DEV-Talk 2.3 – Loot Boxes

Welcome Back Travelers!!

 

Seems we were caught in a bit of a wormhole there and this post didn’t get sent out yesterday.  This week we are on Part 2 of our three part discussion and today we are focusing on Loot Boxes!

Lately there has been a lot of bad publicity surrounding the concept of loot boxes, and several countries have considered them to be gambling.  While I believe this is an over-exaggeration, they are kind of right.  For those who don’t understand loot boxes function like slot machines, there are X number of prizes with varying degrees of chance you will receive these rewards.  Now, I have no problem with this concept, until you introduce real money to the equation.  To understand the different types of loot boxes, we will look at 3 prime examples, League of Legends, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CSGO).

 

Overwatch

We will begin here since Overwatch seems to be garnering the most attention despite there being worse culprits when it comes to loot boxes.  In Overwatch loot boxes contain only cosmetic items, nothing that affects gameplay in anyway which is very important.  If it affected gameplay, it would create the pay to win mechanic we see in too many apps and games.  Next, while you can purchase loot boxes for real money, you do have the ability to earn a significant number just by playing the game.  You get boxes from events/special gamemodes, 3 a week from arcade wins, and a box everytime you level up.  So by just playing a couple hours a week and getting 9 arcade wins, I can usually average about 8-10 boxes a week, and the rarity of loot is distributed pretty well so you get a nice spread of items.  So with all this, I really don’t understand why people and countries are vilifying Overwatch for gambling, as I see no incentive to purchase loot boxes.

 

League of Legends

League loot boxes are similar in nature to Overwatch, they contain cosmetic items, but they also contain playable characters which is were League differs.  In League you unlock only the characters you wish to play, and you can use in game currency to do this, however its slow, which drives people to spend real money to make those purchases.  Now they cut back on the incentive to spend real money with the edition of loot boxes which are earned through skillful gameplay, good sportsmanship, and a couple other methods, but these loot boxes now contain champions and other purchasable cosmetic items that used to require money.  So they have been a nice new feature to the game, of course you can still buy them with real money, but I don’t find it necessary unless I have some extra RP.  The main difference from Overwatch though is keys, no boxes unless you have a key…  Keys are significantly harder to get than loot boxes, increasing the likelihood players will purchase them.  So League gets a mixed review, some good and some bad.

 

CSGO

There isn’t much good to say about CSGO’s loot boxes besides the fact that they are only cosmetic items.  CSGO loot boxes, keys, and skins/stickers actually have real money value and can be bought and sold for a variety of prices in the Steam marketplace.  this has also sparked the creation of CSGO Gambling Websites, yes actual gambling for skins which you can in turn sell for money.  There have even been lawsuits brought against CSGO Gambling Sites, one in particular was run by a prominent YouTuber who promoted one website on his channel and showed videos of him winning big, however never disclosed that he was the owner of the site.  That’s a big no in the eyes of the Federal Government.  Bottom line, stay away from CSGO loot boxes, cause they are actually gambling.

 

Well we covered a lot in this post, ranging from acceptable to completely unacceptable on the verge of being banned and/or sued for gambling.  I would like to here some of your guys thoughts on loot boxes and check back next week for DEV-Talk 2.6 – DLC!!

See you on the dark side of the moon travelers!!

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