21 votes

Want Overwatch to get rid of loot boxes? It might get more expensive

68 comments

  1. [26]
    lemon-fresh (edited ) Link
    As you may have ascertained from the title I'm a little surprised that a major press outlet would try and write an article seemingly defending the practice on the grounds that it could make the...

    As you may have ascertained from the title I'm a little surprised that a major press outlet would try and write an article seemingly defending the practice on the grounds that it could make the game more expensive. I personally feel lootboxes are a pretty predatory practice and have been happy to see them getting removed from more and more games.

    Thoughts?

    Edit:
    Would also like to include this wonderful breakdown of the article that Jim Sterling put together:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Teaq9waj7kw

    I certainly agree with a lot of his criticisms.

    20 votes
    1. [14]
      Deimos Link Parent
      (I changed the title to match the article's since we're trying to stay away from editorialization in titles, but originally it was "Polygon article defending overwatch's lootboxes?!")

      (I changed the title to match the article's since we're trying to stay away from editorialization in titles, but originally it was "Polygon article defending overwatch's lootboxes?!")

      17 votes
      1. lemon-fresh Link Parent
        Sorry about that, thx! :)

        Sorry about that, thx! :)

        2 votes
      2. [13]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. [11]
          Deimos Link Parent
          I don't understand what you're asking.

          I don't understand what you're asking.

          8 votes
          1. [11]
            Comment deleted by author
            Link Parent
            1. [10]
              Deimos Link Parent
              It already is, in the Topic Log in the sidebar.

              It already is, in the Topic Log in the sidebar.

              15 votes
              1. [10]
                Comment deleted by author
                Link Parent
                1. [2]
                  Celeo Link Parent
                  That's been discussed before; the consensus is that the topic log to the right is sufficient for tracking title, group, and tag changes,

                  That's been discussed before; the consensus is that the topic log to the right is sufficient for tracking title, group, and tag changes,

                  4 votes
                  1. [2]
                    Comment deleted by author
                    Link Parent
                    1. Rocket_Man Link Parent
                      Why do we need to point it out though? It's logged and easily accessed so anyone who wants to check it can. We could add an asterisk, or some other indicator but why does it need to be there. By...

                      Why do we need to point it out though? It's logged and easily accessed so anyone who wants to check it can. We could add an asterisk, or some other indicator but why does it need to be there. By editing the title you're explicitly trying to draw attention away from what it was previously.

                      6 votes
                2. [7]
                  Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                  Why? What benefit would it provide to have a visible mark showing that title was edited? What's the purpose for this feature?

                  That is nice, seems like there needs to be a mark on the topic itself though

                  Why? What benefit would it provide to have a visible mark showing that title was edited? What's the purpose for this feature?

                  1 vote
                  1. [7]
                    Comment deleted by author
                    Link Parent
                    1. apoctr Link Parent
                      The topic log already does that. Why does the fact it's been edited need to be made even more explicit?

                      The topic log already does that. Why does the fact it's been edited need to be made even more explicit?

                      4 votes
                    2. [5]
                      Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                      Why do you need to know that the title was edited?

                      Why do you need to know that the title was edited?

                      3 votes
                      1. [5]
                        Comment deleted by author
                        Link Parent
                        1. [3]
                          Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                          As a couple of other people have already pointed out, the change is listed in the Topic Log. There's your transparency. Not everything needs to be displayed on the front page. A clean UI requires...

                          As a couple of other people have already pointed out, the change is listed in the Topic Log. There's your transparency. Not everything needs to be displayed on the front page. A clean UI requires simplicity and a lack of clutter. There's a specific place where changes to topics are listed. If you want to see those changes, simply open the Topic Log.

                          5 votes
                          1. [3]
                            Comment deleted by author
                            Link Parent
                            1. [2]
                              Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                              Only by you. I recommend that you make a post in ~tildes about this, if it bothers you that much. Find out what other users think about markers for edited titles.

                              As has been pointed out before, the log is clearly insufficient from UI design standpoint.

                              Only by you.

                              I recommend that you make a post in ~tildes about this, if it bothers you that much. Find out what other users think about markers for edited titles.

                              5 votes
                              1. [2]
                                Comment deleted by author
                                Link Parent
                                1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
                                  I'm not talking about votes, I'm talking about you finding out what other people think. Showcase your idea where it's relevant and visible, and get feedback from a wider audience. Lots of other...

                                  I'm not talking about votes, I'm talking about you finding out what other people think. Showcase your idea where it's relevant and visible, and get feedback from a wider audience.

                                  Lots of other people have posted their suggestions for improvements in ~tildes. Why won't you?

                                  3 votes
                        2. Celeo Link Parent
                          Changing titles is a privilege given to a hand-picked group of people, not something that everyone can do. All those people volunteered under knowledge that if they abuse that ability, it will be...

                          Changing titles is a privilege given to a hand-picked group of people, not something that everyone can do. All those people volunteered under knowledge that if they abuse that ability, it will be taken from them permanently.

