In what is going to be seen as a highly unpopular move, Linden Lab has announced that the use of gacha machines within Second Life must be discontinued by content creators by the end of August, 2021.
To avoid and misrepresentation of the Lab’s decision, I’m reproducing the official announcement below:
Due to a changing regulatory climate, we’ve had to make the difficult decision to sunset a very popular sales mechanism for content in Second Life. It’s widely known as “gacha”, and is defined by a chance-based outcome as a result of a payment.
We know that creators plan their content releases far in advance and will need to re-tool their products, so to mitigate the impact to those affected, we are giving a 30-day grace period, until midnight SLT on August 31. After that time, selling content via gacha machines will no longer be permitted in Second Life. Enforcement won’t start until September 1; after that date an Abuse Report for “Gaming Policy Violation” will be the preferred method of reporting this content to Linden Lab.
We will continue to allow any sales where a payment is given for a known item, which means that items that had been purchased as “gacha” will be allowed to be re-sold as long as the buyer knows in advance the item and quantity they will receive. We will, of course, still allow fatpacks, and any other currently-allowed distribution mechanisms.
We did not make this decision lightly and we understand that it will impact creators as well as event organizers and certainly the shoppers! We look forward to fun creative ways of engagement that will come instead.
While the decision is going up upset some content creators and disrupt certain sales events, the likely cause of this change is due to countries increasingly regarding the use of loot boxes (of which gacha machines are a form) as a means of gambling, and introducing regulation and legislation regarding their use. In the United States, a number of states have also introduced legislation on the use of loot boxes and similar over the last 2-3 years, and a proposed federal bill on the matter expired at the start of 2021 – which does not mean federal, as well further state-level legislation, will not be forthcoming.
Those with questions / concerns about the decision, can voice them via the official forum thread on the matter, which the Lab has indicated it will monitor and attempt to reply to questions raised.
Updated to add a missing “proposed” from the penultimate paragraph.