EA currently has its tail tucked between its legs thanks to the U.S Govt and the Belgium Gambling Commision. But the credit for the world taking notice of predatory loot box practices goes to us, the gamers. EA got overzealous with its loot boxes system and has not only screwed over the gamers but other publishers who were trying to introduce progression based loot boxes in their games.
EA reverted its loot boxes system after backlash from the community. While the changes are temporary the effects of what has happened are going to be permanent. EA’s Anthem, Battlefront 3, its Single Player Star Wars game, all are going to be affected by this.
It’s a major win for the gaming community who stood together but by no means, loot boxes are going away for good when the dust settles. Costs of game development are going up all the time and each year AAA games require more money to develop.
It is understandable that publishers look for more ways to monetize their games on top of the base $60 price tag. And you can bet a million dollars that loot boxes are here to stay, not going anywhere.
Gamers need to understand that loot boxes aren’t toxic if done right. Sadly, greedy publishers like EA turned the loot boxes system into a poisonous snake ready to bite those playing EA games, the snake? “It’s in the game.”
Thanks to EA, loot boxes are now considered gambling and aren’t healthy for children playing such games. This has been clearly established by Belgium’s Gaming Commision as the regulatory body now looks to ban random loot boxes across Europe.
Loot boxes, as they stand now, are based on chance and anything based on chance is gambling. The situation got so out of control that publisher EA tried to lock progression behind extensive grind in order to promote loot boxes.
But since I don’t think loot boxes are going anywhere, what options do publishers have now? Well, the problem is with “randomness.” First, progression should not be associated with loot boxes and secondly, whatever you buy in-game must be revealed from the beginning. Whatever (cosmetic only) item they have inside the loot boxes is something players must be made aware of.
You need to know what you are paying for instead of leaving the contents of the loot box up to chance. Overwatch is a great example of non-intrusive loot boxes but they are also random, which needs to change as well.
Publishers can monetize their games by selling extra content through in-game shops, for sure, they need to make money. But the element of “chance” and “randomness” must go away. And this is most probable road publisher will go down after the dust of loot box controversy settles.