                          5 votes
        2. apoctr Link Parent
          Deimos has changed post titles several times before, this is no precedent. Certain users who asked Deimos have also gained this capability IIRC, and in the future it will be part of a high-trust...

          Deimos has changed post titles several times before, this is no precedent. Certain users who asked Deimos have also gained this capability IIRC, and in the future it will be part of a high-trust user's moderation abilities. All title changes are shown in the topic log.

          Is this answering your question or did I miss the point?

          1 vote
    2. [10]
      TheJorro (edited ) Link Parent
      This article is specifically about how Overwatch has reached a balance where other games didn't, in the author's opinion. You responded with something about lootboxes in general. But, again, the...

      This article is specifically about how Overwatch has reached a balance where other games didn't, in the author's opinion. You responded with something about lootboxes in general. But, again, the article makes it pretty clear that other games do lootboxes improperly. So it's not like you were opposing this article's general premise, this article's talking about a notable exception.

      So I don't get why you seem so incensed by it.

      What's wrong with a major press outlet publishing an unpopular opinion? Newspapers and publishers have been publishing opposing editorial pieces for centuries.

      Having a different viewpoint on the issue does not mean you should replace its title when presenting it to others with your judgement of the article.

      6 votes
      1. [9]
        lemon-fresh Link Parent
        "This article is specifically about how Overwatch has reached a balance where other games didn't, in the author's opinion. You responded with something about lootboxes in general. But, again, the...

        "This article is specifically about how Overwatch has reached a balance where other games didn't, in the author's opinion. You responded with something about lootboxes in general. But, again, the article makes it pretty clear that other games do lootboxes improperly. So it's not like you were opposing this article's general premise, this article's talking about a notable exception."

        I disagree that overwatch is doing a better job at lootboxes vs other games. Based on the premise that all lootbox practices are particularly predatory due to the fact that they are built around gambling mechanics (I should have made that more clear in my original post).

        "What's wrong with a major press outlet publishing an unpopular opinion? Newspapers and publishers have been publishing opposing editorial pieces for centuries."

        The only wrong thing I see them doing is perpetuating the belief that some paid lootboxes are ok (see above for why I think this is not the case). They can publish whatever they want but I think this particular narrative is damaging to the consumer.

        "Having a different viewpoint on the issue does not mean you should replace its title when presenting it to others with your judgement of the article."

        Yup, my bad. Deimos helped me out and corrected the title within hours of posting. :)

        2 votes
        1. [8]
          TheJorro Link Parent
          But that means you're saying they shouldn't be publishing this opinion at all as a result, which is a bit extreme. It's a stretch to call an opinion piece damaging simply because it expresses an...

          The only wrong thing I see them doing is perpetuating the belief that some paid lootboxes are ok (see above for why I think this is not the case). They can publish whatever they want but I think this particular narrative is damaging to the consumer.

          But that means you're saying they shouldn't be publishing this opinion at all as a result, which is a bit extreme. It's a stretch to call an opinion piece damaging simply because it expresses an opinion you don't agree with. It's not exerting any power or influence unless you put it on a slippery slope. There's nothing wrong with a well-reasoned opinion that runs contrary to one's view.

          1 vote
          1. [7]
            lemon-fresh Link Parent
            Justifying large publishers questionable business practices is the slippery slope we are on and have been for quite some time. Lootboxes inclusion (cosmetic or otherwise) in games ALMOST became...

            Justifying large publishers questionable business practices is the slippery slope we are on and have been for quite some time. Lootboxes inclusion (cosmetic or otherwise) in games ALMOST became standard practice until there was a large outcry.

            I also feel like the article makes a few assumptions in it's justifications. I would recommend taking a look at the supplementary youtube video i posted for a full breakdown and some thoughts on the issue that closely mirror my own.

            1 vote
            1. [6]
              TheJorro Link Parent
              Justification is not a slippery slope. Your response to this justification is the slippery slope: you jumped from "this is an opinion I don't agree with" to "this opinion is damaging". But by what...

              Justification is not a slippery slope. Your response to this justification is the slippery slope: you jumped from "this is an opinion I don't agree with" to "this opinion is damaging". But by what virtue?

              Quite frankly, I'm staying away from commenting on the actual issue (including the Sterling video) because I hate microtransactions myself and don't like their use in general either, but I hate the notion that any reasonable opposing viewpoints should also be shut out more or falsely presented because it's disagreeable more.

              1 vote
              1. [5]
                lemon-fresh Link Parent
                The virtue that I believe that loot boxes inherent gambling mechanics are not consumer friendly. The article is justifying practices that I think are not consumer friendly. This further...

                The virtue that I believe that loot boxes inherent gambling mechanics are not consumer friendly. The article is justifying practices that I think are not consumer friendly. This further perpetuates the idea that loot boxes done this way are ok which could lead to more loot boxes showing up in games.

                I also said that they can publish whatever they want... I'm still allowed to disagree with the article.

                1 vote
                1. [4]
                  TheJorro Link Parent
                  That's not a good enough virtue to make that logical leap. Again, just because you disagree with something does not make an opposing point of view dangerous. If you were merely disagreeing, I...

