While many gamers have complained about the use of microtransactions in full retail games for years, the practice finally came under mainstream scrutiny in 2017. Now thanks to the backlash against microtransactions and loot boxes, at least one analyst is predicting that this year will see publishers “pullback” on using microtransactions in games.
This is according to analyst Doug Creutz, who is from the investment banking firm Cowen. Creutz pointed to the backlash surrounding games like Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Destiny 2, and how this backlash has potentially harmed the earnings potential for both of those titles. “We suspect that 2018 will see a pullback on industry attempts to aggressively drive [microtransaction] growth as a result,” he said.
As Creutz points out, Star Wars Battlefront 2 still has yet to reintroduce its microtransactions, meaning it has no way to cash in on the loot boxes that were meant to be a continued source of revenue for DICE and Electronic Arts. Destiny 2, meanwhile, has been the subject of a number of controversies since launch, ranging from fans annoyed about the way it uses shaders to backlash against paid DLC locking players out of previously free content.
It will be interesting to see if Creutz’s prediction comes true, but so far, it doesn’t appear to be the case. Not even a month into 2018, and Ubisoft has retroactively added new microtransactions and loot boxes to popular games like Ghost Recon Wildlands and Rainbow Six Siege, a decision that has caused somewhat of an uproar in the gaming community.
However, even if video game publishers themselves don’t decide to pullback on microtransactions, the choice may be made for them. Thanks to the Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot box controversy, the use of loot boxes and microtransactions in video games is now being investigated by a number of government entities the world over, with talks of legislation being introduced to regulate the practice.
Whether or not any of this comes to pass remains to be seen. However, it’s clear that the controversy surrounding loot boxes and microtransactions is far from over.
Source: Game Informer