORMED decision. Otherwise, companies that do not share this info are preying on the weak willed individuals who continue to pour their $$$ into the game to chase whatever champion they want.

    There are dozens of cases in the last decade where systems like this have caused financial ruin to individuals and families. Part of the "blame" for this is on the consumer, who SHOULD be smart enough to know that systems like this are rigged in the company's favor, BUT I also believe that part of the "blame" should also fall on the company that exploits these people.

    Having said all that... I do NOT think that Kabam is the worst offender in the app store, or the worst example in all of gaming. There are MUCH worse companies out there literally targeting their lootbox system to people with an addiction to this type of thing.

    At the end of the day, I don't think Apple will "force" Kabam to do anything other than state things like: "1% chance at a 4 star in this PHC". I do wish, however, that Kabam would take the "high road" and be honest and transparent with their players in all aspects.
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    ThatweirdguyThatweirdguy Posts: 675 ★★★
    Drop Rates per character I believe will have to be given for the Featured GMC's. At least the drop rate for a 3-5* of that particular character vs the drop rate of a regular character. They are selling those featuring the chance at a particular character so revealing those odds to comply with Apple makes sense.

    As to the new 5* featured and character drop rates...they've remedied that so we will never truly know what we all suspected...manipulated drop rates. I think it is quite naïve to think the crystal was changed unrelated to these regs. Further the lack of an update which would require the app to go through the Apple review process is quite telling.

    Thanks to Apple all the RNG-Truthers out there can for the first time be correct.
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    GroundedWisdomGroundedWisdom Posts: 36,310 ★★★★★
    We've already gone over this. The entire history of the game, there has never been an Update in January.
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    DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 18,848 Guardian
    CoatHang3r wrote: »
    Arm chair lawyered again.

    Last time I checked, it did not require a law degree, or even a chair, to know that June 2016 was less than three years ago. It also does not require a law degree, but it does require either experience or research, to know who specifically Apple has been enforcing the in-app gifting clause on. Try google searching the rejection message that app developers get when they are rejected for this reason, which is: Your app enables users to gift in-app purchase products to other users, which is not appropriate for the App Store.

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    DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 18,848 Guardian
    I think its telling that Apple said you cant gift in-game in 2016, and that items cants expire in-game, again in 2016. But Kabam are allowed to do both. Thats why I dont see anything changing re this mate?

    Any credits or in-game currencies purchased via in-app purchase may not expire, and you should make sure you have a restore mechanism for any restorable in-app purchases.

    Apps should not directly or indirectly enable gifting of in-app purchase content, features, or consumable items to others


    BUT, both these rules are quite ambigious, so who knows!!

    They might appear ambiguous if you only read the rules, and don't know how they have been enforced. First of all, the rule doesn't say that *items* can't expire, it says that credits or in-game currencies can't expire. Why have this rule? Well, originally, credit and in-game currencies were technically completely illegal according to app store guidelines. The original guidelines stated that *all* purchases were required to use the in-app purchase mechanism. So technically, "buying" anything with units would be against policy. But Apple realized that this intermediate currency mechanism was a staple of such games and it would be tricky to ban the practice altogether. So they amended their rules to allow intermediate currencies, on the principle that if the user bought the currency with IAP, then the purchase "goes through" the IAP system enough to satisfy Apple. But to make sure that the intermediate currency was just a middle step between the IAP cash transaction and the eventual purchase, Apple dictated that those "credits and currencies" had to function basically like cash: they couldn't expire. If they did expire, then they were not a credit or currency any more, they were basically a IAP purchased item, regardless of what the developer claimed.

    Apple has had a running battle with developers for years with regard to using the IAP system. Many developers didn't want to give Apple their 30% cut. So they tried to work around the system by allowing customers to purchase content outside of the app store and just have it enabled in the app. So Kabam could sell 5* crystals on their web site and they would just appear in the game. This violates Apple's policies so they cracked down on it. If the user buys it, they must buy it through the app store. So developers got clever: they tried to ask for donations like on a Patreon page, and if you donate a certain amount you'd get a reward which was something within their app. Technically, they were not "selling" anything any more, they were "gifting" the user an unlock. So Apple added the no gifting rule to close that loophole. The fact that they are not (apparently) enforcing it on any game I'm aware of tells you that while the wording makes it seem like literally no gifts of any kind are allowed, they are enforcing the rule in a manner consistent with making sure people aren't trying to find a loophole around the "always use IAP so Apple gets their cut" rule. Apple probably sees no problem with MCOC gifting because it isn't the kind of gifting they care about.

    Remember: Apple is not a legislature nor is it a court of law. Apple is not required to make laws that are enforced by legal wordsmiths. Apple's guidelines are a way for Apple to signal to developers what it will reject from the app store, and they need to be read within that context, and within the context of the prior history of what Apple has rejected in the past. The guidelines are almost always a response to developers trying to get around the general rules.
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    Maat1985Maat1985 Posts: 2,237 ★★★★
    edited January 2018
    @DNA3000 i am curious as to why you seem to think you know everything in regards to understanding all these terms and conditions....
    I mean i feel i have a very good understanding and for the most part i agree with you.
    It just seems as though you are stating so much as fact rather than opinion.
    Do you have a law background per chance?
    What brings you to your understanding of hese documents.
    (Not having a go.... serious question)
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    DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 18,848 Guardian
    Maat1985 wrote: »
    @DNA3000 i am curious as to why you seem to think you know everything in regards to understanding all these terms and conditions....
    I mean i feel i have a very good understanding and for the most part i agree with you.
    It just seems as though you are stating so much as fact rather than opinion.
    Do you have a law background per chance?
    What brings you to your understanding of hese documents.
    (Not having a go.... serious question)

    I never said I know everything. The counter question is why do you think I'm claiming to know everything just because I claim to know something. What I claim are a very specific set of things. Those things are verifiable if anyone chooses to do so. They are also theoretically falsifiable if anyone chooses to try.

