This is about two days old now, but we need to talk about this. If you’re an avid gamer, you would’ve had some experience with loot boxes by now; and chances are you’ve also decided where you stand on the matter. Made popular by the likes of Team Fortress and Counter Strike: Global Offensive (albeit for cosmetic skins and hats only) as well as mobile games (for currency, items and energy).
American giants EA are notorious for the way they incorporate loot boxes into their titles of late – think the newer FIFA titles as well as Star Wars: Battlefront 2; both AAA games that warrant full price charges that have scummy loot box mechanics for player packs in Ultimate Team for FIFA and playable classes and items for SW: BF2.
A large portion of the gaming community have voiced their distaste for such implementations of loot boxes – and it seems like EA haven’t learned their lesson. In an attempt to slither their way around a legal hearing against loot boxes, EA representatives have called loot boxes “surprise mechanics” – we can’t even right now.
Part of the issue with loot boxes is the purported gambling aspect of it, especially when actual money comes into the picture. Skin trading sites for CS:GO are popular and was one of the primary focuses of the anti-loot box campaign, because gun skins in the game can fetch a pricey sum.
Now, when you talk about player packs in FIFA Ultimate Team, you’re talking about players spending real money on coins, to be spent on packs, that played around with odds. The chances of you getting a player that 90+ rated in a Gold Pack in FIFA is about 3.4% according to FIFA UTeam – making try-hard players spend money on points to purchase more and more packs.
In a game where “scripting” is very real, you need the very best players in your squad to stand a chance – and therefore you have the need for more spending to get in-form players and what not. It’s turning out to favour EA’s wallets – but now they have the nerve to call it “surprise mechanics” when the games they make are inherently reliant on loot boxes and player packs.
If you’d like to see a positive change in the matter, stop buying the products of developers who’re notorious for adding loot boxes; and stop buying said loot boxes too. Support those that put players first, and perhaps then, we might see some change.