Popular Twitch streamer Asmongold was accused of promoting gambling by fans who argued that his streams of Lost Ark and other “pay-to-win” games had a negative impact on the community and (in)directly linked the streamer to endorsing such products.
No Gambling on Stream as Such Says Asmongold
Asmongold, who never dodges criticism, politely objected to the allegations against him. He argued that if anything, entertainers were exempt from any such affiliations as they only seek to provide their audiences with the games they would seek to play themselves anyway.
The streamers went on to elaborate that the morality that was prescribed to him was ill-placed as viewers must not turn to streamers to validate or set their moral beliefs. He then stressed that his stream was an entertainment show:
“There’s a lot of over-seriousness with this kind of stuff. I want to remind everybody this is an entertainment show.”
Twitch streamer Asmongold
To humor fans, though, Asmongold directly stated that he was not promoting any gambling products nor did he intend to. Yet, Asmon has come under heavy criticism from fans who argued that by playing Lost Ark and other games with a “pay-to-win” element he was a facilitator of gambling products.
The streamer argued that anyone who felt that this was a genuine issue should seek to enact policies or rally political support as it would be ultimately the government’s decision to suspend “gambling-like elements.”
Turn to Governments, Not Streamers for Solution
Even contentious issues such as loot boxes that were presumed gambling have gained some momentum in courts. EA recently won a case against the Dutch gambling regulator with the State Council of the Netherlands, Raad van State. In light of this, Asmongold’s advice is well placed.
Whether a form of gaming constitutes gambling should be left to policymakers and would most likely come as a result of direct pressure by voters. Previously, a lawsuit against Apple over loot boxes was concluded in favor of the company and the plaintiffs were told to seek and mount pressure on lawmakers if they want to see such elements in video gaming clearly and unambiguously noted down as a form of gambling.
Lost Ark may have its shortcomings insofar certain aspects of the gaming are concerned, but if all governments – or the ones directly supervising the development of pay-to-win gaming elements – had consensus on such games, they would not be possible in the first place.
China has explicitly prohibited the use of certain gaming elements, but most of the west sees different governments debate loot boxes and pay-to-win elements. The United Kingdom is one of the latest to take a closer look at loot boxes and pay-to-win games. Possible regulatory changes are expected to arrive with the Gambling Act Review 2005.
In the meantime, Asmongold is right that Lost Ark and other games with a vibrant and impactful in-game economy that involves real money should be taken with a grain of salt and that their implications should not be blown out of context.