Video Game Loot Boxes to be Addressed by Console Makers

By | 09/08/2019
Video Game Loot Boxes to be Addressed by Console Makers

 

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Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have pledged to enforce a fairer system for video game loot boxes by companies such as EA, Ubisoft and Activision for any games on their consoles.


In a bold move in favour of gambling restrictions in video games, major console manufacturers are to begin addressing the loot box issue in games released for their machines.

While an outright ban is not coming into effect, console manufacturers Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will require game developers to disclose to customers the probability of receiving a high-quality item when they purchase a loot box in any game for any of their systems.

Sony to Attend More Game Conferences in 2019

While this isn’t a legal requirement, large game publishers such as Ubisoft, Activision and Electronic Arts have reportedly already agreed to changes to the loot box system.

The reason for the move comes as watchdogs and indeed parents all over the world are becoming concerned about the gambling aspect of loot boxes as well as the overspending that can occur as gamers try to get desired items.

Overwatch Loot Box
Overwatch Loot Box

Loot boxes are an in-game item that usually contains multiple items for a game with the chance of containing a rare and powerful item.

More often than not, the player usually receives numerous low-quality items as the odds of winning a rare item are evidently extremely low with no way of knowing what you are going to get.

The proposed new system will display a probability percentage of obtaining a particular item when purchasing and opening a loot box with the hopes of discouraging the gambling element of the loot box system.

For the past couple of years or so loot boxes have been both a source of controversy in the games industry and a source of frustration for gamers.

Electronic Arts, for example, employed a nefarious system to their loot box transactions that facilitated a “Pay to win” paradigm, something that they consequently removed after a tirade of angry complaints.

Battlefront II Loot Box
Battlefront II Loot Box

However, as these developers and publishers may seem to welcome these changes, it would be reasonable to suspect that they may secretly be reeling by the console manufacturers’ decisions.

Loot boxes earn a lot of money for particular games with EA’s FIFA Ultimate Team feature accounting for 28% of the company’s revenue in 2018 and according to a Juniper Research paper, the loot box and skin gambling system is projected to earn the industry $50 billion by 2022.

FIFA Loot Box
FIFA Ultimate Team Loot Box

Even though I welcome the changes, I still think paid-for loot boxes have no place in modern video games and should be banned outright as Belgium has recently done so for games aimed at persons under the age of 18.

Loot boxes are indeed gambling and even while the odds may be disclosed, they are certain to be very low and I do not think this will discourage many children who may still not understand the system or indeed many gamers who may already be addicted to a loot box system.

Some of the systems already in place are insidious in nature and take an extreme departure from the usual system of DLC purchasing.

Star Trek Online, for example, has many talented designers and artists creating high-quality new starships on a regular basis.

However, in recent years only a handful have been released to purchase outright with some of the better ships only available via their expensive “lock box” system.

Star Trek Online Lock Box
Star Trek Online Lock Box

A troubling aspect of this recent news concerning the new system is that this seems to be a formal acknowledgment by the three console manufacturers that they approve of a developer’s right to include loot boxes.

To me, this is an indication that loot boxes are going to be around for a while so long as it is made clear that they are a gamble and until they are banned outright which I believe will never happen, they are here to stay.


Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

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4 thoughts on “Video Game Loot Boxes to be Addressed by Console Makers

  1. Ronald Otochi

    Am not big into video games anymore but its good to see the industry going in a more positive direction. Until I read you article, I had no idea about loot boxes but, it was easy to follow along with your article.

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Hi Ronald and thanks for commenting.

      Loot boxes are becoming a real issue in the games industry. If you have children and they use your platforms, make sure you have restricted access to credit card details as there usually aren’t any checks for purchases once they have been setup.

      I am glad you found the article useful.

      Thanks,
      Michael.

      Reply
  2. Vesna

    Hi Michael, well there is some new information for me about video games; I will inform my children because they know more about that. Thanks on nice post!

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Hi Vesna.

      Thanks for your comments.

      A lot of parents aren’t aware of the need for vigilance in modern video games.

      If you have set up an account with a platform; Xbox, PS4 etc. unless you specifically set restrictions then there aren’t usually any extra checks when buying items and loot boxes for games.

      Glad I could help,
      Michael.

      Reply

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