Author: Stephen Cleary
2017 has seen some of the greatest releases for gaming in recent memory. Games like Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, Horizon Zero Dawn and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild have been examples of this, but a suspicious and seedy practice of sales has begun to creep into nearly every game, even single player games like Shadow of War now contain Loot Crates where you get a random drop of a rare Orc Captain or Weapon, let alone the vast number of competitive multiplayer games like FIFA and Overwatch that employ a similar loot scheme. Borrowed from the Mobile gaming and the“Freemium” industry, perfected by Triple-A development companies.
These are three reasons why you should stop this unethical practice and protest against this ridiculous money grabbing schemes.
- It’s a pay to win scheme, and completely devalues any form of competition. There have been reports recently of an ex BioWare Gameplay designer Manveer Heir claiming that he has seen “literally nearly 15,000 dollars spent loot dropped multiplayer content” in Mass Effect throughout his time under EA. Any sane human being that would actually call for serious help (with it being the vidya and that) if they had seen a partner or friend spend that ludicrous amount of money on something so worthless. But in the business of loot crates, this is the demographic companies shamelessly prey on; The Whales who blow 300 euro or so on content. These are the types of people who only buy 2 or 3 games a year so it is to be expected that as a result, they want to get the most out of anything they buy.
Pay to win also devalues any competition, if you have everything unlocked already, what’s the point of even playing the game? it’s like if all of a sudden you have achieved everything in life and you have absolutely nothing to strive for anymore, it leaves you empty and longing for more, but the problem is, you haven’t more. In sport, if the rich teams were allowed buy the greatest performance enhancing drugs and told that they could afford and pit their players against the competition, they would 100% come out on top each time, just because they have better equipment, it would destabilize each sport drastically to the point where itd be unplayable and the richer teams would dominate with drugs, this is the same with gaming except on Star Wars Battlefront II for instance, you have scrub players utilizing gear far beyond their skill level and winning each time against experienced players.
- It’s becoming glorified gambling, and children under the required age for gambling are becoming indoctrinated on spending money. All across the world, there are strict gambling regulations implicated to help combat gambling, and Loot crates are examples of gambling. Depending on your luck for certain games you can randomly end up with some tier 1 common gear to tier 4 ultra-rare gear, depending on the algorithm of the drop in question. So far most gaming companies don’t release the algorithm to their customers to show the percentages of what they will win, and if they did you would see a drastic drop in people actually purchasing loot crates. Take Destiny 1 for instance, where they forced players into the infamous loot caves looking for exotic or rare engrams, except this time it’s with money. The game in question already costs 60$ upon release so why is it that you have to spend more on something which just breaks the game completely?
Despite what games companies think, their games aren’t solely being played by over 18s, but rather younger players and younger players will often idolize YouTubers (which usually are shills for certain companies) who do unboxing videos where essentially they are given 200 separate loot crates to open, this further, in turn, inspires kids to start to want to emulate that, and needlessly spend on something until they get any resemblance of advanced gear.
- All it does is turn more games and games developers to this practice and as a result, there is now industry pressure on games to deliver replayability thus devaluing content. The single-player experience is going to be suffering from this focus on replayable content and needing to have more and more microtransactions involved in the gaming experience, this could be particularly damaging for single player RPGs and linear gameplay experiences.
This scheme of selling content has a domino effect; as other gaming industries will follow seeing as this is a format they can make the most money from
So finally if you are using microtransactions you should probably stop and ask yourself what it’s actually doing to improve your experience and stop this unethical practice before it is too late, protest against the companies doing it, do whatever possible to try and derail them.