There has been a lot of talk about Loot Boxes as of recently, and they don’t seem to be going away anytime soon as they are still being forced down our throats. That’s also why I don’t intend to shut up about them either, and the same thing goes for microtransactions. So who else other than Activision is to throw its hat in the ring with an announcement of a patent designed to encourage microtransactions in multi-player games (surprise, surprise…). While this is just a patent, and Activision states they aren’t using it in any of their games at the moment, and that it was just a part of their “market research”. Even so, I still think it’s safe to assume that it’s not a matter of “if” but “when”, because let’s be honest. It’s Activision that we’re talking about here, and they are pretty well-known for their extreme greed.
With that said, you might be wondering what exactly this “Patent” is or what it does. Well, essentially it’s there to funnel ill-equipped players (whether it’s cosmetics, weapons, perks, skies the limit really) to lobbies with other players who have decent gear (gear that the player in question might want). This is then somehow meant to act as a lure for them to then go to that in-game store and spend their hard-earned cash to get the same gear. In other words, it’s basically a way to use layers as advertisement for cool loot.
In an article with Glixel, Activision stated the following: “This was an exploratory patent filed in 2015 by an R&D team working independently from our game studios” and it was followed by “It has not been implemented in-game.” Of course, they would say that, because Game publishers are always 100% honest and have never told a lie ever.
This is where my distrust for publishers is forever growing, and we have been lied to for a long time now…And they constantly get away with it because evidently, we’re still buying their games. There are several companies and figure heads that have lied to us in the past, such as Ubisoft, Capcom, Sony, Microsoft and individuals like Randy Pitchford, Sean Murray and Peter Molyneux. My point would be that with the amount of lies that’s been told in the past, I would never get the idea to tattoo all the lies all over my body, because there wouldn’t be enough space on my body to fit all those lies.
So as you might imagine, when I hear a publisher like Activision (you know, the same publisher that said “Call of Duty 4” would not be available separate to Infinite Warfare? Only to then release a standalone version for £30 then have the audacity of charge you for old map packs on top takes the bloody cake!) say anything about a new game or whatever, I get very skeptical and suspicious. As I (and others) know from past experiences that we might just get ripped off in one way or another.
I mean, from seeing bullshot trailers for games like “Killzone 3” to “Aliens Colonial Marines”, being passionately told about a game with all the features it will have, only for it not to have barely any of the features mentioned. Simply put, the lies and the disappointments has taken it’s told on me when it comes to trust. For example, do you remember when Ubisoft told us that “The Division” wouldn’t have microtransactions, just for them to be patched in later? The list of lies just goes on and on forever… That’s also why I as a consumer and a gamer, tend to get rather skeptical by default when I hear anything from a game developer or publisher (no matter how honest they seem).
Well, at least when it comes to today’s games, because how am I supposed to believe in anything that’s being said at this point? Truth be told, I can’t even watch a game reveal without being negative because I’ve been burned too many times in the past. Furthermore, I can pretty much guarantee that this bloody patent will likely be active (or something similar to it) in “Call of Duty WW2,” because it’s right there in black and white! (especially with the fact the game has a lobby where you can watch other players open loot boxes).
Jesus, even after paying £50 for the game and then the season pass on top, it isn’t enough, they then want to encourage you to just keep on spending cash on digital crap that has no damn value. So how on earth can we believe that this patent won’t be in use with the track record they have? Give me a break…
The argument I’ve seen so much is that if they’re cosmetic and don’t affect gameplay there’s no issue, but that’s not exactly true, is it? It’s still content someone might have, that you don’t. The only way to get that content is to grind for hours on end or pay and even then; that content is mixed in with a lot of other crap that you most likely don’t want…But who’s to say the odds for better loot increases if purchased with real cash? So publishers will with no doubt explore ways to exploit the consumer out of money, there are many people out there that’s vulnerable to this.
It’s getting to the point where I am becoming genuinely annoyed with the bull crap surrounding video games. It’s one thing after another. However, this is not just about loot boxes. It’s the publishers themselves and the lies the continually tell that’s all a part of this. It’s sucking the joy out of a hobby I love, there’s still a part of me that gets excited for games, but that excitement soon turns to despair when I start reading about microtransactions, loot boxes, season passes and pre-order content. This is just another pile of wood to fuel the fire.
Sure, you can say “Just ignore them” or “It’s not going to happen” but that’s not addressing the issue. As it’s simply letting this madness continue without being challenged. So it’s very naïve to think this will stop at just cosmetic costumes (heck even in “Infinite Warfare” had additional weapons which were kept in loot boxes). So, yeah, just the fact this patent simply exists is disheartening and very worrying. Well, at least in my opinion.
And with that said, what’s your take on this matter? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
Robin Ek – Editor, co-writer
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.
The Gaming Ground
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