Loot Boxes Are (Finally) A Dying Breed

By Ben Hamill - March 11 2020
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Loot Boxes Are (Finally) A Dying Breed

The loot box controversy has been making waves for quite some time now. But whilst product owners like EA have been defending loot boxes (loot, loot crates) tooth and nail, some others are very clearly beginning to move away from the pay-to-win approach. And when considering the very working definition of what a loot box is from a sober perspective, one cannot do anything else but to understand the reasoning behind Bungie’s decision to leave loot boxes out of Destiny 2’s new Season of Worthy expansion pack.

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It’s all about Bungie having wanted to make the popular game’s rewards system more transparent and less paying for something of which the value isn’t actually known pre-transaction, said director Luke Smith in a statement explaining the developer’s decision to no longer sell “Bright Engrams” on the Eververse Store.

Back To Basics

From now on out, Destiny 2’s loot boxes will be discoverable throughout the course of the game, an unexpected bonus or treat so to speak, which was what they were right at the beginning and before lightning fast internet connections made microtransactions possible.

Enter EA’s incessant defending of the concept. On EA’s side of the fence, the motivation is quite understandably the $1 billion dollars the company recently reported having generated over the course of a 3 months via microtransactions alone. EA has consistently defended the loot-box model of pay-to-play (read: pay to win) that essentially forms the backbone of its FIFA series. The company has refused to remove loot boxes from the series, despite some companies having taken serious ongoing issue with the inclusion of loot boxes in the game.

Best For Who?

But EA’s is fast turning into a voice in the wilderness and especially when viewing matters from a perspective of morality. Even the language used by developers has undergone a major transformation, with a new focus on what is right instead of on what is best.

And the decision taken by developers like Bungie and Riot Games – no loot boxes planned for the upcoming Valorant either – and perhaps most notably Fortnite’s Epic Games, was definitely not pushed into motion by politicians, regulators and concerned parents only. Gamers too have been causing quite the stir about having to pay for loot boxes in order to compete and make progress, and oftentimes when talking games already paid for right at the start.

Perhaps the industry is indeed, in the words of Epic co-founder Tim Sweeney, beginning to “grow up”. Sweeney really made waves last month during his keynote address at Dice Summit in Las Vegas when he posed to his audience the somewhat rhetorical question of whether respected creators of gaming products wanted to remain respected, or whether product owners preferred to be compared to the Las Vegas gambling industry and slot machines instead.

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