Loot Box Economy: Bullshit Reality

playerunknown's battlegrounds

My Digital Crack mates are diametrically opposed to my stance on loot boxes. Their stance is in response to my disdain of their existence in Overwatch. Big Lou himself has tried to talk me down from my ledge, trying to convince me that the loot boxes are “just cosmetic.” They’re not as big of a deal because of that.

Not too long ago, the developers of Middle-Earth: Shadow of War introduced loot boxes to their game. I railed against that bullshit. The loot boxes do not just contain cosmetic items. They contain items and ACTUAL ORCS. These items and ACTUAL ORCS have a rarity scale. The ACTUAL ORCS can be used in the game’s multiplayer element, where they can be ACTUALLY LOST FOREVER!

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds recently introduced loot boxes to their game. The loot boxes can contain pieces to costume sets. If players want to get the full set, they better buy up loot boxes! Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is an Early-Access game on Steam, yet it introduces loot boxes to the game.

I see a fucked-up trend here.

For many multiplayer games, loot boxes have become THE defining microtransaction. Many of them defend the use of them in game. Overwatch and its army of loyalists surely have defended them, Big Lou included. Fans of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds will surely defend the loot boxes. MY son may try, but even he’ll exhaust his energy trying.

I DARE someone to defend them in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War! I FUCKING DARE THEM!

So it’s OK to take a single-player game and add a multiplayer element JUST BECAUSE you want to add microtransactions to it?


I was excited about Middle-Earth: Shadow of War as a game until the very moment they announced the microtransactions. For the uninitiated, the game introduced two currencies. The first, Mithril, is attainable during regular gameplay. The second, gold, is less attainable. You can grind for gold in-game, but the game luckily allows players to purchase gold with real-world money.

What is gold good for? Well, I’m glad you asked. Gold is able to purchase loot boxes. Those loot boxes include orcs. The orcs included can include rare and even legendary orcs. They can be used to have an easier time through the single-player campaign.

Of course, the orcs can also be used to play in the multiplayer sieges. There, players face off against other players, army-to-army. If you have better orcs, you’ll win. If not, you can lose the orcs in your army. And they’re gone FOREVER!

Good thing you can buy more loot boxes to get more orcs!

That alone would piss me off beyond reality. A game that I am looking forward to is being raped with loot boxes in order to introduce a pay-to-win economy. Imagine how happy fans of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds are. My son included.

The PC game – AN EARLY ACCESS GAME ON STEAM – introduced loot boxes to its economy. Similar to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the game rewards players with loot boxes. Normally, those loot boxes can be open with in-game currency, which is annoying but grindable. But “GamesCom Invitational” boxes required players to pony up $2.50 to get a key. These loot boxes required the money to fund a GamesCom Invitational Tournament that was held in Germany during GamesCom. Obviously.



The amount of fucks I would actually spew at the practice would exceed the number of caps I have used thus far in this article.

It’s bad enough that a game that is in Early Access in Steam thinks it’s perfectly fine to hit up their user base for more money via microtransactions. And that’s before their game is even finished. It’s even worse when they use the money for said microtransactions to fund a narcissistic tournament. Yes, they said the excess money would be used for charity. But why even have the narcissistic tournament in the first place? Well, of course, it’s to fund the narcissistic tournament in the first place!

This is what gaming is evolving into: new ways to pry money from players!

This is what multiplayer gaming has become: a way to introduce new ways to convince gamers to give up more cash for the privilege of playing their games!

When Overwatch introduced loot boxes to their game, they used the “just cosmetic” line of reasoning to justify their inclusion. People like Big Lou bought into it.

When Middle-Earth: Shadow of War introduced the loot boxes to their game, it was nothing more than a cash grab to justify their multiplayer elements. People who loved the series enough have jumped on and defended the naked cash-grab.

Playerunknowen’s Battlegrounds took it one step further. They took a game that is technically unfinished and added cash-grab elements like loot boxes to fund their own narcissistic ends. I’m willing to bet that fans of the game will excuse the microtransactions and soldier on.

The only question I have is this: are video games ever going to be finished products anymore? Or are they going to evolve into unfinished products, like Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, that feature vectors for more cash grabs? Forget pay-to-play. Are video games going to evolve into pay-to-pay-more? Are video games less of a product and more of a service that requires more money to enjoy?

If so, then I’ll stay in the retro gaming landscape. The games may not be new, but at least they’ll be complete.

And if my Digital Crack mates have an issue with my stance, they can go straight to fuck!

He has been playing video games for longer than he would like to admit, and is passionate about all retro games and systems. He also goes to bars with an NES controller hoping that entering the Konami code will give him thirty chances with the drunk chick at the bar. His interests include vodka, old-school games, women, vodka, and women gamers who drink vodka.

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