The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

Loot Boxes Are Taking a Toll On the Gaming Community

Photo Taken From CGMagazine
Screenshot of a loot box from the critically acclaimed “Overwatch” by Blizzard Entertainment. Loot boxes in “Overwatch” thankfully only contain cosmetic items.

In the early days of video games, it was a simpler time, a time where you would buy a game and the full finished game would come with it virtually bug-free with no future updates and most importantly, no loot boxes. You would have to earn or grind your way to new weapons or cosmetics. Nowadays, loot boxes are everywhere in the gaming world and it’s starting to take a toll on the community of players who have to deal with them every day which is why we should get rid of them.

Now for those who don’t know what loot boxes are in modern games, allow me to explain. Loot boxes are a publisher’s way to monetize their game after the initial purchase of said game by the consumer. These loot boxes typically work by the consumer purchasing a single or pack of boxes from which they can open. Inside these boxes, the player gets three items at random that can consist of cosmetic items such as skins, emotes or voice lines.

However, the problem with loot boxes arises when games include items that give in-game advantages such as better weapons or abilities other than what is given in the base game, introducing a pay to win system within the game, so that the player with the biggest paycheck will win regardless of skill level within the game.

Photo Taken From Reddit User:“u/I_am_a_Failer”
Screenshot of the newly released game “Apex Legends” loot box system that shows users before they buy a loot pack their odds of winning items.

Some developers or supporters of a game would try to justify these loot boxes, saying that it’s only a fraction of what these companies make on a single game. The latest “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” for example, according to Forbes, sold $500 million on its launch weekend, making it the best selling game of 2018. More than enough to keep the servers live. Even games like “Battlefield 5” that sold poorly in 2018 made around $400 Million in total. Keeping these number in mind, it would be sensible to say that these companies don’t need to have microtransactions to keep games running, but what about to free games like the newly released “Apex Legends,” do they need to have loot boxes to be successful?

Well, as much as it pains me to bring up the example of “Fortnite,” it’s inevitable when talking about a subject like this. “Fortnite” has without a doubt shown how successful a free-to-play game can be without any randomized loot boxes by making an estimated 2.4 billion dollars in 2018 alone according to Dexerto. Granted you can buy a plethora of in-game items, however, they aren’t randomized, you know exactly what you are getting when you purchase an item and they give no in-game advantages like they do in games like “Destiny.”

Photo Taken From Gamepedia
Screenshot of the “Fortnite” Season 6 Battle Pass. If you don’t have the time to grind out whatever item you want, you even have the option to buy tiers.

A trend I’ve noticed going on with new games coming out is the uprise of Battle Passes. The Battle Pass is the one thanks I can give “Fortnite” as it made room for another form of monetization that was fair, supported the game and most importantly didn’t make the consumer feel like they were getting ripped off.

The way it works is the player buys said Battle Pass every new season of a game which lasts for around two months. Within this Battle Pass, you get 100 tiers that you can unlock by playing the game and completing challenges, with each tier unlocked, a new item is unlocked and added to your inventory. This system is superior to the loot boxes that are used and it’s cool to see games coming out taking this new route.

While games like “Apex Legends” do have loot boxes, they are improving the system by giving the consumer their chances of winning an item before they purchasing a loot box. They even go as far to guarantee items once you open a certain amount of boxes. Developer Respawn Entertainment has also announced that sometime in the month of March, there will be a Battle Pass implemented into the game along with some guaranteed content regardless if you buy the Battle Pass or not. This is giving players an option to try their luck at winning an item versus grinding it out.

In the end, video game publishers and developers are businesses and businesses exist to make money. While it might suck that loot boxes may never disappear from games completely, all we can do now is support games with monetization that is fair to the consumer and hope that in the future more games will choose different ways to monetize their games.

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Comments (2)

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  • J

    Josh HamiltonMar 7, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Halo 5 is the worst example of loot boxes in any sort of game. In previous Halo games, everything was unlocked via playing the game and unlocking achievements (even in Halo 4, which was developed by 343 Industries, the same company that obviously developed Halo 5). In Halo 5, there is only 7 items out of the nearly 600+ items in the game to collect. In the gamemode Warzone, you literally do not earn any power or loadout weapon by leveling up. In order to play Warzone with the best weapons and vehicles, you need to open loot boxes. Almost everything in the Halo 5 sandbox is completely monetized by the loot box system. Although personally I don’t mind it as I’ve just been playing for over a year now, it definitely ticks me off to see a level 5 with the best loadout weapon that he bought and got out of a loot box.

  • D

    Darius RahmanianMar 6, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    >inb4 muh games as a service
    >inb4 fortnite/apex legends/pubg casuals who buy into the schemes
    >inb4 muh free content
    Based and Drewpilled

    Stop buying cosmetics and encouraging rng loot box and games as a service as a main way to deliver content. If we gamers do indeed live within something that can be ascertained to be called and denominated as something as a “society” then we have risen up and struck down EA. Gamers the time is now, we live in something called a “society” wherein binging netflix is seen as healthy and playing two hours of video games is not. If our actions are not those of “justice” and we do not take “the first napkin” then we are doomed to be slaves of our own desires. GAmers rise uP