Microtransactions, the new gambling in video games


Public apology from EAStarWars on Twitter on 11-16-17

Kion Karimi, Staff member

A new way to gamble has arrived in the form of loot boxes in our beloved video games.

Controversy arose recently surrounding EA’s new title “Star Wars Battlefront II,” in a way no one expected but could have seen coming from far far away: giving players the chance to pay for in-game currency that will unlock “loot boxes.”

These loot boxes will give players a random chance at unlocking specialized advantages in game, such as health perks or weapons that do better damage.

In a recently published video, YouTube personality AngryJoeShow had an interview about the controversy with “Battlefront II” producer Paul Keslin, and whether the loot box system can be unfair for players who are unwilling of unable to spend beyond the $60 for the base game.

“Some players will have no concerns about this, but I think that you raise some very valid points that we’re going to look at and address,” Keslin said.

A player who doesn’t purchase in-game currency would have to play hours upon hours to earn credits and unlock look boxes.

Players who do pay, however, will have a better chance to get an in-game advantage more quickly.

Pahul Kahlon, business administration major, said. “I just don’t get the advantage, it makes me not want to play, its not fair.”

This is unacceptable. It is designed to take advantage of players and pressure them to spend more money to gain a better advantage in-game.

Loot boxes are considered gambling because your taking a random chance on getting something that’ll give you an advantage in-game. You will keep on doing this until you get what you want and by that point you’re already spending a lot of money on a possibility of getting the exact item you want.

“Kids don’t think it’s gambling, they just want to be the best,” Kahlon said.

However, loot boxes aren’t the evil that everyone thinks they are. Some games use the mechanic to give players cosmetics, not anything used as an advantage to be better then other players.

“Overwatch,” a popular title by Blizzard, includes a loot box system that’s fair and consistent and doesn’t create tiers in their player base.

In this game, you open “loot boxes” to unlock cosmetics, voice lines, poses and more. Notice, however, that none of these unlockables alter gameplay in any way or give paying players an advantage.

“There’s that fun factor to unlock something,” said business administration major Andrew Lobzakov. “It makes things more exhilarating.”

“You’re supporting the game itself for more content from the developers,” Kahlon said.

It can still be argued that in “Overwatch” it’s still considered gambling because you’re paying money for these boxes, but at the very least there is no advantage you can get in-game by purchasing them.

This makes things simple and fair for everyone playing.

This is the only solution to make this system fair is by allowing players to unlock cosmetics only, nothing that can give an advantage in-game.

With all the outrage of people complaining on Reddit, forums and other forms of social media, EA was forced to remove the micro transaction system from “Battlefront II” completely for now.

The loot box system is still implemented, however, there is no longer a way of buying them with your money for now so everyone is now playing at a fair stance as compared to before when players can get ahead of the game by purchasing them with real money.

“This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right,” EA said in a tweet.

Only for a short amount of time can we rejoice in this victory that these micro transactions were removed until they “become available at a later date” EA states.