11 gaming trends the industry can lose or embrace in 2018

Nintendo /
8 of 11
EA /

Let it go: Loot Boxes to extend gameplay

Easily the biggest in-game gaming controversy of 2017 is the inclusion of loot boxes in EVERYTHING. Single player games, multiplayer games, online or offline, everyone was trying to extend the amount of time a player kept their eyeballs on a game with loot boxes.

The biggest culprit was none other than Electronic Arts, who put multiple games out to end the year that epitomized the trouble with the gameplay mechanic. I was once young and innocent and I said, “it’s just cosmetic” about the loot box trend, but now the only thing I can say is it can only get worse if consumers allow it to. This is not the recognition the industry wants to have.

The tipping point for me was when a game like Middle Earth: Shadow of War thought the orcs you encountered and recruited to your teams were “just cosmetic” to your experience when the entire game is built on your interactions with these orcs. I do not look forward to whatever the future of the loot box is in gaming, but I certainly hope it goes the way of the online pass and the pay-to-win mechanisms before them.

Not everyone is as bad as EA, but the argument of “it is just cosmetic” no longer holds when publishers are actively treating core components of how you play and alter the world in a game the same as the color of your outfit. Besides, there are so many other things we can see developers doing to increase the length of time with a game like: