This Week In The Business: Much Ado About Loot Boxes

25 per cent -- Amount of PC game revenue in 2016 that was generated by the sale of additional content like DLC and loot boxes, according to Digital River. The monetisation service company believes the games-as-a-service trend has tripled the overall gaming industry's value.

QUOTE | "We think of it as a similar principle to collectible card games: Sometimes you'll open a pack and get a brand new holographic card you've had your eye on for a while. But other times you'll end up with a pack of cards you already have." -- The ESRB explains why it doesn't see the practice of loot boxes as gambling.

QUOTE | "We know that the dopamine system, which is targeted by drugs of abuse, is also very interested in unpredictable rewards. Dopamine cells are most active when there is maximum uncertainty, and the dopamine system responds more to an uncertain reward than the same reward delivered on a predictable basis." -- Dr Luke Clarke, director at the Centre for Gambling Research at the University of British Columbia, explains why loot boxes work so well.

QUOTE | "We talk about making a game with a budget of, say, $US10 ($13) million and the smaller developers tend to look at it and go, 'How do they waste so much money?' And then the triple-A guys say, 'How do they do it for so cheap?'" -- inXile Entertainment's Brian Fargo talks about the increasingly hazardous middle ground of game budgets the Wasteland 3 studio sits in.

QUOTE | "The doxxing and threats and insults kept coming for several days. Pretty scary stuff -- but nothing I didn't deserve." -- Former Riot employee Aaron Rutledge discusses the fallout from publicly insulting a toxic and frequently banned League of Legends player, while also showing how normalised and accepted harassment has become in gaming.

QUOTE | "When you're neck-deep in production, you don't think about this stuff because you don't have to. We don't live with these disabilities every day." -- Naughty Dog UI designer Alexandria Neonakia says making games accessible for disabled players doesn't have to be expensive, but it does have to be a constant consideration.

QUOTE | "France is huge on anime in general. You can actually go into corner shops and find 18+ hentai on the shelf. So France is a really big market for us, and Germany is too." -- Marvellous Entertainment European general manager Harry Holmwood talks about bringing the hyper-sexualized Senran Kagura series to the West.

QUOTE | "For the higher-end immersive gaming VR space, the 'chasm of disappointment' is quickly becoming more of an abyss." -- The NPD Group's Mat Piscatella is unimpressed with Oculus' big announcements this week and its decision to make the $US399 ($506) price point for Rift and Touch permanent.

STAT | One million-plus -- The number of gamers who own PlayStation VR, according to a blog post from Sony Interactive Entertainment president Shawn Layden marking the headset's first anniversary. Eight months ago, the number was 915,000.

STAT | $US1 ($1) billion -- Amount of additional funding sought by mixed reality startup Magic Leap. The company has already raised $US1 ($1).6 billion, and has yet to even announce a product.

QUOTE | "I'm never going to call anything a lost cause but I think some of the fundamental reasons and certain scenarios, they're not really going away." -- Xbox head Phil Spencer doesn't sound hopeful that Sony will change its resistance to cross-platform play between PS4 and Xbox One owners anytime soon.


Comments

    With booster packs, the cards inside the boosters ARE the game. You can also trade your cards with other people. In fact, that's kinda how the draft format works. A whole bunch of people buy a bunch (usually just three each) of boosters and take turns selecting cards from them. Essentially giving each player a deck (and therefore, the game) for the cost of entry (which is rarely much more than 20 dollars). Yes, they need to put land cards in, but they literally give them away for limited format games, and will probably let you take enough for your deck if you are building a new one (especially if you have bought product from them to make that new deck) for non-limited use.

    Meanwhile, lootboxes don't do a damn thing if you haven't bought the game.

      The lack of lands in MTG boosters is why your distinction doesn't work though. The boosters are useless unless you buy or are gifted essential parts in the base game, which in MTG's case is a starter set or builder's toolkit. What you described about being given the lands by someone else who paid for them isn't conceptually different from being gifted the base video game by someone else who paid for it, they only really differ in price.

      That might be the case for a physical card game but with a lot of online CCG you don't actually have the ability to trade cards. Which is probably the more accurate version to compare with

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