The video game market today is tormented by a scourge, an infectious disease that serves to drain its consumers’ wallets dry and place more cash in the festering pockets of slimy big-business officials. I am, of course, talking about loot boxes. Loot boxes are an abomination that has descended upon the gaming masses seemingly out of nowhere, and while they have their defenders, those defenders don’t seem to understand that loot boxes not only improperly reward you for your time and effort, but they are actually a form of gambling; games are designed to test your patience and coerce you to buy them.
Loot boxes are systems where game designers put game unlocks behind a random chance counter that can be earned in-game or paid for. Regulating game unlocks to loot boxes unfairly reward the player for the time (and even money) that they put into the game. Take a game like Call of Duty, for example. In older titles like Modern Warfare, one would earn new weapons and perks through simply playing the game over and over. Not only is this a great way to reward players, as it incentivizes player to keep playing the game, but the players get better weapons as the become better at the game, creating a nice balance for online. With loot boxes, however, players are not necessarily rewarded fairly for the time they put in, leaving the recompense for their time, and even money, up to chance. Throwing down money, only for the chance to not actually get what you pay for, is not only infuriating, but it sounds an awful lot like gambling.
Gambling is exactly what the practice of implementing loot boxes is, and it seems that world governments are agreeing with this sentiment. Just last spring, Belgium and the Netherlands declared loot boxes as gambling and have banned them from being used. Plenty of other games allow you to purchase new weapons, skins and characters in the form of downloadable content (DLC). The key difference between this and the use of loot boxes is that when one buys the DLC, they get exactly what they pay for. When a player buys a loot box, however, they are spending money for the chance to get what the really wish to purchase. They are essentially buying a roll of the dice, like one would at a casino. Not only that, but some games are also built around this system, making the game much more difficult or slower paced if you play the normal way, encouraging those with weaker wills or even addictions to gambling to spend more money so that they can play the game they already paid $60 for. That’s right, this is not only about free mobile games, but retail games that are already a decent investment.
There is a defending side that claims that loot boxes are harmless, unnecessary to purchase or even just a simple way to make up for the rising costs of producing video games. Even after being banned, EA, the video game company equivalent of Satan and Scrooge McDuck, is implementing loot boxes and fighting for them. All of these are poor arguments, a pathetic defense for slithering snakes who can only think to play the victim to gain pity. Loot boxes are far from harmless. Not only will they suck the money and will from those who suffer from gambling addictions, but children who may not understand that these things cost real money might just spend some of their parents’ funds. Many games are built to test the players’ patience, and encourage them to pay some cash to help themselves along. While the cost of producing video games has risen, many companies are making decisions that almost seem like they are putting more money into them on purpose. Square Enix for Final Fantasy XV not only rebuilt the game from scratch multiple times, but also built a whole new engine for it instead of using the one they had for it originally.
The point I’m trying to make is that loot boxes are a horrible, greedy, sinful, icon of dirty business practices created by the detestable, avaricious, miserable fat cats that run the big business in the games industry. Not only do they not properly provide an adequate reward for those who play the games with them, but they are also a form of gambling and should be erased from this world and never spoken of again.