One of the largest game review aggregation sites has officially declared war on the rising trend of microtransactions in games. OpenCritic is having no more of loot boxes becoming more and more of the norm and they have made clear their stance on the site’s Twitter and how they are planning to “take a stand against loot boxes” in the near future.
We’re going to take a stand against loot boxes. We’re looking into ways to add business model information to OpenCritic.
— OpenCritic (@Open_Critic) October 9, 2017
With categories such as gameplay vs. dedicated store, random vs. buying direct, cosmetic vs. buying power – the company aims to make the perfect model to disillusion players against harmful, and costly, business practices in games.
“We’re looking into ways to add business model information to OpenCritic. Let us know your thoughts on how we can categorize and display ‘business model intrusiveness’ on game pages in a fair and scalable way.”
They aim to track what algorithms games use for their loot boxes and how each transaction benefits players or if they are all purely cosmetic. This system put into place will allow gamers to look into how a game sets up their loot systems to decide if the additional content is worth the price or not to avoid being scammed into buying boxes/crates that promise boosts and an elevated experience when in fact, it’s all a ruse.
The rise of microtransactions in games continues on a steady path. Some games get it right by allowing players to earn the same units as available to purchase, such as Overwatch. There is nothing in the Blizzard FPS that you can’t earn simply by playing. That being said, other titles out there make it almost appear that purchasing these “add-ons” is essential to the play experience. OpenCritic aims to challenge that.
With more and more gamers and industry personnel being vocal about their displeasure, will operations such as this dissuade companies from overtaxing the loot box system? Do you think that developers are going too far with microtransactions, or is it something that can be easily overlooked?