Video games have been an industry for decades now, entertaining individuals with their robust stories and competitive multiplayer modes. Everything seemed quite well, with the occasional scare which is to be expected in any industry, however recently a new design has entered the video game world.
Loot boxes are digital goods that once obtained, allow a random selection of goods to be obtained. Picture it as a mystery box from Call of Duty: Zombies. The object obtained from within may either be of high quality or not desirable. You do not have a choice of what you get. The system has now entered newer video games such as Overwatch, Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Middle Earth: Shadow of War. This is concerning.
Individuals have expressed their concern for it, claiming it is like online “gambling“. Lootboxes can either be obtained through in-game progression at a slower rate or purchased using real-world currency.
The latest Star Wars Battlefront 2 in which I played the beta, has progression limited to the use of loot boxes. This means that in order to get better weapons and abilities for your “soldier” to use, you must earn experience and crafting resources. Star cards (or abilities) and weapons are earned through the loot box (loot crate as its called in Battlefront 2) system.
The main way to achieve star cards is through in-game progression, login bonuses as well as “microtransactions”( the purchase of in-game goods using real-world currency). This is troubling because through progressing as well as purchasing of loot boxes, you may still not even obtain the items you wish due to it being a random selection.
To read further about Star Wars Battlefront 2, click here.
This is getting even more concerning as the latest Call of Duty WW2, is using a WHOLE system dedicated to the use of microtransactions. Pretty Good Gaming, a YouTube channels covers this story. “For example, in one implementation, the system may include a microtransaction engine that arranges matches to influence game-related purchases”.
Microtransactions and loot boxes are becoming so concerning that a petition was created in the UK to try and make gambling laws focused on video games as well. In the UK, if an online petition accumulates more than 10000 votes it must be investigated by the government.
The petition is here. However, only UK citizens can vote.
PC Gamers covers the story here.
The video game industry is changing rapidly and the direction it is travelling is not for everyone and thus, many individuals are becoming vocal about their concern.
Now I will leave you with a few questions. Do you believe loot boxes to be a form of gambling? Also, do you believe microtransactions should be welcomed into more video games? Why? Why not?