                  That's not a good enough virtue to make that logical leap. Again, just because you disagree with something does not make an opposing point of view dangerous.

                  If you were merely disagreeing, I wouldn't have an issue. It's that you're actively misrepresenting an opposing viewpoint and making value judgements based on the general premise that I have an issue with. I think you have been critically unfair to this article and are painting is as dangerous on a vague, circumstantial, slippery slope argument.

                  This is exactly how echo chambers are created, when people all insist that only one point of view is safe and any disagreeable ones are instantly dangerous.

                  1 vote
                  1. [3]
                    lemon-fresh Link Parent
                    Good point, I see what you're getting at here. Let me provide some further justification of why I disagree with this article... All the numbers are based off of prices from an economy that...

                    Good point, I see what you're getting at here. Let me provide some further justification of why I disagree with this article...

                    All the numbers are based off of prices from an economy that Activision completely controls. If there were any official published numbers regarding the profit margins on loot boxes and skins as well as the operating costs to keep the overwatch ecosystem running I think the article would make a much more convincing point as to how much it could cost the consumer to remove paid lootboxes.

                    2 votes
                    1. [2]
                      TheJorro Link Parent
                      You're totally right in that regard but I'm inclined to say having any meta-economy in a game at all will invariably wind up with big issues like this. CSGO was totally player-driven and look at...

                      You're totally right in that regard but I'm inclined to say having any meta-economy in a game at all will invariably wind up with big issues like this. CSGO was totally player-driven and look at all the seedy gambling business that popped up around it. Diablo 3's player-driven economy crippled the game design. Creator-controlled economies also turn into cashpits too.

                      The best solution is what Diablo 3 did: just remove it entirely. I can get how getting some people to spend tons more than others to subsidize game content is a viable strategy but it would be interesting to see what the actual numbers are like.

                      I think Valve may have actually had it best when they introduced totally optional things to support DOTA2 or CSGO tournament cashpools.

                      1 vote
                      1. lemon-fresh Link Parent
                        I would tend to agree regarding a meta-economy. It is also very hard to determine if these overwatch skin prices are even reasonable ($10+ when they have been sold individually). Which is kind of...

                        I would tend to agree regarding a meta-economy.

                        It is also very hard to determine if these overwatch skin prices are even reasonable ($10+ when they have been sold individually). Which is kind of the crux of a lot of the articles math in regards to the game becoming a lot more expensive if lootboxes were to be removed.

    3. Grzmot Link Parent
      I agree with everything Sterling said. The article makes a ton of assumptions and completely ignores that ActiBlizzard sets the prices. And since another AAA company (EA) has already admitted to...

      I agree with everything Sterling said. The article makes a ton of assumptions and completely ignores that ActiBlizzard sets the prices. And since another AAA company (EA) has already admitted to shareholders that no, taking out lootboxes won't affect their bottomline after the Battlefront 2 fiasco, a fairer model for Overwatch could be implemented and still be profitable.

      4 votes
  2. [20]
    thelynx42 Link
    This is the problem I'm having with the gaming industry these days... DLC that puts missing pieces into your game, IAPs that are the only way to beat a game, lootboxes that play off of your...

    This is the problem I'm having with the gaming industry these days... DLC that puts missing pieces into your game, IAPs that are the only way to beat a game, lootboxes that play off of your dopamine seeking monkey brain... Hell, even the ads in free games on mobile are getting WAY out of hand. I played one last week that interrupted your game every 30 seconds or so with 2 ads and then had the audacity to allow you to remove ads for $7.99.... per week. No shit.

    Companies these days are pushing the limits every release. "well, yeah, we are fucking you over, but not as much as THOSE guys! Look at EA! They're bad. We're not them. Buy our lootboxes." And it's sad because people actually buy it.... Battlefield 2 got so much shit... But Fortnite doesn't. Or Overwatch. It's insane.

    I miss the days of just buying a game... Let the public host their own servers or charge a monthly fee to use one of theirs. Pay for the game and that only... This is why I pretty much just stick to indie games now. These big companies are just... bad now.

    14 votes
    1. [17]
      CALICO Link Parent
      As far as Overwatch goes, all the lootboxes give are cosmetic items. Nothing that will give one an edge over any other players or anything like that. Lootboxes are absolutely a problem, as they're...

      As far as Overwatch goes, all the lootboxes give are cosmetic items. Nothing that will give one an edge over any other players or anything like that.
      Lootboxes are absolutely a problem, as they're predatory and all. But I find it hard to get upset when I can get 3 per week just for winning 9 games, one for every level-up, and they only gives skins and voice lines. There's nothing really necessitating that I grind or spend money. If somebody wants to get every single item that releases with an event, well, that's potential for a problem. But it's different from weapons, armor, skills or whatever, that give unfair advantages.

      12 votes
      1. [15]
        lemon-fresh Link Parent
        Skins for me are just as desirable as play 2 win mechanics (maybe even more so?). I have definitely thought about spending way too much money on overwatch loot boxes just to unlock some of those...

