Amidst all of the problems gamers have with current microtransaction trends in gaming like loot boxes, one of the biggest perpetrators of the practice, Overwatch, often gets a free pass because its boxes are only cosmetic. However, that's not to say that they don't offer keys for sale to generate income beyond the game's premium price tag. The game's developer, Jeff Kaplan has defended the practices, suggesting that Blizzard is constantly evaluating whether loot boxes add to the play experience, or negatively affect it.
“I think on the big spectrum of loot boxes, between ‘really good’ and ‘really evil,’ I’d like to think we’re more on that ‘really good’ side with what we’re trying to do,” he said in a statement to Kotaku.
One of the cited changes that Blizzard made to loot boxes took place earlier this year when it altered the mechanic so that it was very unlikely people would end up with duplicate skins from loot boxes. It's not perfect, but it does at least reduce the change of it happening.
But what about the gambling aspect of loot boxes? How does Blizzard feel about using a practice that has been linked to the generation of addictive behaviour and uses that encouragement to earn money from its player base which has already paid for the game in the first place?
“When you talk about loot boxes, there’s a very wide spectrum of what games do with blind reveal systems,” Kaplan said. “I hope we’ve proven with Overwatch that we’re very much in touch with our community, we care, and we’re not scared to make big changes. We’re not scared to totally change how D.Va works, or Roadhog works, or Mercy works, or Symmetra works, or big systems work. We’re willing to go back to the drawing board on things, so I would never take anything off the table.”
Do you think Blizzard will ever drop the loot box mechanic from Overwatch?