Social Games’ “Compu Gacha” Model Officially Declared Illegal

By Ishaan . May 18, 2012 . 11:30am

Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency has officially declared the “compu gacha” method of monetization in social games a legal offense. This follows previous reports that suggested the agency would be investigating the compu gacha practise, based on its similarities to the concept of gambling.


Compu gacha is derived from “gacha,” which is a monetization method in social games where players pay for virtual items without knowing what they are. Compu gacha takes this a step further and promises even rare items in exchange for completing certain pre-determined sets of items.


A significant portion of social game revenue comes from compu gacha. When the Consumer Affairs Agency’s investigation was reported on, social game makers GREE and DeNA saw their stocks drop by over 20%.


The early report also enabled these companies to pre-emptively announce that they would dispel the government’s concerns regarding the compu gacha practise before the CAA had a chance to crack down on them. Along with other companies, Konami and Namco Bandai announced that they would discontinue the business model entirely. Meanwhile, GREE are spearheading the creation of industry guidelines regarding social games business practises.

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  • FitzpatrickPhillips

    Maybe this will make social games seem less appealing to devs now and they can focus on other things.

    • Guest

      Devs are just running to social games because they’re too scared to make high budget games on these “expensive HD consoles”. Japan has not taken to HD so well this gen. And now Western devs too…

  • Luna Kazemaru

    Lol wow just wow may aswell remove it from free to play games then huh? Someone clearly got mad because they didn’t get their rare item.

    • Although, when you have a rare item that takes 1K monies to finally get, there’s a problem.

      • Luna Kazemaru

        you clearly don’t know how much cash you can go threw in KR f2p games do you.

        •  I played Pangya for about a year and a half.  I read the forums, I saw the items you could get, I knew how nGreed would rape their customers that had the funds and wanted to lose it all to look cool.  That’s a great thing to capitalize on for the money but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right.

          • Luna Kazemaru

             And I play elsword which basically has a system like this called ‘ice burners’ you can aleast spend up to 200 bucks or more just to get a complete set from the thing because you aren’t always going to get a peace of the set and something random. Yet no one has a problem with that is what I’m saying. You are taking a chance with the system and its not saying you HAVE to use it which is the problem with this.

          • 200 bucks also pays for a month of gas for me driving 50+ miles a day in my Altima to and from work.  I’m sorry but that takes way more precedence.  As of late, there’s a lot of gouging from games, and not just gacha in general but also DLC and things of that nature.  Rather than worry about getting more money out of the consumer for a F2P game, maybe they should invent better ways of paying for what something’s worth over time.

            A good example to me would be how Virtua Fighter 5 FS does it.  Upfront fee, P2P sure, but what you do pay in DLC MASSIVELY adds to the game play and you’re not going to be out ten thousand dollars over a year of playing a game like some people would playing a F2P.  It’s not really right in the way of thinking when you boil down to it and basically no different than a person with a gambling problem.

            You’re basically saying that’s right in thinking of that.  Just because people that you’re around don’t have a problem with it doesn’t mean it’s right.  That’s the whole ‘jump off a bridge and I follow’ hivemind mentality talking to you there.

          • Luna Kazemaru

            The thing is its the person’s CHOICE in the matter still doesn’t mean the thing should be illegal it could have been avoided by simply modifying the rates of what you get.

            “You’re basically saying that’s right in thinking of that.  Just because
            people that you’re around don’t have a problem with it doesn’t mean it’s
            right.  That’s the whole ‘jump off a bridge and I follow’ hivemind
            mentality talking to you there.”

            I like how you assumed tho that I am in the mind set of follow everyone like a mindless sheep.I said its not a problem because the players using the system know the risk they are taking.Then again this is only going after compu-gacha and not gacha itself but whats stopping them from going after that aswell.

  • Mai! Noooo! ;~;

  • amagidyne

    On one hand, boo! Freedom and things! On the other hand, they sucked anyway. Yay CAA!

    Although if gambling is illegal in Japan, what is pachinko?

