Lootboxes and Microtransactions
Louis Hughes: What sets gaming on consoles/PC apart from mobile gaming is how mobile games rely on these methods to turn a profit, since most mobile users wouldn’t dare pay more than $0.99 cents for a game. To put it simply, gaming on mobile is fast food, while gaming on console/PC is a full coarse meal. Well, it seems that some gaming companies have taken note of the profits made in mobile and started implementing these practices in big releases. The first instance I remember was in Forza Motorsport 5 with the launch of Xbox One.
After the success of Overwatch, I’ve notice more games using the lootbox method. I’m fine with the method, as long it’s for fun (unlocking costumes, etc), but using them to unlock perks I feel is wrong. It seems that most games would be going in this direction, but enough was enough when the most anticipated game (Star Wars Battlefront II) would be released with these features causing enough outcry to have it removed from the game. I understand some people (me) don’t have the free time we used to. Using the pay-to win scheme was meant for those people, but now it’s being abused to the point where I expect a DLC to unlock the ending.
Overall, I feel mobile gaming practices have infected the home gaming market, and because of this, people who prefer to level up their characters organically are being punished. Who knows, maybe they can find a way to have the features included without alienating the core based consumer.
Andre Calvert: In the growing world of video games it is important to hold those developers accountable who utilize anti-consumer business practices. In 2017 we saw this play out in real-time against Electronic Arts with Star Wars Battlefront II. Gaming becoming expensive as it is, but putting in game mechanics that are deceptive that drive players to further open their wallet destroys the gaming experiences we all know and love. 2017 was an outlier as far as backlash goes for microtransactions, but moving forward companies will be more brazen about it and it will be up to us, the gamers, to call them out on it with our wallets by not buying the game. Star Wars Battlefront II already had a suspicious microscope on it, but other games in the future wont. It is important that gamers be educated about all the microtransactions for a given game before purchase and for video game journalists to ask the tough questions when they are given access and the opportunity to do so.
Developers and publishers, we are watching you.