- Sega is being sued for $ 5 million over allegations of rigging its Key Master arcade game.
- A trial says the game was marketed as a game of skill, but that it is more akin to a game of chance.
- The game will only allow a player to win after a certain number of losses, according to the lawsuit.
Sega’s Key Master arcade game is at the center of a class action which says that the game is intentionally rigged against the players.
The trial, filed on Monday in California, said the game was “routinely marketed and sold” as a “pure skill” game but was instead rigged to “prevent even highly skilled users from being able to win” until there is a definite number of losses.
Plaintiff Marcelo Muto is suing the company for $ 5 million.
“Nowhere on the Key Master Machine do the defendants inform consumers of the truth: that the machines are rigged so that players can only win prizes at certain times,” Muto’s lawyers said in the lawsuit. .
The game can be found in arcades and shopping malls across the country, Screen cry reported.
Players must press a button to move a key into a specific keyhole to win prizes like headphones and video games.
The lawsuit said that even if a highly skilled player were to move the key into a specific keyhole for a prize, if not within a pre-programmed time that allows for a win, the game will overtake the keyhole and the player would lose. There are several YouTube videos with tips and tricks for a successful game who recognize the problem.
In the lawsuit, Muto’s attorneys said the default number of losses on a machine is set at 700 before the gain is cleared. They added that each machine can also be individually programmed for any number of losses before a win.
The game is no longer featured on Sega’s website but a similar game called Price locker has been released and is billed as a “100% skill-based” game. The lawsuit said Sega itself recognized that the game was not a “pure skill” game with the rebranding.
The lawsuit said Sega made the change because they realized that regulations in many places around the world do not allow Key Master play. They added that a conversion kit sold to turn Key Master machines into more skill-based machines also shows that Sega was aware of the problem.
“The defendants have refused to stop their deceptive conduct and continue to manufacture and promote the Key Master Machines as games of skill, as opposed to the illicit gaming machines that they really are,” the lawsuit said. “This denial and the continued marketing of the Key Master Machines as games of skill only serves the business interests of the defendants.”
This isn’t the first time the Key Master game has sparked controversy. Tucson.com reported in 2019 that a vendor settled a million dollar lawsuit over the game. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the game was designed to only allow someone to win only after 2,200 attempts and that it was more of a game of chance, which is only legal in state casinos.
Insider attempted to reach out to Sega for comment.