        Skins for me are just as desirable as play 2 win mechanics (maybe even more so?). I have definitely thought about spending way too much money on overwatch loot boxes just to unlock some of those sweet skins.

        When they hook up your ability to get the skins to gambling mechanics it just makes it even more insidious imo.

        4 votes
        1. [14]
          aphoenix (edited ) Link Parent
          Honestly, though, that sounds like a "you" problem. Edit: by "a you problem" I don't mean that you're the only one who has it, but that it is your responsibility to find a way to deal with the...

          Honestly, though, that sounds like a "you" problem.

          Edit: by "a you problem" I don't mean that you're the only one who has it, but that it is your responsibility to find a way to deal with the fallout of having this problem. I don't think this is a problem that requires legislation to fix.

          Lootboxes are free and easy to acquire. Paying for them is dumb, but allows Blizzard to host the game and continue to make improvements in perpetuity. They also get to make a profit. All these things are good, in my opinion, and keep the game from being remotely pay to win.

          3 votes
          1. [5]
            lemon-fresh Link Parent
            With countries banning the practice i feel like it may be more than just a "me" problem.

            With countries banning the practice i feel like it may be more than just a "me" problem.

            3 votes
            1. [4]
              aphoenix Link Parent
              I don't think that it's valid to say that just because a country does something that it's in the right. Belgium made a mistake in this instance.

              I don't think that it's valid to say that just because a country does something that it's in the right. Belgium made a mistake in this instance.

              3 votes
              1. [3]
                lemon-fresh Link Parent
                Yup, they could have made a mistake. I was simply replying to the notion that I'm the only one who has a problem with this practice.

                Yup, they could have made a mistake. I was simply replying to the notion that I'm the only one who has a problem with this practice.

                1 vote
                1. [2]
                  aphoenix Link Parent
                  Ahh, no, I certainly don't mean that you're the only one who has a problem. There are certainly people who have the same problem. However, I don't think that we need to legislate a solution to the...

                  Ahh, no, I certainly don't mean that you're the only one who has a problem. There are certainly people who have the same problem.

                  However, I don't think that we need to legislate a solution to the problem; rather, it's up to you (and other people with this problem) to find ways to deal with it.

                  To put it another way - I love loot boxes! I don't purchase them, so they're all freebies for me, and enough people do purchase them that I can continue to play the game that I want to play and get updates. As long as those people buy them responsibly, that's great.

                  1 vote
                  1. lemon-fresh Link Parent
                    Agreed. Although I feel like there are much more straightforward ways for people to responsibly purchase content. Especially when we have no insight into the costs to keep overwatch running and...

                    Agreed. Although I feel like there are much more straightforward ways for people to responsibly purchase content. Especially when we have no insight into the costs to keep overwatch running and the profit margins on lootboxes/skins.

                    Why not keep unpaid lootboxes in the game and allow players to purchase skins for a "reasonable" price, there are many other fully fledged games that cost less than these skins ($10+). I have no idea how feasible this is because there is no insight into how much money is being made off the consumer in the completely activision controlled economy which makes this articles analysis less convincing.

          2. [8]
            s4b3r6 Link Parent
            It's a gambling problem. Regulation of gambling has made it harder for addicts to self-destruct. Games with these mechanics avoid the regulation, making it easier to bring someone to harm....

            It's a gambling problem. Regulation of gambling has made it harder for addicts to self-destruct. Games with these mechanics avoid the regulation, making it easier to bring someone to harm. Publishers can't pretend they have no responsibility.

            3 votes
            1. [7]
              aphoenix Link Parent
              Loot boxes in Overwatch can only very, very loosely be called gambling. They give only cosmetic rewards; nothing that actually gives any kind of bonus. I understand that someone might be addicted...

              Loot boxes in Overwatch can only very, very loosely be called gambling. They give only cosmetic rewards; nothing that actually gives any kind of bonus.

              I understand that someone might be addicted to gambling, but I don't think that we can always make laws that protect everyone based on the problems of a very, very few.

              To put it another way - I don't want to pay to keep the Overwatch servers running.

              1 vote
              1. [6]
                s4b3r6 Link Parent
                Are they actually the very few? As I understand it, gambling addiction is skyrocketing, and even cosmetic rewards still provide the endorphin rush inherent in gambling.

                but I don't think that we can always make laws that protect everyone based on the problems of a very, very few.

                Are they actually the very few? As I understand it, gambling addiction is skyrocketing, and even cosmetic rewards still provide the endorphin rush inherent in gambling.

                2 votes
                1. [5]
                  aphoenix Link Parent
                  According to this, the incidence of "some sort of gambling problem" is about 2.6%, or close to 1 in 40. I think it's fair to say that is very few. The place where I feel a little bit wary of my...

                  According to this, the incidence of "some sort of gambling problem" is about 2.6%, or close to 1 in 40. I think it's fair to say that is very few.

                  The place where I feel a little bit wary of my assertions is that if the 1 person is supporting the game for the other 39, then that's a problem. I can't refute that is a possibility, but based on my own experiences, that feels like it's wrong; I think it's more likely that there are some "whale" clients that don't have gambling problems that carry the brunt of supporting the product. It's possible those "whales" do have a gambling problem, but I know people who are "whales" who don't have a gambling issue at all (ie - they do it in other games as well, where there is no gambling aspect).

