YouTuber Jake Paul, who has 17 million subscribers, is shilling in reality to his fans. "Guys, we're going to spend thousands and thousands on mystery boxes," said Jake Paul directly to the camera in a recent video. The scheme is simple. Paul logs into the Mystery Brand website and spends $ 5,000 on boxes that can hold everything from an iPhone case to a $ 2.5 million Lamborghini Centrano. A customer does not know what the box contains before they pay.
Mystery Brands' business model mimics the races that have become popular in video games over the past few years. It is a practice hated by players, considered gambling in some countries, and eyed by US lawmakers as a measure of regulation. When a player buys a box, they know they are guaranteed to get one or more of a number of benefits, but they do not know what rewards they will get. Mystery Brand sells the same, but the boxes can cost from $ 2.49 to up to $ 1
Mystery Brands rewards are even color coded by rarity as elements from World of Warcraft . In the Apple Box box, for example, the 64GB iPhone X is an orange "legendary" item, while a Lightning two USB dongle is a blue "unusual" item.
If a customer opens something they do not want, they can immediately sell it back to Mystery Brand for a fraction of the value. Users can get back a cash value or put it into the Mystery Brand system and use it on multiple boxes. "Forgot to mention about payments in any convenient way, even bitcoin or instant replenishment of the account," says Mystery Brand on her site, which often includes broken English.
At some point during Jake Paul's video promoting the store, he spends more than $ 2,000 in total on two boxes to receive two Apple Watches worth less than $ 500 each. But it never limits its excitement. Later, when he gets his boxes in the mail, he seems like he had completely forgotten what he won.
Mystery Brand paid Paul to make the video promote his website. A small disclaimer appears in the lower left corner of the video and in the description below. We do not know what Mystery Brand paid Paul, but another YouTuber-KeemStar tweeted that they had contacted him and offered $ 100,000 . He said he turned them down. KeemStar did not respond promptly to our request for comment. RiceGum, another popular YouTuber with 10 million subscribers, uploaded its own Mystery Brand video the same day and explained that it was a promotional video up front. Then he told his loyal followers how he had beaten a pair of Apple AirPods, which trades at $ 159, for just $ 4.
"There is no loss in this," RiceGum said. "Because even if you get an item you don't like, you just sell it."
Despite the video security RiceGum and Jake Paul's offer to receive their various items, the site feels like something you shouldn't send your money to. The site's terms and conditions and sound are as if they were written in a foreign language and then translated into English. The website's terms and conditions notice that the company's "terms are interpreted and are subject to the jurisdiction and laws of Poland." Mystery Brand is similar to G2A Pay as one of the payment options. G2A Pay is a product of G2A.com, another Polish website that trades in the greyscale digital video games that often regret video game publishers to cut them out of profit by selling their own games.
Mystery Brand users can also make their own boxes, fill them with a lot of loot, and then adjust a slider to increase or decrease the chance that a user gets it. It was so that Paul ended up spending $ 2,000 on Apple Watches. He had created a custom box with the option of receiving an iMac Pro that spiked the prize.
Wednesday, Mystery Brand players could make a mystery box with a $ 250 million manor, listed as "Most Expensive Los Angeles Realty." But the listing for the Mystery Brand mansion disappeared after The Daily Beast pointed out that the manor image was listed for $ 188 million and not owned by Mystery Brand. According to The Daily Beast began the odds of winning the mansion at 0.0000018 percent.
It's a social aspect for Mystery Brand as well. Users can share their finished boxes with friends, and each time someone opens them, the user gets a percentage of food in their Mystery Brand account. There is another leaderboard showing who has spent the most money last week and who has earned the biggest prizes.
The closest analogue to Mystery Brand is CSGOLotto, a now completed website that ran a remarkably similar arrangement. CSGOLotto allowed users to bet skins and weapons from the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive . The players bet on their skins and had a chance to win more expensive ones worth, supposedly thousands of dollars. Two YouTubers ran the site and published videos of their amazing adventure games and won big on CSGOLotto without telling viewers that they owned the case. Valve, the company that developed Counter-Strike and profits from these rails, earned them a cease and desist letter and FTC beat them on the wrist.
But CSGLotto didn't get any trouble promoting gambling. Its owners were having trouble disclosing that they owned the site in videos where they promoted it. There is a big difference. Mystery Brand represents the next logical step in the loot box phenomenon.
Legislators, video game companies and consumers have allowed to flourish in the digital realm. There has been some pushback, but not enough to stop them. Now they have jumped from virtual objects to real world consumer products, and people like Jake Paul market them to millions of fans.
You can look at Mystery Brand and think that this business model will never work because no one is stupid enough to fall for it, but there are two things I've learned about boxing after years of writing about them:  1. The players hate them. They complain to developers and they announce boycotts of games that include them. Gamers love to argue, but one thing they all seem to agree is that boxing boxes are a shock to their hobby as the cheaper experiences they love. 2. Loot boxes are incredibly profitable. They are still around, even though players hate them, because they make video game companies millions of dollars.
It may seem stupid, but if it gets profit, I won't be surprised to see Mystery Brand or something that continues to make reality more like a video game in the worst way possible.
We went out to Mystery Brand, but it did not respond to our request for comment.