The fight against loot boxes and gambling in gaming

Regulators around the world began cracking down on a practice in the game industry known as “loot boxes” this past year.

Loot boxes are a mechanism where companies allow players to buy a randomised selection of in-game items for real-world currency. Crucially, the contents of the loot box is only revealed after the purchase is made.

Publishers of game franchises use the monetisation strategy across their best-selling titles, often resulting in consumer backlash.

This backlash was not only about loot boxes, however, and could be traced to unhappiness over the inclusion of “microtransactions” in games.

The essence of the complaints were that publishers were charging full price for their latest games, and then either forcing or strongly encouraging players to spend more money to get the full experience.

At launch the “standard” edition of games from high-end publishers usually retail for between R900 and R1,000, while a deluxe or collector’s edition is R1,500 or more. These prices may vary depending on whether the game is being bought for PC, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4.

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