Loot boxes or loot crates are prevalent things in modern-day gaming. It is so common that most gamers often don’t realize they are not an integral part of the game. For how long the loot crates are appearing in the games? Well, the honest reply most gamers will give is that they can’t remember. And it is naturally so. For most of the last decade, gaming made promising progress. From a mere source of entertainment for teenagers, it is now a whole profession in itself. But in this journey of advancement, few things slid into the customs completely unnoticed. In-game loot boxes are one such thing. It may appear that this custom of randomizing a loot crate opening has been going on for a long time.
What Are In-Game Loot Boxes?
As the word suggests, a loot box is a sort of crate that offers the opportunity of randomized drop that the players can obtain via accessing the loot box. Of course, the whole thing is virtual and is happening on the only side of the game. The drop item is most commonly a game-related item that can be further categorized into a value-based ranking. The loot box is basically a virtual consumable that will pop out a single or multiple more items related to the game when opened.
Loot boxes operate on the scale of chance as no one knows what item can be found from opening one box. In many games, the content list of the loot box is available, which can tell the list of items available for drop and its drop rate. A drop rate is the chance of that item coming in a drop for that role of dice. To make it easier, it is like a dice roll, and out of six known outcomes, one outcome is guaranteed that shares the chance of 1/6 or like a coin toss having a 50 percent chance rate.
What Are The Uses Of Loot Boxes In Modern-Day Games?
In-game loot boxes in most games today have a list of game avatars, virtual coins, or trade cards, or even skins for the game. Now different games have different approaches to prioritizing the use of loot boxes. The overall game’s mechanics are unaffected by the loot boxes or the valuables it has to offer in many games. It is only for the cosmetic or player-to-player discretion that the loot boxes get accessed. Of course, many players take a chance by opening the loot box in hopes of finding some rare in-game cosmetics or items. But without the same, the game would still be functioning properly. But in other games, it has been observed that loot boxes do contain certain monetization scope for the developers and thus restricts game mobility upon the usage of the loot box.
Most Free-to-Play games today features the use of loot box to monetize their sales and business. Players can purchase these loot boxes with real money that may offer the chance to carry in-game currencies or other necessary game tools. However, now one may ask what if the player abstains from purchasing a loot box. In that case, the game may find itself getting restricted orbit more complicated for the players to carry on.
Are Loot Game Purchases Affecting Game Mechanics?
A quick example ought to simply this logic. In popular car racing games like Asphalt or Need For Speed, players need to constantly level up their car and gears to find a more competitive place in the race rankings. Without a handy gear or car, the chances of winning the race get slims. Now the free cars and gears available in the game are okay to go with. One can most certainly race with the same but may find hindrances towards their winning objective. But with an upgraded car or gear, the race becomes easy. The main question here is how to upgrade the cars?
There are many options. Firstly the player can buy a new upgraded car with in-game virtual currency. The next better option is a loot box. It may require comparatively much less price to purchase a loot box than an actual car, but it is money nevertheless. The loot box with a lesser price tag offers a series of random items with a chance to win even the car itself. Players try their luck by purchasing the cheaper loot box. The thing with chances is that they get better with more participation. Thus in this way, a guy with more loot box investments may actually win the race with an upgrade toy, while a non-investor may find difficulties in completing a race with default tools. This can be identified as a pay-to-win gameplay system.
Are The In-Game Loot Boxes A Form Of Gambling?
Multiple concerns have been raised over the last few years regarding this issue. Many believe that in-game loot box practices are similar to gambling trends. The claims even rise to prevent underage gamers from taking part in such activities of gambling. But to what extent are these claims true?
Gambling is a type of monetary involvement which carries the chance of a big return from the investment or nothing at all. It is all about pure luck. Popular casino games and card games are actual gambling where a player needs to involve money to stand a chance to gain more money from the same. But are the concept of purchasing in-game loot boxes similar to gambling?
The loot boxes found in-game mostly concern in-game skins, character cards, tools, and other cosmetics. However, sometimes the loot box may also provide rare items for a much higher worth which Players can alternatively access a higher price value. This is obviously resting upon the chance of a drop. Usually, rare and mystic items have a very slim drop rate chance, while common items and tools mostly push their way forward in a loot box drop. But to many players, the chance of winning a rare artifact actually weighs over the loot box price, and they involve in mass purchasing such loot boxes.
How Do The Drop Boxes Involve In-Game Purchases?
A study has shown that many gamers are affected by the craze of obtaining scarce artifacts from the in-game drops and thus are not hesitating before spending for the drop boxes. From its early appearances in 2004, drop boxes have attracted a substantial volume of player support. Various free-to-play games monetize their earnings by introducing such pay-to-win gaming mechanics.
This means one can play the game for free and need not invest in the game, but obviously, to win the game, one needs to pay. Drop boxes are a very integral part of this pay-to-win system. The concept of dropbox is to lure in the gamers with a comparatively low price and a promise to get a chance to win big. This is effectively the same promise a gambling game carries.
However, instead of monetary gain, the player stands to win in-game valuables often needed to win the game. These in-game loot boxes can scoop up quite the fortune for the company. According to many reports, full-time gamers spend around $100 a month after these loot boxes.
Why the High Price?
Many may ask why such big money when the price per box is very less. The answer is quite simple. The loot boxes attract people with the obtainment chance of those rare artifacts, which otherwise would have cost a fortune. Now the drop rates of those artifacts are rare indeed. Therefore, very rarely can one hope to hit the jackpot in the very first loot box purchase, while it is entirely not impossible but not common nevertheless?
Anyway, the players keep purchasing loot boxes one after another in the hope of hitting the prize in the next box. In this way, even $3 boxes can amount to big when purchased in big numbers. Many parents are complaining about the spending habits of their kids behind such games. While other spending sources are in a game, loot boxes are the primary most purchasing attraction nowadays. The fear of missing out or FOMO is being created upon this player rushing in the race to collect the rare artifacts. But the concept of this purchase is quite similar to gambling itself. But are they truly a form of gambling?
Gambling or not, but psychologically the in-game loot boxes impose a widespread analogy of money involved in a promise of a higher gain. However, most video games are dependent on skills purely than investment; gambling laws don’ scrutinize the gaming avenue yet. Thus debates are rising over the looming concern of loot boxes, and what are the necessary steps to the practice under check.