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Loot Boxes On Any Scale Harms Impulse Buyers

Star Wars: Battlefront II loot box
Darron Dixon
Darron Dixon
Feb 5 • 2 min read


Loot boxes angered many gamers because it affected everyone who would play it. But what about games like Overwatch where the loot boxes claim to be 'Cosmetic' only?

Last year the big controversy was over Star Wars Battlefront 2's level-up progression that was a heavy grind without the purchase of loot boxes to speed up the time it took.

To an average person, the idea of loot boxes may irritate you but ultimately be something you brush off and forget if it ends up being something minimal to the game such as it is in Overwatch. This is not such an easy thing to do for everyone though; some people struggle with the temptation of the possibility of getting a legendary skin or another such rare occurrence found inside these loot boxes.

While this is a small minority of the player population of these games, it has the potential to ruin their lives by taking advantage of the vices gripping them from the inside where no one can visually see. I don't mean to single out Overwatch specifically; I am only using it as the singular example because most people view it as one of the better business models for loot boxes being done "right".

My main point is there should not be a scale of good and bad when it comes to loot boxes because when it comes down to it, loot boxes are gambling. Sure, you can technically get a guaranteed thing but the majority of the time it is never worth the money you pay or never what you actually wanted out of the box.

What I wish could happen is a more positive search by the industry as a whole for a way to monetize games without harming the people who struggle with impulses or addictions. Whether that means adding more expansions, downloadable content, or microtransactions I'm not sure, but I don't see loot boxes continuing as they are unchecked without massive consequences to the health and safety of the people who consume them on a regular basis.

On the other side of this come the legal ramifications of letting loot boxes run rampant. Will this lead to the government enforcing laws to control how things are implemented in video games from now on? This could easily become a slippery slope that no one wants to go down if companies and publishers don't stop just seeing dollar signs and start seeing the people they're affecting. I understand that some games have what is known as "whales" which is where a wealthy person will spend hundreds of dollars on usually cosmetic things, and I am completely okay with people who are in a mentally healthy and financially sound situation doing so in those situations.

Do you feel similarly about loot boxes or do you feel like they have a lasting place in the gaming world? Let us know how you feel about this divisive issue in the comments below.

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