While gamers the world around hate loot boxes and gambling commissions that aren’t paid off are actively sanctioning publishers and enforcing existing gambling laws to prevent loot boxes from being utilized in games without a proper gambling license, publishers like Ubisoft and Electronic Arts continue to “push forward” with the loot box craze, which is essentially virtual gambling.
A Ubisoft representative hopped into a thread over on the Steam forums to explain and justify why big publishers rely on loot boxes in their games. DSO Gaming also screen-capped the response just in case Ubisoft has the rep to delete it. Anyway, the rep, going by the handle Ubi_Warlock, stated…
“As has been pointed out, these loot crates are purely cosmetic. I do appreciate why players feel the way they do about them (not a huge fan myself), however, as it was also pointed out, you can always just not buy them.
“Ultimately, they’re intended for players who want something to help them stand out from the crowd when playing online, or even just those who are big fans of the game and want to support us further.
“Yes, it means that some players end up spending more on our games than others and that does result in increased profits for us. It also helps us to put more money into new titles and to understand what players look for in their games. If players simply didn’t buy these crates, they would not be added into games in future.
“All in all, loot crates / cosmetic items in general have been a huge boon for the Gaming Industry, being a driving factor in the increased popularity of Gaming over the past decade or so.
“They aren’t a bad thing if done right.
”Your feedback on the topic is still very much appreciated as this is a hotly debated topic. I do hope you consider the impact it would actually have on your enjoyment of the game though”
That’s actually incorrect about loot boxes making gaming more popular.
- Star Wars: Battlefront II sold 9 million copies following the loot box fiasco according to PC Gamer, down from the 13 million that Star Wars: Battlefront I sold two years earlier, as reported by IGN.
- Since 2017, 13% of gamers have stopped buying new games to focus on their back catalog, according to a report from Nielsen Media.
- Product sales for games have been decreasing while spending from whales have been compensating via microtransactions. As noted by GameDaily.biz, fewer games are being made by big publishers, but they’re making more money on monetary systems such as cash shops and loot boxes. This isn’t a sign of growth but one of decline.
As pointed out by Game Fragger, a lot of people buy a lot of things and so that’s what the market responds to. Likewise, a lot of people gamble when gambling is made accessible, but that doesn’t necessarily mean gambling is a good thing. In fact, Belgium and the Netherlands put a halt to loot boxes because the gambling commissions actually enforced the law by recognizing that they are gambling, and therefore publishers need a gambling license to include premium loot boxes in their games.
Any company proud of being able to skirt gambling laws to get kids (and adults) hooked on loot boxes really isn’t a friend of gaming at all. How does gambling addiction bolstering profits for a publicly traded company help benefit gamers?
While Warlock attempts to say that companies like Ubisoft can use the profits to build more games, we haven’t actually seen any games coming out where it justifies the negative impact loot boxes have had on the industry. There still isn’t a single first-person shooter made that rivals the mechanics and visual fidelity of the original Crysis, which came out back in 2007.
Some websites are actually calling Ubisoft out for the comment, with AltChar astutely pointing out…
“Just because loot boxes can be cosmetic does not mean they are justified, as the company is knowingly removing the players’ ability to purchase said cosmetics directly and is forcing them into gambling in order to maximise profits.”
This is true.
Previously gamers would grind through a game to unlock new content, such as better weapons, armor, and customizable gear. Nowadays gamers typically have to pay for those items from the cash shop on top of spending $20, $30, $40, $50, or $60 for the base game.
As mentioned above by the Ubisoft rep, they claim that this is to give people options to standout from the crowd, but why not just let people unlock those items by actually playing the game?
It’s quite transparent and everyone can see through the facade that it’s a psychological trick to get people to spend real money on loot boxes and cash shop items.
This isn’t an opinion, either. There are multiple studies breaking down the science behind loot boxes and their addictive qualities. There was a video by The Game Theorists that succinctly compiles the data into a 12 minute feature.
Thankfully, the gamers from the Steam forum thread were not readily convinced by Warlock’s attempts to goad them into believing that loot boxes are here for the benefit of gamers. Majority of the respones were that they would not be buying Trials Rising since it will be featuring loot boxes. The highlighted comment in the thread by the original topic creator is also a very honest rebuttal to the Ubisoft representative, pointing out that loot boxes have done nothing but ruin video games.
“They ruined games. i remember when getting cool item/armour actually meant playing game and achieving something. Now all you need is to swipe credit card or play the game you bought while looking generic and uninspiring because all the artists are working on mtx content and base content needs to look like garbage to incentivise lootbox gambling.
“Anyways i wont be buying this game because you are clearly lying and being scum about it not hurting game. look at Rainbow Six: Siege. in 3 years you have not created playable ranked multiplayer and your only priorities are to mass produce skins and add more and more new characters that are not properly balanced to profit off them and their new skins.”
No arguments here.
Trials Rising is due for release on home consoles and PC on February 12th, 2019.