    • Luna Kazemaru

      pachinko is gambling but they don’t want to make it illegal its a sorce of income for them.

    • There is a loophole for pachinko from what I heard. They don’t give you money outright at the polar, but prizes and I believe a ticket stub, then you use the ticket stub on an offsite location and exchange it for money.
      That’s how one operated in a documentary I saw a few years back. Pretty amazing even the authorities turn a blind eye to it.

      • amagidyne

         Eeesh. That’s shady, especially given the ties some pachinko parlors have..

    • Tom_Phoenix

      The Japanese goverment tried to outlaw pachinko, but Nicholas Cage wouldn’t allow it:

  • James Beatty

    I kind of want social games do die. Hopefully this will help 

    • Luna Kazemaru

      how cute.

      • James Beatty

        Thank you :3

        •  Either you are being vastly naive by Luna’s remark or you’re counter sarcasm–ing.

          • Guest

             I will add to this that your comment on his comment also comes off either vastly naive (if you can’t tell by his comment) or a trace of sarcasm (if you can tell)

          •  And I will further add you are being sarcastic and unnecessarily putting me on blast. Quit it >:[ .

  • ivanchu77

    “players pay for virtual items without knowing what they are”

    What the hell O_O

    • Godmars

      The issue is buying a certain number of items to have the “privilege” of buying a mystery item. Its that you’re buying the other items just so you can get to the other item.

  • The_Real_Oyashiro

    This seems… dumb. Are they going to outlaw capsule machines next? You put money in them and you don’t know what little figure or what-not your going to get.

    • It’s a specific model they were targeting. This article goes into more detail: 

      • The_Real_Oyashiro

         I mean I know what exactly they are targeting. But its a double standard. Just because the items are digital its illegal?

        Its fundamentally no different from buying a pack of trading cards, You can end up with all commons or a super rare.

        • No no no. The point is you get a prize for completing the set. It’s not like trading cards at all – the “pieces” are intrinsically worthless on their own unless you have them all.

          It’s like that episode of The Raccoons, where Bert ends up obsessed with this contest where there are puzzle pieces in bags of chips and he wins a free bike if he completes the whole nine-piece set. Of course, this is a kids’ show and the contest is run by Cyril Sneer, the aardvark equivalent of Montgomery Burns, so the whole thing’s rigged.

          • The_Real_Oyashiro

             But… Thats nothing like gambling! (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

          • That still isn’t that different from card games. Yugioh’s Exodia card comes to mind. You buy packs that may or may not have it and they’re essentially useless unless you get them all.

          • Rentekabond

            It’s different because with trading cards, even without getting a super rare card, the other cards have a certain value (Even if a pack of yugioh cards didn’t come with a single exodia piece, there are dozens, if not hundreds of other cards that can be useful), as well as the fact that you don’t have to have all for limbs of Exodia to get the head.

            In this model, in order to get the head, you HAVE to have all 4 of the limbs.

            It’s also different because these objects are digital. Unlike tangible trading cards, these digital items have literally no other worth.

          • There’s still a key difference however. It’s possible to find all the Exodia cards in whatever booster packs and tins they run in. If it was like Complete Gacha, you’d have to do something like collect the 4 Exodia limbs and then mail in proofs to the card company to get the head.

          • Jonathan Keycross

            The way I see it, when it´s a closed digital market, you simply end up buying the “tickets” hoping to win the item you want. If you want “X” item, you can´t buy it directly, you must keep buying tickets until, by luck, you get it. In that way it´s similar to gambling (not on the prize, but rather the process on how to get the prize itself).

            In trading card games, on the other hand, you can go to stores and buy specific cards to build your deck, you aren´t limited to only buying tickets/booster packs. You want “X” card, you can find someone who sells it for $10 rather than spend that money on booster packs, or trade some cards you don´t use for that “X” card you want.

            At least that´s how I see it´s different.

  • Jonathan Keycross

    I can´t believe there are people willing to pay for something they don´t even know they´ll get…
    Seriously, they must have a problem.