                  I think it's a good idea to go after companies that do shady things to get people to purchase loot boxes, but in general I think that Blizzard does loot boxes right; they give you a lot of them for free, all the time, and they don't shove "purchase more loot boxes" in your face, plus the loot boxes don't actually give you anything useful. Some people have problems, and I understand that, but on the other side of things, this isn't a problem that I think requires legislation to fix; we don't outlaw responsible bars, just because alcoholics exist. I think Blizzard is pretty responsible with their system, and I don't think it needs to change.

                  2 votes
                  1. [4]
                    s4b3r6 Link Parent
                    Over 1%, and diseases get classified as 'common'. It isn't right to dismiss that number of people as unimportant. But we do ensure that bars stay responsible, by regulating them. I'm not saying...

                    According to this, the incidence of "some sort of gambling problem" is about 2.6%, or close to 1 in 40. I think it's fair to say that is very few.

                    Over 1%, and diseases get classified as 'common'. It isn't right to dismiss that number of people as unimportant.

                    we don't outlaw responsible bars, just because alcoholics exist.

                    But we do ensure that bars stay responsible, by regulating them.

                    I'm not saying that Blizzard is doing the wrong thing. They try very hard to reduce the impact.

                    However, I am saying that all loot boxes enable someone to self-destruct. Rules and regulations, that are well thought out, should be added.

                    Maybe not a total ban, like some places are considering.

                    I'm spitballing here, and haven't given it enough thought, but some rules like:

                    • Over 18 year olds only
                    • Daily, weekly and monthly purchase limits
                    • Maximum costs
                    • List chances of winning prized items

                    Would go a long way to making it harder for someone to self-destruct, whilst still allowing players to enjoy the rewards, and companies to utilise these mechanics as a means of driving business.

                    2 votes
                    1. [3]
                      aphoenix Link Parent
                      To be very clear, I didn't "dismiss those people as unimportant". I said that changing the entire system that has a lot of benefits for other people isn't necessary. There should be other...

                      It isn't right to dismiss that number of people as unimportant.

                      To be very clear, I didn't "dismiss those people as unimportant". I said that changing the entire system that has a lot of benefits for other people isn't necessary.

                      There should be other resources for people who have gambling problems. Solving a problem for 1 person of 40 by limiting the other 39 people from doing it is not, in my opinion, a valid way to solve a problem.

                      3 votes
                      1. [2]
                        s4b3r6 Link Parent
                        I'm afraid we're talking at cross purposes. You appear to rather the entertainment industry feel no pressure and commit no changes to protect the people using a product it created. I believe...

                        I'm afraid we're talking at cross purposes.

                        You appear to rather the entertainment industry feel no pressure and commit no changes to protect the people using a product it created.

                        I believe society has an obligation to protect those within, for example the 910,000 people playing Overwatch who likely struggle with gambling.

                        1 vote
                        1. aphoenix Link Parent
                          Come on, you're putting words in my mouth. When did we ever talk about "the entertainment industry"? I said nothing about that. I was talking about Blizzard and Overwatch, and this specific...

                          Come on, you're putting words in my mouth.

                          When did we ever talk about "the entertainment industry"? I said nothing about that.

                          I was talking about Blizzard and Overwatch, and this specific implementation.

                          I also clearly believe society has an obligation to help (not protect) those who struggle with gambling. I don't think that means that Overwatch has to change it's loot box system.

                          3 votes
      2. mrbig (edited ) Link Parent
        Yeah... if you’re spending too much money on cosmetic skins out of lootboxes that’s on you (I never did...). There’s nothing inherently wrong in trying to make a buck this way.

        Yeah... if you’re spending too much money on cosmetic skins out of lootboxes that’s on you (I never did...). There’s nothing inherently wrong in trying to make a buck this way.

    2. [2]
      lemon-fresh Link Parent
      One thing to also consider is that it appears that EA has pulled a 180 on IAPs and lootboxes with battlefield 5. They say all additional content will be free and there will be no lootboxes/pay2win...

      One thing to also consider is that it appears that EA has pulled a 180 on IAPs and lootboxes with battlefield 5. They say all additional content will be free and there will be no lootboxes/pay2win mechanics.

      There might be some hope for consumers.

      2 votes
      1. SourceContribute Link Parent
        I wonder how this impacts their profit margins and how they'll pay for future development of the game.

        I wonder how this impacts their profit margins and how they'll pay for future development of the game.

  3. [4]
    trunicated Link
    I've got zero problem with the Overwatch model of loot boxes. It's 100% cosmetic and has zero impact on gameplay. Users that don't spend money still have avenues to get the cosmetics, though at a...

    I've got zero problem with the Overwatch model of loot boxes. It's 100% cosmetic and has zero impact on gameplay. Users that don't spend money still have avenues to get the cosmetics, though at a reduced rate.

