On the launch of Star Wars Battlefront II on November 17 2017 huge controversy raised over the excessive advantages of using loot boxes on the game. The loot boxes system had been going for years, starting from some old MMO's but really having it's first shine through games as Battlefield, but only now the complains from millions brought a response, actually two: The initial EA response that quickly became the most downvoted comment on reddit and the response of the Governments of various countries that accused loot boxes of being gambling. EA also now announced Battlefield V will not include loot boxes. In this article at almost a year of distance since the initial controversy we will take a look at the rise and fall of loot boxes
Loot boxes originate from old MMO's that included locked chests that you could open by buying a key with real money. Very simple concept yet very successful at the time. In a short period first Valve then EA and then everyone adopted this very grossing system. Loot boxes vary from the Overwatch/ DOTA system where loot boxes bring you only esthetic elements that don't in any way affect gameplay or advantage one player or the other to 20$ on a limited today only event to have a 0.0001% of having a game breaking player on FUT.
As law teaches us where you pay to have a small chance of winning something that's called gambling.
Loot boxes have been often defended with comparison to trading card games such as Magic; The Gathering, Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh, yet there are substantial differences between the two situations. In TCG's you always get something back, you might say here isn't that the same with loot boxes? Well, not at all. With loot boxes you get a digital item that if the company fails or simply shuts down servers to the game in future you just don't own anymore. Usually if you are looking for a card you really like in a TCG you can just buy it from someone, here you can't, and it would absolutely be no problem if it wasn't that by buying and buying loot boxes until you get that one all you get is useless and with no value, spending thousands even if underage. That's okay, some games actually have trading, but that's not the point. The point is not me, not you but Governments of various countries looked into this situation. And if someone can argue with me that the introduction is not objective, the next section are just the decision these Governments made a.k.a. the fall of loot boxes
Loot boxes are declared gambling. In countries such as Belgium and The Netherlands the new laws against loot boxes are already being enforced. And just as of a few weeks ago, 15 European countries and the state of Washington signed a declaration against gambling in videogames in which along with Social Casinos (Casino themed games and apps that are perhaps literal gambling), Casino themed kid games (such as the casino mini games in the Pokemon games that got replaced in the last few generations of games), Skin Betting (Third party trading for a chance to get something) and of course loot boxes.
The gaming industry came clean as far as making official announcements that their game, won't have loot boxes, totally opposite of 2017 when it seemed every game had loot boxes.It's over it seems, EA Sports and it's FIFA are the last that are giving resistance and having an active lawsuit against loot box regulations refusing to modify it's games. The others though already removed loot boxes in regions where law is against loot boxes (and it seems with this declaration even more countries will ban loot boxes) or announced total removal in future games.
R.I.P. Loot boxes - We learned from our mistakes