Tim Sweeney, Epic Games CEO, has made his position on loot boxes clear.
Loot boxes represent one of the biggest topics in gaming outside of our Fortnite bubble. Somewhere along the line, they became a standard way to offer cosmetics and, sometimes, game-improving rewards to players.
There’s a long list of games that continue to push the loot box model; PUBG, Overwatch, Apex Legends, FIFA, Madden, and NBA 2K to name a few. Even Fortnite Save the World used Loot Llamas when the game first came out.
Epic Games is taking a stand against loot boxes, however, with CEO Tim Sweeney at the helm. He spoke about this monetization practice in gaming during the DICE Summit in Las Vegas, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter.
On the topic of loot boxes in gaming, Sweeney told the crowd, “We have to ask ourselves, as an industry, what we want to be when we grow up. Do we want to be like Las Vegas, with slot machines … or do we want to be widely respected as creators of products that customers can trust? I think we will see more and more publishers move away from loot boxes.”
“We should be very reticent of creating an experience where the outcome can be influenced by spending money,” he continued. “Loot boxes play on all the mechanics of gambling except for the ability to get more money out in the end.”
Sweeney backed up this talk through action from Epic Games. Llamas in Save the World now tell you what they hold. Epic’s purchase of Rocket League developer, Psynoix, came with the phasing out of the random crates from the game.
Sweeney also spoke about Epic’s partnerships with media giants like Marvel and Star Wars. The CEO clearly thinks that this is a much more wholesome approach to monetization than loot boxes.
“The future of this, if you have an awesome new product, you start releasing free stuff in games and people get [engaged with it],” Sweeney told the audience.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a consumer who is pro-loot boxes. Gamers, generally, hate loot boxes as the industry is getting pressure from audiences and governments. Local and national legislation is being passed across the globe in an effort to remove loot boxes from the gaming industry.
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With these statements from Tim Sweeney and actions from Epic, it’s clear that they’re positioning themselves on the right side of history.