Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp just got loot boxes in its latest update. Thanks, I hate it!
Screenshot: Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (Nintendo)
The mobile Animal Crossing game is no stranger to dodgy, predatory mobile game mechanics. This latest updates introduces the scummiest of all: Loot boxes, in the form of the new Fortune Cookies. These items, available to buy at the market for either Bells or the paid currency of Leaf Tickets, will give you random, rare items when you eat them - items which are only available in these cookies.
They aren't cheap, either. There are three tiers of Fortune Cookies available. The most expensive are linked to themed sets and are always purchasable with 50 Leaf Tickets. I grabbed one for the pastry shop themed furniture and clothing set and snagged a cute pastry display. The second tier is available for 5000 bells, and are also linked to special furniture and clothing sets, but are only sometimes available to buy in the shop. The lowest tier costs 50 bells, and when I ate that I literally got a toilet.
You can earn bells and Leaf Tickets in the game, and could probably earn enough Leaf Tickets to get a Fortune Cookie or two through levelling up and finishing quests. If you run out, the Leaf Ticket store does not sell Leaf Tickets in bundles of 50, so you'd have to buy the 45 ticket bundle for $2.99, and then the 20 ticket bundle for another $1.49. Your virtual furniture is gonna cost you $4.48.
I reached out to Nintendo to ask why they have added these new items to Pocket Camp but they did not provide comment in time for publication.
Like the rest of the game, Fortune Cookies have a dusting of the charming, sweet Animal Crossing icing sugar, but once you bite into it, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
When you open a Fortune Cookie you do actually get a fortune, and they're pretty cute. One told me that I'd get a seat on the bus, which is legitimately a good fortune when you live in a city. Too bad these funny messages are linked to such a controversial form of monetisation.
I do truly appreciate this fortune. Screenshot: Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (Nintendo)
This is absolutely about monetisation, after all. Five thousand bells is a lot of bells - not so much that you can't earn in a day, but it'd take a bit of work. Once you buy a Fortune Cookie with bells it sells out as well, further randomising your random items. The Leaf Ticket cookies are always in stock, so you can just keep buying them until you get what you want.
The Fortune Cookie store also has a stamp card you can fill up each time you buy a cookie with Leaf Tickets, and you can trade those stamps for other rare items not available anywhere else. This update also added a 2500 Leaf Ticket bundle to the store for $124.99.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp makes me sad. I love these characters, I love the art, and I love making a nice campsite to share with my friends. Every new update adds something else that reminds me of what the game is all about, though: Taking my money and taking my time.