21 days 6 hours
Space Pirates and Zombies
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
STAR WARS Empire at War - Gold Pack
Sid Meier's Civilization V
14 days 9 hours
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
7 days 19 hours
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
7 days 10 hours
I agree with most of what you said.
But in my experience the 'other side' of the addiction coin that few people want to address is the fact that most addicts are compensating for something they feel they're lacking internally by latching onto something externally. Especially when what they latch onto isn't even a physical thing, it's not like getting hooked on a drug that causes physical withdrawals when you try to stop. This is literally collecting the most sophisticated flashing lights.
Is that really about saving time? Or more about having a flashier light than the next gamer and the anxiety some might feel if they appear inferior in an environment where a few extra dollars can make them superior?
In games like LoL, DotA, CS:GO or Overwatch you're entirely right, there is no benefit to paying/gambling for the virtual bling they offer, be it looked at inside or outside the game. Also as you say, there's no negative symptoms for stopping video-game investments (unlike drugs). I'm definitely not trying to argue a gaming addiction is anywhere near as bad as drugs, only that it won't stop a gaming addict from also falling down that trap too.
Sense of value is definitely a problem with influences for younger generations right now. Games ask for large constant investments of time to be able to earn/maintain rankings desired by the players. Leaderboards and rankings ask for players to invest as much as possible to do as well as possible and show off their achievements to other players. It's a very easy trap for people to fall into, deciding they'd rather invest their time into games than work.
The micro-transaction-riddled mobile games, MMOs and EA-titles do try to offer you cuts in the menial tasks lengths. 'Pay for this and you'll be able to get to the content you want sooner!' is the argument they keep ringing, and it inevitably works for many who don't have the time or control.
I suppose procrastination isn't a problem to dwell on nowadays though; people who want to delay work will find a way whether or not the games tempt them into investing time on them instead. Be it in games or books, on Facebook or YouTube, distractions are in abundance either way.
People like this are why addiction rehabilitation is an actual thing.
EA didn't make him into an addict and nothing about loot boxes specifically targets or exploits individuals considering they're offered to the full audience. This just happens to be what he got hooked on. If loot boxes in video games didn't exist he would have gotten hooked on one of a whole number of other things.
Or do you really believe that no one under a certain age can get their hands on scratch lottery tickets or alcohol or tobacco or weed or whatever? Do you blame the blinking lights of a casino for the broke gambling addict? And if he started at 13 as he said... where are his parents and why aren't they getting any of your fury?
Having been hooked on loot boxes in the past (and have friends who are still hooked on loot boxes) I can say this is not the case. Sure, they can drain money; but that doesn't make them an exclusive drain to many people my age. Many will get hooked onto more than 1 medium, especially those with poor resistances.
EA isn't directly targeting people like Kensgold (no company/analyst expected this level of investment from people when loot boxes began to exist), but they are still happily benefiting from it. They can see the stats and know people are still falling down this pit, yet they continue to set the traps. From an addicts perspective, micro-transactions in games only makes it harder to resist. The more temptations being offered, the more likely you are to succumb to something. The publics decided to draw the line with money, saying that there should be a cap for how much someone can spend on a title. I think everyone here can agree that is a fair argument.
Nobody wants to question the other side of the addiction coin though; time. Games want to drain your time just as much as your money; be it through mobile pop-ups, game content delays, daily rewards, time-restricted content, grinding paths, and so on. From the 70's 'just 1 more level' to the modern 'got to win a round today', games have always wanted to hook you. The more time spent in 1 game, the less time you spend in others. Time invested gives players an increased sense of value to that specific game. With larger time investments the games rewards feel like greater achievements.
This is how companies improve your perception of their titles, so you'll more likely buy the DLC and sequels. It may not be as large a problem as gambling (there's a limit to how much you can spend on DLC) but the core philosophy is the same. An influence we've grown to expect in all titles. Gaming companies are built on shady experiences, but the truth remains: they're supplying something we want. We wouldn't invest if we didn't want their content. I too am avoiding SW:BF2 on the basis that I'll either get annoyed at the imbalanced P2W cards or I'll spend more money than I should on the game. Micro-transactions have become yet another price we've got to consider nowadays when it comes to the cost of a game.
EA have become a target with their stupidity, but this extreme example shouldn't hide the corruption around it. We shouldn't ignore all the tossed rocks from other companies just because EA decided to try and commit a daylight homicide.
Why are people so knee jerky about being expected to pay more money for a product they've already paid $60 dollars for?
Would you expect to get a concert performance for free because you bought an album?
Master Chief is pretty chatty in Halo. In fact, I'd say his dialogue is essential to the story Bungie tells: one of its core pillars is the relationship between Chief and Cortana.
Personally I would have liked some dialogue in Destiny, if only to emphasise the bond between Guardians and Ghosts at the very least.
I have yet to meet any gamer who only has a single platform.
A clear preference? Absolutely. Self-imposed gaming limits though? Not so much.
I only own a PC.
I never owned a console growing up, so I never got into console gaming. Now I just find it clunky and awkward, and most of the games I want to play are on the PC anyway, RDR being a notable exception.
I've played Dota since the TFT days and only this year has it truly become something that I've grown to despise and it has nothing to do with the game or even the community, It's entirely the fault of matchmaking and you're right about the language issue.
Valve did try to "fix" the language issue in Jan/Feb of this year IIRC, I forget what the exact update was called but basically they were testing pings on-top of all the other matching parameters (hidden mmr, visible mmr, language preference, and behavior score) to try and give you teammates who were in a similar ping proximity to you+server. For me it was fantastic as I was getting English speaking teammates and high quality games for the entirety of that initial implementation of the feature.
Unfortunately a couple weeks later Valve "tuned" the feature a bit, and eventually disabling it entirely due to quite a few Eastern-Euro players who live very close to Russians not wanting to be teamed up with them... Which is exactly how every other player feels when they get paired up with a team of players who don't speak their language. I mean... Communication in a team based game? You're asking for too much! /s
of course I realize Matchmaking isn't the only contributing factor to the decline in playerbase, performance problems with Reborn are still largely unsolved for players on lower end PC's as well, but I think Valve's are their own biggest enemy when it comes to DOTA. Their company hierarchy, and IMO their communication policy sucks because it allows Issues like this to remain under the radar for years until enough people complain that it hurts their bottom line.