Over the past few years, loot-boxes and micro-transactions have become arguably the biggest problem in the gaming industry. For very good reason actually, these monetization schemes have been the catalyst for the desecration of our favorite franchises.
Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War, Destiny 2 and, of course, the infamous Star Wars: Battlefront 2 are three key examples from just last year that exemplify the extent to which these corporate cash grabs can ruin gaming experiences. As a result, people all around the world, of all ages and backgrounds, flood online forums and the inboxes of these gaming companies, howling their frustrations in a cumulative protest the likes of which we've likely never seen before.
You may think companies like EA or Ubisoft don't listen to these objections from their consumers, but they do. They most certainly hear the massive waves of resentment constantly bombarding their offices on a daily basis... So why do they keep implementing these features into their games?
Because they know it's a bluff.
We can yell and scream at these companies until we're blue in the face, but at the end of the day, numbers don't lie. This relatively new way of drawing in revenue works. And it works very well. Just to list a few examples:
Ubisoft's net income from 2017 is the most they've made in a year since 2008.
Activision-Blizzard made a whopping $4 billion dollars in revenue from microtransactions in 2017 alone.
And the infamous EA has their stock prices at an all-time high.
So what's going on? This doesn't add up. How can these companies piss off their consumers on a daily basis and bring in revenue almost unparalleled by any other industry?
It's because we're lying.
Like I said before, companies like Activision-Blizzard and EA know that our collective protest of loot-boxes and micro-transactions is a bluff. Despite our constant verbal feedback of not wanting these "features" in our games...
We continue to buy them. We constantly yell and scream about how we hate loot-boxes, how we despise micro-transactions, but when push comes to shove, we cave in and spend our money on them. We're a dog with a big bark but no bite. We're like a final boss that never fights back. The ball has been in our court the whole time, but we never took the time to hit it...
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that nobody is actually pushing for change, but they're going about it the wrong way.
This sounds good, but it's not what you want. Yes, it will force gaming companies to stop the sale of loot-boxes in almost all games. Because nobody in their right mind wants an Adults Only rating on their game. However, what this won't stop... Is shady business practices.
I guarantee that if this legislation goes through, that within a year or two we'll start to see the ways that these crafty companies plan on getting around these laws. Be it by loopholes, selling all of the loot box items individually, or they could follow in the footsteps of Konami and force you to pay for basic functions of a game like save slots.
No, the pressure to stop these predatory practices has to come from the consumer base. Then, and only then will these companies realize that they can no longer use these strategies in their games.
That may be satire, but it's not hyperbole. All these companies care about now is how much money they can make off of their consumer bases. And they will use any means necessary to add more zeros to the end of their collective bank account. So how do we manage these money hungry behemoths? Well, it's surprisingly simple.
It's time to put your money where your mouth is.
Now is the time to put up or shut up. If you really do hate loot-boxes and micro-transactions, stop buying them. Don't just stop there though. Don't buy games that have predatory things in them like artificial grinds. Make it a point to support developers who makes games for the sake of actually creating a beautiful world,
tight game mechanics,
telling an awesome story,
and with real masterpieces, all of the above.
I've been doing these things for months now and I know I'm not alone in my protest. But there isn't enough of us. We as a community need to take responsibility for the monster that we helped create. We have to tame this beast and we can only do that if we work together.
I know this sounds like a pipe-dream to some people. I'm well aware that the gaming industry isn't too keen on making less money. But with enough of us actually voting with our wallets instead of just yelling empty threats all day, we, as a community can make these mega-corporations realize that they can't treat us like garbage any longer. They know full-well that the only reason that they have that much money in their pockets is because of us. Which means that all of us, as gamers, hold the key to the future of this industry.
So, let's use that key to open a new door for the gaming community.