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Games Loot Box

Published on May 16th, 2018 | by voxx


The Monetization of Gaming

Within the last few years modern video games have started following various trends. Some are good, but a few of them have mixed reviews. One of these trends, micro transactions, is one that has a lot of gamers up in arms, saying they should not be in the games they love. To give a little insight, micro transactions are added pieces of purchasable content for games, where players can spend additional money to unlock extra content.

Normally, this would not be much of an issue as some of these micro transactions can be cosmetic only and not affect the game’s balance, but with more modern games it has changed to where now micro transactions can actually affect the balance of the game and make it more “pay to win”, as a lot of gamers call it. This has sparked uproar as now most modern triple A title games have some sort of micro transactions that favor players who are willing to spend more money to gain an advantage.

One triple A game that is a good example is Star Wars Battlefront 2, a first person shooter released in November 2017. When the game was first revealed it got a lot of attention as it looked visually stunning and game play looked very enjoyable, especially to those who have played games such as Battlefield or Call of duty. However, when the game’s free open beta came out, players soon found out there were loot boxes, and micro transaction that gave players random extra loot were purchasable for real money  within the beta. While you could earn them for free through game play, it wasn’t enough to calm down fans as the game’s main source of progression is through these loot boxes, making it more pay to win – the more you spent, the more loot you got.

Due to this huge controversy, a lot of people have little to no faith in EA anymore and naturally still have their eyes on EA, in the event they tried to add micro transactions back into the game. Due to poor sales and wanting to make more money off the player base that did buy it, it was teased by the company that they would potentially be adding them back in. This was said after a company discussion around 31 January 2018, and this once again led to a lot of controversy as the company had also hardly released any of the promised free content for the game, with only two free maps being released at the time of writing this article.

EA is not the only company to be held accountable for this, as companies such as Warner Brothers and Activision have also been hit with heavy criticisms for including micro transactions in their games. Warner brothers were hit with massive backlash with the release of Middle Earth: Shadow of War, sequel to their hit game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Shadow of War was criticized for having micro transactions implemented in an attempt to follow a trend set by companies like EA and Activision. This one had upset players more, however, as the game is an offline single player game. Yet they had implemented loot boxes to obtain more loot and soldiers, and the player could form their own army of orcs.

This outraged players as they served no purpose being in a game of this nature, so much so that they we’re recently completely removed from the game altogether, resulting in the company giving an apology for doing this in the first place. This, like the EA backlash back in November over their Star Wars game, served as an example of gamers being sick of this type of content being added into their beloved games, band yet some publishers still choose to monetize their games in the same manner.

Activision have too implemented loot boxes into their Call of Duty games over the last few years, since the release of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Their latest release, Call of Duty: WW2, pleased fans for its return to boots on the ground based game play, as opposed to the futuristic approach they had been known for since Advanced Warfare, but players till found issues with its monetization. Not only did they have loot boxes within the game, but with the introduction to the game’s first ever hub world system they enabled players to see each other open loot boxes as well to see what each of them was getting from each box. The company tried having this fact overshadowed by loot boxes not being purchasable with real money for its first few weeks, and by the fact they made them very easy to obtain for free throughout the game.

Unlike EA or Warner Brothers, they have not removed them from the game due to them being a big money maker, not just for this game but for a lot of the games that use loot boxes. This is why they have become such a popular trend in modern games in recent years. Companies from different countries have started taking action in trying to have these removed from games in the future, due to the fact that a lot of people see loot boxes as gambling, but due to how much money they make it seems less and less likely to happen. It’s for this reason that gamers are desperate for change and want to see these loot boxes gone for good, so they need not worry of any pay to win aspects in their games anymore. Hopefully, this is a trend that will die out sooner rather than later.

- By Jordan Blythin

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