GIbiz posted an article earlier this week peppered with quotes from Mat Piscatella, an NPD US games market analyst who suggests that the recent lootbox/lockbox grumbling hasn’t had any effect on sales: “The loot box or microtransactions controversy has not yet resulted in clear noticeable limitations of the sales potential of the games with [those mechanics].”
The assessment should surprise absolutely no one at all, since while MMORPG players have been fighting back against the rise of the lockbox for at least six years by our count, mainstream PC gamers are only now coming to terms with the more pleasantly named “lootbox” phenomenon. It’s, uh, probably going to take more than two weeks of mainstream complaining before markets and governments show any signs whatsoever of reaction.
This, incidentally, is basically the same argument that popular vlogger Jim Sterling makes in a satisfyingly profanity-laced video, which I’ve tucked down below because his rants make me happy.
Indeed, based on our own poll from earlier this week, it’s pretty clear that even in a community that overwhelmingly refuses to pay money for lockboxes, very few of us actually steer clear of games that have them, most likely because very few games abstain from the practice in the first place, and most of us aren’t willing to give up our entire hobby.
In other lockbox news, MMO blogger Serrenity is back with an analysis on whether lockboxes constitute gambling from a legal perspective, which matches up with our own reporter’s conclusions last year. In a separate piece, he argues (convincingly) that even if you aren’t concerned about gambling paying for the online gaming industry, you should probably be concerned about the fact that the complete lack of regulation, oversight, and transparency in how lockboxes actually work means studios could be literally cheating the whales left and right, and we’d never know.
Gamasutra, meanwhile, has declared that “the game industry must face up to its gambling problem.”
“Its failure to self-regulate, to develop wide ranging ethical standards for the practice, will lead inevitably to the imposition of regulations from without,” Katherine Cross argues on Gamasutra. “Gaming studios have, for the moment, been glorying in the grey area created by technological novelty, after all. Most people still don’t know or care what a ‘lootbox’ is, much less regard its contents as in any way valuable. […] But reality will catch up to us. These in-game practices are, after all, in line with the letter of the law, but not their spirit.”