Nintendo Cryptically Points Out That Selling 'Animal Crossing' Assets For Real Money Violates ToS

from the sooooo? dept

Back in May, we wrote about something of an economy springing up around Nintendo's hit game Animal Crossing. With so many folks enduring the hardships of layoffs, or unable to find work, it turns out there are people making very real world money selling in-game assets and collecting payment outside of Nintendo's platform, which doesn't have a method for these types of transactions. This sort of thing fascinates me on many levels, perhaps mostly in how nearly perfectly this highlights the reality of income disparity in America. Some folks have to farm digital bells to make money by selling them to people with enough money to buy them.

But we also mentioned in that post that Nintendo is notoriously protective over how its games are played and used. On top of that, the only real way to be effective in this economy is to screw around with the clock and timer settings on the console itself to speed up the harvesting process. That, too, is the sort of thing that normally gets Nintendo's fur up. So, it's perhaps not surprising that Nintendo has pointed out recently that all of this violates its Terms of Service, though the company has remained cryptic as to exactly what it plans to do about it.

Nintendo has strictly defined rules about monetization. As clearly stated on the network services guidelines, Nintendo writes, “You may monetize your videos and channels using the monetization methods separately specified by Nintendo. Other forms of monetization of our intellectual property for commercial purposes are not permitted.”

J-Cast reached out Nintendo regarding the real-money trade of Animal Crossing: New Horizons characters. “We are aware of the violation of our terms of use,” Nintendo replied. Nintendo added that it is currently considering what steps should be taken regarding the sale of New Horizons characters.

One presumes the same would be true for in-game assets like Animal Crossing's bells. As stated, Nintendo has a reputation for this... but should the company drop the hammer on this sort of behavior? I've put some thought into this and I can't really come up with a systemic major problem that is or could be caused by this emergent economy springing up around a game like this. How much does this break the game's community, given that there is clearly a demand from players for buying these assets? And how much interest in the game is built on players knowing they have an outlet for progression through these purchases?

Interesting as those questions may be, Nintendo doesn't typically come off as though it engages in this type of self-interrogation. Instead, the company sees something happening outside of its control, has a visceral reaction to that something, and reacts with a heavy hand. Note that the quote from the Nintendo rep above says Nintendo is deciding what to do about all of this, not whether it should do anything at all. Which is too bad.

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Filed Under: animal crossing, economies, in game sales, terms of service, virtual goods
Companies: nintendo


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2020 @ 2:09am

    Deadly Force in Georgia

    What does Georgia Law say about deadly force?
    OCGA 17-4-20 (b):
    Sheriffs and peace officers may use deadly force:
    1.) to apprehend a suspected felon only when the officer reasonably believes that the suspect possesses a deadly weapon. (He did)
    2.) to apprehend a suspected felon who possesses any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury. (He did)
    3.) to apprehend a suspected felon when the officer reasonably believes that the suspect poses an immediate threat of physical violence to the officer or others (He did)
    4.) to apprehend a suspected felon when there is probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm (He did)

    The officer only needed one of those requirements, but he had all 4........

    Now the reason taser’s are considered “less-lethal” is because when used appropriately, you are “less likely” to kill someone vs using a gun. But Brooks hasn’t been through the training to know how to avoid certain vulnerable parts of the body, and he doesn’t understand how neuromuscular incapacitation (NMI) works, which makes it MORE likely for him to cause great bodily injury or death than if an officer used it.

    And just to support the fact that tasers can and do kill, there is an East Point Officer currently sitting in prison for improperly using a taser and killing a man a few years ago.
    (Eberhart v Georgia)

    “He could’ve shot him in the leg!”

    Right off the top, it is unconstitutional to do so. It is considered cruel and unusual punishment to employ a gun in that manner. Either an officer felt deadly force was necessary, or he should use a lesser response.

    We could just leave it at that, but that's too much of a cop out, so let's discuss WHY it has been deemed unconstitutional. For one thing, that's an extremely difficult shot to make. The target is quite narrow, and in continuous motion as the suspect runs away/charges the officer. Under the best of conditions trying to hit the leg is challenging...to be generous about it. But in a life or death encounter, the officer's fine motor skills will be eroded by the stress of the encounter making the shot, turning a leg shot into a very low probability feat.

    Assuming a round does hit the leg, then what? The only way a shot to the leg would immediately stop a threat is by shattering one of the bones, and stopping the threat is the ultimate goal. While it is very difficult to find a shot to the leg that will immediately stop a threat, it is actually comparatively easy to find shots to the leg which eventually prove fatal. Human legs have very large blood vessels which are essentially unprotected (femoral artery)

    Now remember, we’ve had days to sit back, watch videos, discuss, and analyze this entire thing. The officers had less than a minute from the time the fight started, and less than 5 seconds to interpret EVERYTHING you just read while running, getting shot at with a taser, and returning fire.

    -Greg James
    Founder/Executive Director
    Georgia Law Enforcement Organization"


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