OpenCritic Implements New Feature to Flag Games that Contain Loot Boxes
Games that contain the much-loathed loot box system will now be flagged on OpenCritic's website.
Way back in 2017 when loot boxes seemed to be implemented in every game around, review aggregate site OpenCritic came out and said that as a way to push back against the frustrating mechanic, it would be looking for a way to label games on its site that include the randomized gambling system. Well, it took over a year to finally implement, but as of today, OpenCritic has now done exactly that.
OpenCritic announced this morning that it has added a label to a variety of different pages for video games on its website that include any variant of loot boxes. Some of the games in question that have received this warning of sorts include Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, FIFA 19, NBA 2K19, and Overwatch.
“The OpenCritic team believes that loot boxes are a net-negative for the video game industry. Loot boxes prey on human’s generally poor ability to accurately understand and internalize probabilities, especially at the extremes,” OpenCritic said in a statement to accompany today’s action. “It’s our mission to help gamers make informed decisions when considering a purchase or download. We feel that informing consumers about the presence of loot boxes is a key part of our mission.”
OpenCritic also explained that not all games with a randomized system or even ones that directly include gambling will receive this label. For example, roguelikes are supposed to be randomized, so no harm there. Red Dead Redemption also directly contains gambling mini-games, but that’s far different than what loot boxes are and therefore won’t contain the same label.
Instead, OpenCritic listed the following parameters that they have adhered to when assigning designations to games on its website.
-Unknown, Random Rewards. Users do not know what item they’ll receive prior to purchase. Instead, users are purchasing a chance to receive one item from a set of items.
-Monetized. Users are able to purchase the roll with real money, either directly or through an intermediary currency.
-Encouraged Use. Users are encouraged to acquire and consume the loot box during the course of normal gameplay or game systems.
All in all, this seems like a net positive for not only OpenCritic, but the gaming industry at large. Loot boxes suck, and it has been good to see that following the backlash to Star Wars Battlefront II at launch, the randomized crate system has slowly started to fade away from many games. Even if implemented rather well in a game–Overwatch, Apex Legends, etc.–it’s always still a bummer to see them included whatsoever. Hopefully, we continue to see less and less of this system in the future.