OpenCritic will now flag games that utilise loot boxes

LOS ANGELES: Review aggregator OpenCritic announced that it will now begin notifying readers of any games that utilise “loot box” mechanics. 

Citing titles like Star Wars Battlefront II and Middle-earth: Shadow Of War as the inspiration behind taking a stand against these practices, OpenCritic has made the decision to denote when they’re available in-game. 

The team behind the website believes loot boxes are a “net-negative” for the industry as a whole. Loot boxes have been a hotly-contested subject within the game industry following negative backlash after a very messy Star Wars Battlefront II situation where players believed the game was “greedy”, asking them to pay additional funds into a game they had already purchased for content they believed should already be in the base title. 

“Loot boxes prey on human’s generally poor ability to accurately understand and internalise probabilities, especially at the extremes. Rather than offer in-game items directly, loot boxes are used to mask the underlying cost of extremely attractive items,” the OpenCritic announcement reads, along with other rationalisation of what the organisation feels is detrimental about randomisation and other “gambling”-like mechanics. 

OpenCritic looks at metrics like unknown, random rewards, monetisation, and encouraged usage of items to determine whether or not a game utilises loot boxes. Games found to be using said items will be flagged within OpenCritic with a bright orange banner seen on the top of the page beneath the title’s OpenCritic Rating, Top Critic Average, and Critics Recommend badges. 

“It’s our mission to help gamers make informed decisions when considering a purchase or download. We feel that informing consumers about the presence of loot boxes is a key part of our mission,” wrote OpenCritic on its official blog. 

The changes have gone into effect and can be seen across the site as of Feb 5. – Variety/Reuters


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