    Now, if you excuse me I have to buy some keys for my “” crates…I can feel this is my lucky day!

  • How is this different from buying a pack of booster cards for a CCG?

    • Christopher Nunes

      Well one thing different is that you need a certain set to get even rarer items… you don’t do that with booster pack for a CGG. ^^;

      However it IS still gambling in a sense. I don’t understand why they cracked down on them, how is that illegal since kid do this everyday with Yu-Gi-Oh! cards!

    • darkonezero

       Slight difference, imagine if you got an exclusive card for getting a super rare card in a booster pack and that the exclusive card could only be obtained by getting the super rare.


    Lol I wonder if this group of bureaucrats really believe they are are really doing the right thing.

    I see nothing wrong with compu gacha as long as people willing put their money into this thing. People know the risks when they play and where are these people complaining? How is this illegal when you don’t hear anyone like killing people over this or losing their houses because they play compu gacha.

    What I see is a bunch of bureacrats ,who don’t even play compu gacha, complaining about how GREE is making a lot of money – as if it’s a bad thing.

    • Actually, people have limited knowledge of the risks. It would be more convenient for the country that money to be spent on taxable products.


        Well it’s a gamble, you win some, you  lose some. What else is there to know?

        I’m sure GREE is a company that pays their share in corporate taxes like any other company. And what’s the government’s business in deciding what should be bought or sold? Letting people freely purchase what they desire is what I believe is what is good for the country.

    • brian yep

      They were taking advantage of people with gambling problems.
      Or an analogy.
      They slipped a drug (gambling) into a drink (social game) of an unsuspecting stranger (customer) and took advantage of that state of mind.

  • B T

    What’s with all the dumbasses here who post about stuff they don’t even know about.
    All I’m reading in the comments here are people whining: “Boohoohoo it has nothing to do with buying boosterpacks” “It’s like getting 4 parts of exodia before you can get the 5th one” “You need to waste money to complete a set before you get a special card”.

    Like if people actually bothered looking up how the thing works they’d know that even though it’s a waste of money, it doesn’t really differ much from CCG’S.
    Though low, every paid gatcha attempt still has a chance to net S.Rares, thing is you can get another one if you obtain a pre-determined set during the campaign time.
    In other words, you can always obtain a S.Rare but they offer you another way for you to obtain one for “free”.

    Or for those Yu-Gi-Oh peoples among you: If you obtain 5 Exodia cards and show it to the cashier lady at your local toy store she’ll give you a shiny Obelisk card free of charge.

    Basically what the verdict means is that buying boosterpacks is legal, but giving out incentives and other bonusses isn’t.
    People should lern2read.

  • Guest

    Only in Japan is it illegal to gamble even for harmless virtual game items, but they have no problem with used female underwear vending machines

    • FACT: Those have been banned.

      • KuroiKen

        FACT: they still stand at certain places till this day

  • Jirin

    *cough* Nanny state *cough*

    By this logic Magic: The Gathering should be illegal.

    • 肉@バカ夜空

      Not really. MTG doesn’t offer better cards by purchasing certain sets of cards or boosters.

  • akiko_sakuraba

    Kinda glad. Now I won’t lose to people who spend all their money to buy rare cards while I can’t! XD

  • 肉@バカ夜空

    Time to restructure Cinderella Girls, I guess.

  • boundries_san

    …….Sooo…. this again just show how Japanese government hated game lol.

    Horse racing gambling, pachinko, sports gambling, and casino is allowed but this is not???

    • Maybe the government don’t want the otaku’s to wasting their money for a virtual item in this game?

      • boundries_san

        Who knows? I thought spending more money on gaming will also increase the amount of money company obtained through taxes.

        • Government think that games should be played by using least amount of real money.Is that what they think?

          • boundries_san

            Don’t know here lol. I just think that Japanese government hates games here.

          • If they really hate games,Playstation and Nintendo won’t exist and Microsoft can’t sell xbox 360 there

  • Well, this sucks… Next thing we know, Gachapon’s may be illegal! (Because we get the same toy all the time)

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