On the heels of Middle-earth: Shadow of War and the Star Wars Battlefront II Beta, lootcrates have been the topic of many conversations in the gaming world. The core questions: Why does this anti-consumer business practice exist in triple A video games? Also, what should gamers do in response?
Let’s get a few things out of the way. First, microtransactions have been a long-time practice in gaming, especially free-to-play and mobile games. They are bits and pieces of a game behind a pay wall, whether it be cosmetic or integral to the game’s progression.
Second, there are way too many variables to consider when having this argument: Are lootboxes okay in multiplayer modes but not singleplayer? Are lootboxes for cosmetics okay but not for gameplay purposes in a $60 title? Does buying the game with said lootcrates consider it an “okay” to the publishers of that game to include lootboxes in future games? With the huge costs of game development, are these minor fees justifiable for the company to make back its spent money? What about the infamous ultimate editions and season passes? What about online gaming on consoles and that being paywalled? Amiibos anyone?
A lot of these questions and many more fall into a black, white, or grey answer. In other words, it’s extremely complicated.
On the latest of episode Weapon Wheel Podcast, Jimmy and Blackbond had a “heated”, to say the least, discussion on whether buying Middle-earth: Shadow of War was supporting the malpractices of lootcrates. A few days later, we see multiple videos and articles explaining how the lootcrates in SoW are completely unnecessary. So, why have them?
The answer: The publisher, Warner Bros., is a greedy corporation. EA, greedy corporation. Ubisoft, greedy. Sony, greedy. Microsoft, greedy. You get my point.
As long as these business see profits, they are going to act on those trends. They are businesses after all.
Sadly, as Hard8times mentioned in a recent video, it’ll never change because we are the minority. Me, writing this article and you reading it, are the minority of gamers who want to take a stand against these malpractices.
Yes, you can vote with your wallet, and it is effective as we can potentially see with the seemingly low sales of Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite and past intances. But it won’t work for every game. In that sense, is not buying the game you’re really excited for worth the stance? Is sacrificing your entertainment and how you spend your money worth the effect it may or may not have? That’s the conundrum I’m sure a lot of us are having given the state of video games.
This article is meant to open discussion, so leave a comment on your opinion of the matter. I’ll leave a video by Hard8 and Blackbond regarding their stances, and maybe it’ll help you with your decision as it did with mine.
And another thing, let’s keep it a civil conversation. No need for immaturity here.