    Compare this to Fortnite BR, where it's still purely cosmetic, but as someone that never spends money, you'll take much, much longer than someone in Overwatch to be able to purchase one of their legendary skins if you don't pay money, and you'll never have a random chance to get one.

    9 votes
    1. [3]
      Grzmot Link Parent
      At least it allows me to purchase the skin directly, instead of gambling for it. The Overwatch credits don't count, because they're still hidden in lootboxes.

      At least it allows me to purchase the skin directly, instead of gambling for it. The Overwatch credits don't count, because they're still hidden in lootboxes.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        trunicated Link Parent
        Yeah, I wouldn't really mind that, but I also think that they would need to be somewhat expensive to reflect the value they have (based off how many people will just buy ~40 event lootboxes for...

        Yeah, I wouldn't really mind that, but I also think that they would need to be somewhat expensive to reflect the value they have (based off how many people will just buy ~40 event lootboxes for them). I've been playing hard since the alpha, I absolutely love the game, and I'm always willing to plunk down $40 on each event just because I like all the continued, free content that the money is funding.

        I'm probably a whale in that regard, but I'm also the sort of person that would buy an expansion pack every year if they came out with one, and probably some fancy skins just because they look cool, if the loot boxes weren't a thing. I just like that, as far as the game goes, everyone is on the same level and everyone gets the same content just by purchasing the base game. It's the same reason I like Fortnite BR and dislike systems like Mass Effect 3 and Andromeda had.

        3 votes
        1. lemon-fresh Link Parent
          Technically not everyone gets the same content since you have to gamble with your time and money to unlock the skins.

          Technically not everyone gets the same content since you have to gamble with your time and money to unlock the skins.

  4. [6]
    Whom Link
    If the industry can't make games without relying on predatory business practices, selling every bit of content individually, or just jacking up prices upfront to something ridiculous, let it...

    If the industry can't make games without relying on predatory business practices, selling every bit of content individually, or just jacking up prices upfront to something ridiculous, let it collapse.

    Especially with digital distribution as the primary way to move copies, it's not like it's necessary to keep all this in place just for games to remain profitable. This stuff is all just subsudizing the giant budgets (with a lot just being marketing) that do fuck-all for the ones paying for it. Presenting things in this "if you get rid of this thing you don't like, then you'll have to deal with this other thing that you really won't like" way is so silly because it would be a very reasonable demand to say "we don't want either, we want all the content in the game we paid for!"

    I assure you, a game just like Overwatch could be made (and still make a profit) without any additional ways to pull money in. They sorta half give you a reason for this kind of continuing payment model because they provide servers and content, but all that is only needed because they remove the ability for the community to do that themselves so they have a monopoly on it.

    The assumptions that this article makes are frustrating.

    6 votes
    1. lemon-fresh Link Parent
      Agreed. We also have the whole "lootboxes only contain cosmetics so no big deal right everybody?" narrative to further downplay the issue. Even in the light of countries outright outlawing their...

      Agreed.

      We also have the whole "lootboxes only contain cosmetics so no big deal right everybody?" narrative to further downplay the issue. Even in the light of countries outright outlawing their inclusion because it is equivalent to gambling.

      3 votes
    2. [4]
      SourceContribute Link Parent
      Be prepared for much much smaller games where the amount of content is smaller. The content will have to be sold individually because the up-front investment into a game will be smaller and...

      If the industry can't make games without relying on predatory business practices, selling every bit of content individually, or just jacking up prices upfront to something ridiculous, let it collapse.

      Be prepared for much much smaller games where the amount of content is smaller. The content will have to be sold individually because the up-front investment into a game will be smaller and they'll have to be grown.

      I assure you, a game just like Overwatch could be made (and still make a profit) without any additional ways to pull money in.

      I'm not so sure, it feels like the level of tech and polish in the game would be much much less.

      It would be interesting to see what the margins for publishers and developers looks like over the years because last time I checked, players demand more content and demand a constant price, something's gotta give.

      1. [3]
        Whom (edited ) Link Parent
        I'm prepared for "smaller" (realistically the biggest hit will be in graphics and marketing budgets) games. The industry has shown that they aren't willing to put an ounce of creativity into what...

        I'm prepared for "smaller" (realistically the biggest hit will be in graphics and marketing budgets) games. The industry has shown that they aren't willing to put an ounce of creativity into what the additional technology affords them, anyway. Pretty much all innovative work has been done in the indie scene or at least smaller devs for years and years now. A (relatively) fair model worked for years and still works for non-AAA developers.

        You're kidding yourself if you think massive game budgets are helping you out as a player. Video games cost basically nothing to distribute and while the costs for making assets has gone up, I assure you the profit margins are ridiculous. Like I said, if they can't manage to make decent games despite that, we need to let them bleed out and die.

        I don't even know what you're saying with Overwatch, polished and more heavily featured shooters have been around forever. Also, a reminder that players demand content because the developers force them to do so and box them in so you can't do anything other than what Blizzard wants you to. A shooter where you can't even use your own maps is shameful. CSGO at least has the common courtesy to force that by default by including competitive matchmaking. It's awful, but a hell of a lot better than making it entirely impossible to play non-dev-spoonfed things.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          SourceContribute Link Parent
          That's a good point; most innovations seem to be focused on VR and AR at the moment and not pushing the limits of existing tech with new game concepts and ideas, seems like a lot of re-hashing and...

