Loot Boxes Are Expected To Generate $26 Billion By 2025

Loot Boxes Are Expected To Generate $26 Billion By 2025
Image: Overwatch/Blizzard
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Loot boxes are set to have a phenomenal few years, with revenue predicted to hit $US20 billion ($26 billion) by 2025 according to a new report from Juniper Research. The majority of this revenue is expected to come from the Far East and China, with North America and West Europe also considered future heavy spenders in the area.

Over 230 million gamers (5 per cent of players) are expected to spend money on loot boxes, with the majority of these players gaming on mobile devices.

It’s been a long road to success for loot boxes over the last decade, with frequent backlash forcing changes to games like Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and Shadow of WarDespite calls for more intense regulation and the links drawn between problem gambling and purchasing loot boxes, the mechanic has thrived over the last few years.

In mainstream gaming Overwatch has led this charge, but newer mobile games like Genshin Impact and Nintendo titles Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Mario Kart Tour have also helped normalise loot boxes.

While the report noted revenue for loot boxes was just $US15 million ($19 million) in 2020, the average growth projection was set at 5 per cent year-on-year. Juniper Research stated projected growth would slow over time as consumer fatigue set in and new legislation passed but regardless, it predicted exponential growth in the sector.

“We expect to see game publishers react to this in future by changing loot box formats, in order to keep them compelling and outside the legal realms of gambling,” Juniper’s Nick Hunt predicted.

Loot boxes have already found their way into every part of the games industry, including full-priced AAA titles. For some developers, they’re an unfortunate reality in an industry that’s become increasingly unsustainable. It’s likely we’ll continue to see them integrated into more titles as games become more ambitious and expensive to produce.

While more regulation is needed to reduce the risk loot boxes pose to young children and problem gamblers, they’re a feature gamers will have to continue to accept.

Comments

    • This is why they’re straight evil.
      Sensible people will either avoid lootboxes to keep playing a F2P game for ‘free’, or will offer a token amount that they feel is reasonable relative to, say, a box price for a game or similar, similar to setting themselves a ‘subscription’ price allowance.

      That spending does not represent the majority of the money coming in. Every industry insider insight we have points to the majority of lootbox spending as coming from whales.

      The number of whales who are just perversely wealthy such that they can spend an industry-shaping amount of money without putting themselves into hardship is most likely a tiny minority, just by virtue of how few people in the world have that kind of wealth vs how many individual games there are, pulling in those crazy numbers.

      I can’t find any data to support it, but my suspicion is that the bulk of whales are vulnerable to psychological manipulation that these games have perfected and are not able to afford it without negatively impacting their lives (and often the lives of loved ones). I also suspect we’ll never get this kind of data because the organizations best-placed to collect it are also those who profit from exploitation of the vulnerable.

  • A story the other day said Germany was seriously considering banning loot boxes or “cost traps” being sold to minors… as part of an update to a Youth Protection law. 3 days later that got dropped.

    I smell a dirty lobbyist.

  • If something has loot boxes, a subscription service, premium in-game currency, or even high-priced Season Passes (Anything over $20 is too much) I tend to avoid them like the plague now.

    As a part of reviewing I do elsewhere, I actually drop the grade of a game if it has predatory practices like the ones I mention above. I don’t mind DLC when done right, but a lot of games are moving to this predatory “games as a service” model as the profits begin to be seen.

    This is also why I’ve moved away from modern gaming and gone back to retro gaming, collecting physical media too. If I’m paying for something, then I want the whole thing upfront, not paying a fee to play or “unlock” things that were once free rewards for playing the game.

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