Let’s Talk About: The Loot Box and gambling problem

By Landon Crook
Entertainment Editor
In gaming, there is an issue far greater than console vs PC, greater than Xbox vs Playstation vs Switch. It affects all gamers negatively and the practice needs to stop, or it should be addressed in some way, shape or form. That problem is loot boxes. For those who don’t know, loot boxes are (generally) randomly dropped items while playing a game, which the boxes themselves drop items. While this has been a lingering issue for a while now, it only started to gain mainstream attention with “Counter Strike: Global Offensive” when popular YouTubers TmarTn and The Syndicate Project were caught using a gambling scheme.

The simplified version of the story was they both owned a weapon skin (paintjobs on guns) betting site, so their odds on betting skins were increased (or so it seemed), effectively scamming people out of their expensive weapon skins. Where did those weapon skins come from? Probably bought from the Steam Marketplace, but the weapon skins origin are in loot boxes, or in this case, weapon cases.

While I don’t think the concept of loot boxes is a bad thing, more often than not, you don’t know what you are getting, so you could lose hundreds of dollars on loot boxes and get nothing but garbage. At the very least, it’s cosmetic changes, so it can be forgiven to a point, but with the most recent fiasco that was “Star Wars: Battlefront 2,” that wasn’t just cosmetics. Loot boxes in Battlefront 2 are the very definition of scummy because you can hardly do anything in the game without loot boxes! Well, it was a thing as Electronic Arts, the publisher of the game, back-peddled on their position and temporarily removed the purchase of “crystals,” the currency needed to get loot boxes.

Now I have to give EA some credit by deciding not to go with loot boxes at the game’s launch, but this is only temporary. Who’s to say that they won’t try a stunt like this again? Loot boxes in Battlefront 2 locked off almost everything most (if not all) content casual players would be interested in. I highly doubt a casual player would pour in hours and hours of grinding out levels just to try and get Luke Skywalker as a playable hero.

This loot box system also deterred the hard-core gaming crowd, because you have to put in money to just get what you want, which is absurd. It should be content that’s available via leveling up.

My solution to this problem is simple: Guarantee a decent drop every time or increase the rates of good items dropping and decrease the rates of bad drops, similar to what the mobile game “Fire Emblem: Heroes” did.

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