          The industry has shown that they aren't willing to put an ounce of creativity into what the additional technology affords them, anyway. Pretty much all innovative work has been done in the indie scene or at least smaller devs for years and years now.

          That's a good point; most innovations seem to be focused on VR and AR at the moment and not pushing the limits of existing tech with new game concepts and ideas, seems like a lot of re-hashing and re-using is happening.

          A shooter where you can't even use your own maps is shameful.

          I'm on your side; it's amazing how backwards we've gone over the years where there's almost no mod community for the major games, only 1, maybe 2 real leagues (and the publishers/developers want to be the official one to suck up all the profits from them), and like you said, can't use your own maps. In Destiny and Destiny 2 it took a few expansions before you were able to play private matches, a basic feature most FPSes have out of the box.

          The monopoly on a game and its content by developers is going to be the downfall at some point of these companies.

          1 vote
          1. Whom Link Parent
            Sorry I was a bit hostile there! I didn't know that about Destiny, though. That's another level of bad. Always hurts when I hear bad things about those games, because FPS MMO-likes are such a cool...

            Sorry I was a bit hostile there!

            I didn't know that about Destiny, though. That's another level of bad. Always hurts when I hear bad things about those games, because FPS MMO-likes are such a cool idea.

  5. [3]
    Seven Link
    Overwatch lootboxes are different from those of other games because the items in the lootboxes are purely cosmetic. They give no advantage in the game, and are only for your own enjoyment. Also,...

    Overwatch lootboxes are different from those of other games because the items in the lootboxes are purely cosmetic. They give no advantage in the game, and are only for your own enjoyment. Also, even if there were no lootboxes or cosmetics at all, Overwatch would be a totally complete game. I don't play Overwatch because of the cool cosmetics; I play it because it's an amazing and complete game. I also see that other commenters here don't seem to have much experience with Overwatch's lootboxes, and thus judge them in ignorance. Overwatch, in my opinion, has a great monetization system, and since the only things that can be gained from lootboxes are cosmetics. Not to mention that Overwatch has a constant stream of new maps, modes, and characters that are completely free, and improve the gameplay experience. Also, it isn't that hard to unlock all cosmetics without buying any lootboxes. The average Overwatch player who has been playing since launch certainly has all of the cosmetics by now, without ever having to buy a single box. The amount of content the players get with only a $40 game is a lot better than most other games, and I think Blizzard should be commended for their monetization model. I hope more companies follow their example, and stop making incomplete games where the players have to shell out even more money to unlock all the content.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      lemon-fresh Link Parent
      " The amount of content the players get with only a $40 game is a lot better than most other games, and I think Blizzard should be commended for their monetization model. I hope more companies...

      " The amount of content the players get with only a $40 game is a lot better than most other games, and I think Blizzard should be commended for their monetization model. I hope more companies follow their example, and stop making incomplete games where the players have to shell out even more money to unlock all the content."

      By all means charge $40-$60 for your game but please just let me buy the skins i want WITHOUT HAVING TO GAMBLE FOR THEM. I also don't think being forced to grind for hours just to have a chance at getting a decent skin for a character you like to play is somehow commendable. There was a time when this stuff was just included in the game...

      3 votes
      1. papasquat Link Parent
        When? I can't think of any time in gaming's history where this amount and quality of cosmetic items got released for free. Games like Quake 3 had skins included, but they were nowhere near the...

        There was a time when this stuff was just included in the game...

        When? I can't think of any time in gaming's history where this amount and quality of cosmetic items got released for free. Games like Quake 3 had skins included, but they were nowhere near the amount, and detail of overwatch skins. Games back then were usually supported for a year at the very most if the game was extremely popular with maybe half a dozen exceptions. I think a lot of people have rose tinted glasses about the quality of cosmetics/art in older games, and some misconceptions on the level of effort required to produce low resolution, low polygon models vs modern art that would have been considered movie quality CG a few years ago.

        2 votes
  6. JuniperMonkeys Link
    I'm a little weirded-out by the author's train of thought. So, there are apparently four groups; collector whales who don't play much and casual players who just want one or two skins, would do...

    I'm a little weirded-out by the author's train of thought.

    So, there are apparently four groups; collector whales who don't play much and casual players who just want one or two skins, would do better with a la carte pricing, while heavy players who get a lot of free boxes and players who like getting stuff, but don't care what it is, would do worse -- and this is all based on Blizzard's arbitrary $10-20 pricing for premium skins.

    I mean... clearly the author is cognizant that Overwatch lootboxes contain a lot of crap that nobody wants. The article is centered around that premise. People put money into the system to get legendary skins. Nobody buys ten loot boxes, gets a bunch of sprays for characters they don't play, and yells about how happy they are to their Twitch followers.

