Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Loot Box Controversy

We can not go two seconds in this world without some sort of debacle happening.  Either our world leaders are acting like children or worse and we are looking down both barrels in the media about really anything.  Wait!  I have games to fall back on.  Surely the industry will not let me down.  I am most assured that the latest entertainment in this field will take away my worries!  NOPE!  Here we are, left standing with shit in both hands and nothing else to do with it except through it around.

We are standing in the wake of one of the latest fiasco's in the video game industry.  I am talking about loot boxes.  If you are not familiar with this scam masquerading as just harmless micro-transactions, let me help educate you.  Micro-transactions were just the beginning and still exist today.  These are typically smaller transactions for individual items.  Sometimes these items are purely cosmetic and sometimes they give players a gained advantage in whatever game they are purchasing for.  The only real difference with a loot box is that you have a chance at multiple items, but you still pay real-world currency for them.  You are really only guaranteed a chance at certain types of items with these.

So how do these items hurt us?  Well, it is incentive for what is quite simply gambling.  Now, if you're an adult making the decision to spend your money on a game of chance, then you are legally within your rights to do so.  What makes the waters muddy is that teens and children have access to this as well.  It is more harmful to teens than anything.  Teens can get a job, gain access to some sort of card technology, and spend that money without having to get parental permission.  It is illegal in all states for anyone under the age of 18 to gamble.  End of discussion.  Through loot crates though, the argument is being made that the video game industry has found away to disguise it as nothing more than items that help expand a players experience. 

Does it though?  Most of the time, these items are cosmetic and do not do anything to expand the way players experience the world they play in.  Many mobile games have a pay-to-win model.  This is where players pay for gained advantages.  This can range from better weapons to quicker acquisition of resources.  It gives those that have the money and advantage over all other players that do not or simply do not want to play that way.

I have never been a fan of the micro-transaction/loot box model of business.  It is a business decision for a company to leech more money out of players, plain and simple.  I have always believed that a full experience should be provided from the beginning and if a company would like to expand the game further, create expansions.  This is something we already see in DLC packs.  Gamers are speaking out against this new move in the industry.  Many of us are upset with it and believe it to be creating an imbalance.  The problem is that there will always be enough players to invest in these sorts of scams.

So what can we do to combat it?  It is hard to say, right now, how it would be best to do so.  Congress is looking at it, but lawmakers are more concerned with bigger issues.  The most we can do as a community is to let our voices be heard by the companies.  The best way to do that is by not giving them your hard earned cash.  Companies like Activision, EA, and Ubisoft are all about the bottom line at the end of the day.  They always want to be in the black, but we have the power to make that number small or put them in the red.  We have to make the industry realize that consumers hold the power.  It isn't like we aren't willing to go retro or pick up indie titles.  Most of the time, this is much more rewarding anyways.

This is my unorganized two cents on the matter.  I do not like it.  Have never liked it and will continue not to.  This will not change and I will continue saving my hard earned dollars for projects that deserve it.  Thanks for reading and let me know what you think! 

1 comment:

  1. I agree 100%. I am hoping that Battlefront 2 will continue to get it's head out of it's ass as well. As I really enjoy the game. I think they should take a long hard look at mobile games as well. Most of character draws or weapon draws ECT are gambling as well and need to changed. It's extremely easy for teens and young kids to get lost on these as well.