The scourge of loot boxes has been a problem in gaming for a while, and these days it feels as if every AAA release features these awful microtransactions. But review aggregator site OpenCritic is fighting back against the practice by testing ways of showing if games contain paid-for content, and to what extent.
“We’re looking into ways to add business model information to OpenCritic,” tweeted the site. “Let us know your thoughts on how we can categorize and display ‘business model intrusiveness’ on game pages in a fair and scalable way.”
Let us know your thoughts on how we can categorize and display "business model intrusiveness" on game pages in a fair and scalable way.— OpenCritic (@Open_Critic) October 9, 2017
OpenCritic is is still deciding the best method of implementing this filter. It may simply inform readers if parts of a game’s content must be paid for, or if everything is included in the retail price. Information on whether players must use randomized loot boxes, if they can buy goods straight from a store, and if these items are purely cosmetic could also be present.
Other suggestions for the system include clarifying how the game advertises the loot boxes to players, and how long it takes to see everything a game has to offer without paying extra money - if possible.
Shadow of War and Forza 7 are just two recent releases to have incurred gamers' wrath by including loot box systems. But the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront 2 is said to be even worse. Eurogamer called it “pay to win,” while YouTuber AngryJoe said that assuming there are three weapons per class in the shipped game (two more than in the beta), it would take around 3600 hours to unlock every gun.
Many companies claim these paid-for loot boxes are aimed at people “protective of their spare time,” because plenty of us have 3600 free hours, obviously. OpenCritic should be applauded for trying to do something about a system that was once only found in free-to-play titles. Here's hoping it starts a new consumer backlash that brings an end to this loot box awfulness.