USA - Red Dead Redemption 2, a gaming franchise from Rockstar Games that is considered one of the best console games in recent memory, is having trouble offering its in-game poker game to different countries.
Produced by the same developer responsible for the Grand Theft Auto series, Red Dead Redemption 2 is set in the Wild West and was the second biggest launch of any kind ever in the entertainment industry.
In just the opening weekend, 24 million games were picked off of the shelves, translating to about $725m (£570m) worth of sales. Red Dead Online, the multiplayer version, has only recently gone live. The addition of poker into the game following the beta period has run into several issues.
The online Red Dead offering was drastically upgraded an initial beta period, with much new content added. Abilities and weapons were altered and some bugs were fixed. Poker was part of the new content.
This meant that players could dare those on their friend’s list to play poker in private or they could play on the public server. Each poker table permitted six players and there were five destinations in the game a player could go to in order to play poker. However, when some players tried to play poker at one of these locations, they were unable to.
People initially brushed this off as a bug but soon got concerned with the answers they got from the support team of Rockstar Games. The customer support team explained: “We are sorry to let you know that the availability of Poker in Red Dead Online is dependent on regional laws and regulations and may not be available to all players. In short, poker won’t be available in countries where online gambling is restricted or illegal.”
Therefore, even though actual money is exchanged, it appears that poker in Red Dead Online is not permitted in a lot of countries because it depends on the gambling laws where the player is situated. Even some countries that allow online poker have still blocked this feature.
While players can use real money to buy gold for in-game purchases, gold cannot be used to play poker in the game. With there being a large clampdown on the gaming industry’s acceptance of gambling in the form of loot boxes, the game developers may be leaning on the side of caution in this case.
Loot boxes have become a popular part of video games in the past few years. These are boxes that hold various in-game items. Items vary in rarity. While boxes can be earned through gameplay, it is much faster to basically purchase in-game currency and use that to buy the loot boxes.
A lot of countries in Europe now consider these offerings to be gambling. Therefore, video game developers were guilty of offering to gamble to underage people in many instances. They were told to take away the gambling aspects from their games. This was for popular titles such as FIFA, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Overwatch. Some countries in Europe, such as Belgium, now have a total ban on loot boxes.