    And then,

    it’s likely that many enthusiast players would wind up spending more money or getting less loot under alternative systems.

    What? If that were true, Blizzard would do it. A less-profitable random chance system in place simply because Blizzard cares deeply about the constituency of players who "like getting stuff, but don't care what it is"? It's just padding so that people spin the roulette wheel. If Blizzard knew that they could make more money by letting people buy the items they wanted, that's how Overwatch would work. A defense of random lootboxes as being the consumer-friendly option is just deluded.

    I actually like the way Overwatch works, since stubborn jerks like me can just pay cash for the game up front and play it without having gameplay affected by the economy -- but c'mon.

    4 votes
  7. [4]
    actionscripted Link
    I’m okay with subscriptions, loot boxes (gambling subscriptions), donations, etc. as long as they don’t provide a game-changing edge. As long as they’re cosmetic or just fun/stupid and aren’t...

    I’m okay with subscriptions, loot boxes (gambling subscriptions), donations, etc. as long as they don’t provide a game-changing edge. As long as they’re cosmetic or just fun/stupid and aren’t “missing” pieces of the game you have to buy.

    The reality is if you want ongoing game servers, features and bug fixes you need to keep paying. You can’t support a multi-year game with your initial purchase.

    4 votes
    1. Yudhayvavhay Link Parent
      I agree with this. Cosmetic-only lootboxes doesn't affect you at all, and gives free content. Honestly, the only way to keep games at 60$ with ever-increasing costs because games get bigger and...

      I agree with this. Cosmetic-only lootboxes doesn't affect you at all, and gives free content.

      Honestly, the only way to keep games at 60$ with ever-increasing costs because games get bigger and bigger was some kind of extra revenue system. Season Pass is this but it splits the playerbase.

      I'd vastly prefer having cosmetic lootboxes and free content rather than Season Pass/Games costing 100$+

      4 votes
    2. [2]
      Whom Link Parent
      Ongoing game servers and features can and have been supplied by the communities of various games. I don't like reframing things so developers having a monopoly on hosting their own game is the...

      Ongoing game servers and features can and have been supplied by the communities of various games. I don't like reframing things so developers having a monopoly on hosting their own game is the ONLY option.

      If devs give us the ability to do things that used to be standard, a game can stay alive as long as it has people who want to play.

      3 votes
      1. actionscripted Link Parent
        I play a lot of OW and used to play a ton of TF2 (~1500 hours). I vastly prefer the official servers for both but I agree on the value of community servers — especially if a game reaches EOL. With...

        I play a lot of OW and used to play a ton of TF2 (~1500 hours). I vastly prefer the official servers for both but I agree on the value of community servers — especially if a game reaches EOL.

        With OW, I’m a huge fan of not landing on some janky community server with no one on it, an annoying MOTD and maps I have to wait to download.

  8. [2]
    MrZen Link
    I'm curious how something that didn't exist a few years ago being removed can raise the overall price. As far as I'm concerned they can make what they made before loot boxes. This also completely...

    I'm curious how something that didn't exist a few years ago being removed can raise the overall price. As far as I'm concerned they can make what they made before loot boxes.

    This also completely misses the user side of game buying economics. Let them raise the price and suffer fewer sales as a result.

    4 votes
    1. papasquat Link Parent
      Games have gotten cheaper and cheaper as time has gone on, while their development costs have skyrocketed because that's what mainstream customers have responded to. That extra revenue has to come...

      Games have gotten cheaper and cheaper as time has gone on, while their development costs have skyrocketed because that's what mainstream customers have responded to. That extra revenue has to come from somewhere. Some of it comes from the market being bigger nowadays, but it still doesn't account for everything.

      2 votes
  9. Rocket_Man Link
    The argument they're making doesn't seem reasonable to me. The crux of it seems to center around comparing lootboxes that exist as progression and micro-transactions against an a-la-carte system...

    The argument they're making doesn't seem reasonable to me. The crux of it seems to center around comparing lootboxes that exist as progression and micro-transactions against an a-la-carte system without a progression mechanic. In which case obviously the a-la-carte system is going to seem worse when there's no progression available.

    The appropriate argument to make would be in keeping lootboxes as a form of progression as they can actually be fun. Just change things so that instead of buying lootboxes you can buy skins directly. Then there's a part of the article that says the skins would cost a ton, which they might. But that's a separate issue.

    2 votes
  10. SourceContribute Link
    Maybe finally the economics of game development will be adjusted. Somehow the price of video games has been constant, it's about $70 to $80 for a console game? papasquat pointed it out in their...

    Maybe finally the economics of game development will be adjusted. Somehow the price of video games has been constant, it's about $70 to $80 for a console game?

    papasquat pointed it out in their comment:

    Games have gotten cheaper and cheaper as time has gone on, while their development costs have skyrocketed because that's what mainstream customers have responded to.

    Game dev is pricier and with games that continue for years, new content has to be created and bugs have to be patched. The only way to do this is through subscription fees of some kind whether it's through loot boxes or the more honest route of getting people to pay monthly and giving them a set reward like 1 million gold coins or whatever.