Twitch has introduced loot crates for Halloween which offer temporary emotes. The crates offer random rewards, as well as a permanent reward for collecting the whole set. It’s weird.
A Twitch blog post outlines a Halloween promotion in which players can spend “bits” to receive special loot crates. Bits are a digital currency bought with real-world money that viewers can use to tip their favourite streamers. This is also called “cheering” and provides some extra income for streamers. If viewers tip at least 250 bits ($US3.50 [$4.50]) they will receive a loot crate. These crates drop emotes that viewers can use in chat until the end of the year. If they collect a set of all six emotes, users will receive a Zombie Lord Kappa emote for permanent use. Viewers can also cheer 5000 bits ($US64.40 [$82.83]) and unlock the emote in the process.
This loot model, which rewards players for gathering all collectables in a set, is known as “complete gacha”. It’s a variation of the gachapon loot systems, which migrated from Japanese mobile games to other platforms. Japan notably outlawed this model in 2012 due to similarities to gambling. Loot crates, now ubiquitous in video games, often employ various tricks to encourage repeat purchases.
Twitch began using loot crates in April, granting them to viewers who spent a certain amount of money purchasing games or in-game items using links below streamers’ videos. The crates contain special items such as badges, emotes and bits. The Halloween loot crates may drop duplicates of items, at an undisclosed rate. Thus far, community reaction to the crates has been mixed.
“The fact you need all 6 temporary emotes to unlock one permanent one is a bit blech to me in particular,” one user said on Reddit.
“It seems to be for spending bits on any channels and seems to just be a bonus, so who cares?” another said.
Loot crates and microtransations have drawn criticism lately, as AAA games such as Shadow of War and Star Wars Battlefront 2 implement crates with items that can affect gameplay. Last week, Activision was granted an exploratory patent for a matchmaking system that encourages players to make in-game purchases, although they stated it has not been implemented into any of their games. Popular games such as Overwatch and Battlefield 1 also use loot crates to grant cosmetic items. Twitch’s emotes are closer to the latter, although viewers often use them as a means of expression or communication.