    What opinion do you believe I am stating as fact? When I say that the guideline says currency can't expire but it doesn't say items can't expire, isn't that a verifiable fact? When I mention the past history of the guidelines document, although there is a narrative element to that, aren't those verifiable facts? The way Apple has enforced its IAP requirements on developers has been well documented. The back and forth with developers trying to find ways around paying Apple its IAP cut are well documented, as are Apple's responses to those.

    Asking if I have a law degree is an interesting question, because I specifically state - again, as an easy to verify fact - that the Apple guidelines are not laws. They aren't even contract terms. They are not intended to be "lawyered." You can't use them against Apple or hold Apple to them in any way. It is in effect a kind of FAQ. The spirit of the document is encapsulated in this part of the introduction: "We hope these new guidelines help you sail through the App Review process, and that approvals and rejections are more consistent across the board. This is a living document; new apps presenting new questions may result in new rules at any time. Perhaps your app will trigger this." And also this: "We will reject apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, "I'll know it when I see it". And we think that you will also know it when you cross it."

    If you believe I have misrepresented an opinion as fact, I will be more than happy to correct that problem if you point out specifics. But in rereading the post above, I can think of only one thing technically stated as fact that is an opinion: "But Apple realized that this intermediate currency mechanism was a staple of such games and it would be tricky to ban the practice altogether." I of course cannot say with certainty why Apple does anything without an official statement from Apple. But that is a reasonable interpretation of what happened in this case, given there's no other reason for Apple to allow purchases outside the IAP mechanism unless they believed it would be too difficult to ban. In all other cases, they've found it very easy to ban.

    But to answer your question directly, I do not have a law degree. My direct experience with the law comes from working within the intellectual property and information security fields as a non-attorney. I can speak reasonably about intellectual property law, information protection, privacy, and operational IT regulations, and how to function in that environment. None of which is helpful in this context, unless you want to print out Apple's guidelines on A4 paper.
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    DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 18,848 Guardian
    There is nothing in any new rules that even hints at DRs being per character. Why would there be, and why would Kabam do that anyway. If you pull a 5 star, you get a 5 star, so the DR is 100% every time. I never stated this as fact, ever. I always state it as my opinion only. But surely you can see that there would be no reason to do this per character at all for Kabam. People are hanging their hopes on this, and it wont happen imho

    Except that within a particular type of champion, Kabam has already stated that every champion within a specific pool has an equal chance of dropping. Some people don't believe Kabam, but that's besides the point. While they do not currently discuss the differing chances of pulling pools of different rarities (for example, the odds of pulling featured vs subfeatured vs basic), they've always stated that outside of specified differences (for example featured champions having a "higher" chance of appearing in featured crystals) the rest of the champions have equal odds. So given they don't see a problem with stating that now, there's no specific reason to not state that in the future if they are compelled to disclose the rarity odds for different rarity types.

    So if they begin disclosing, say, that the odds of pulling a 4* champion from the PHC is one in 120 or something, I don't see why they wouldn't also state that for all 4* champions currently in the standard 4* crystal there is an equal chance of any of them dropping as a 4* champion in the PHC if a 4* champion drops. They currently seem comfortable stating that now.
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    This is a serious gambling and predatory,the regulations are coming very soon,the ea has lost too much money because of this.the games will be enjoyable soon.
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    GroundedWisdomGroundedWisdom Posts: 36,310 ★★★★★
    Curious how posting rates will make the game any more enjoyable than it currently is.
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    This microtransaction heaven,this moneygrab is going to collapse soon,so they will focus much more on the gameplay,like in the awesome games 10-20 year ago,not on the gambling addiction.why knows what is going to happen.the ea has lost 6 billion dollars already.
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    GroundedWisdomGroundedWisdom Posts: 36,310 ★★★★★
    You might want to put down that torch. Hold it too long and you'll burn your hand.

    "Moneygrab"....last I checked, they're not forcing anyone to spend. People take their own chances.
    Just because EA was busted being shady doesn't mean that every game that operates with a randomizer is the embodiment of Bernie Madoff.
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    GroundedWisdomGroundedWisdom Posts: 36,310 ★★★★★
    For that matter, posting them won't make a difference because there's a difference between posting them and changing the outcomes. There seems to be this misconception that somehow they will be "caught misbehaving" and forced to give better drops. This is just a mirror for the basis of the suspicion. People don't like to accept it when they don't get what they want.
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    Some companies are still giving an enjoyable and stable gameplay,without lags and bugs and values with the microtransactions.they are not forcing anyone to spend,true.without spending,there is no progression(except,if you are able to grind at least 10 hours a day)so,they do.psychology.
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    GroundedWisdomGroundedWisdom Posts: 36,310 ★★★★★
    That's compounding issues that have nothing to do with the subject. Just about any game out there has bugs. Certainly games in a mobile format. The majority of games don't post rates, considering the concept is new. Not even sure where you're going with Psychology, unless you're implying they employ some form of brainwashing that brings people in, in which case this is beyond my logic.
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