In the latest development of the ongoing loot box saga in the video gaming industry, people are mad at Ubsioft for its semi-official stance on the controversial monetization method.
This week, news that Ubisoft’s upcoming 2.5D racing multiplayer game, Trials Rising, will have loot boxes — like many of Ubisoft’s games — broke, and some players were unsurprisingly not very happy about the news.
If you skim through the thread for yourself, you’ll actually see all types of reactions. Some people point out that the loot boxes are for only cosmetic items, meaning their impact is minimal and interaction isn’t required or even encouraged. Meanwhile, others were downright livid. Some even unpleasant.
Early in the thread, a Ubisoft developer chimed in letting everybody know the team would be alerted to the concern surrounding the “Gear Crates.” A pretty PR friendly response. But this was followed by another Ubisoft developer chiming in representing “Ubisoft Support.” And their response was more honest and engaging, and thus consequently less PR friendly, and naturally didn’t alleviate the concerns it was aiming to address.
“As has been pointed out, these loot crates are purely cosmetic,” writes the Ubisoft dev. “I do appreciate why players feel the way they do about them (not a huge fan myself), however, as it was also pointed out, you can always just not buy them.”
The developer continued:
“Ultimately, they’re intended for players who want something to help them stand out from the crowd when playing online, or even just those who are big fans of the game and want to support us further.
“Yes, it means that some players end up spending more on our games than others and that does result in increased profits for us. It also helps us to put more money into new titles and to understand what players look for in their games. If players simply didn’t buy these crates, they would not be added into games in future.”
The developer concludes pointing out that loot boxes “aren’t bad if done right,” suggesting their implementation in Trials Rising doesn’t over step boundaries egregiously like some other releases in recent years.
Wherever you come down on loot boxes and their continued prevalence, it’s a shame to see developers taken through the ringer over them, especially when it’s over cosmetic-only loot boxes. This wasn’t the smoothest PR job by Ubisoft, but some of the responses in the thread are over-the-top, but that’s to be expected when loot boxes are the discussion at hand.