There has been quite a lot of noise surrounding loot boxes and micro-transactions in various gaming communities, and for good reason, gamers have had to deal with micro-transactions and loot boxes for years now and if anything, it has only gotten worse over these years, we started seeing micro-transactions and loot boxes in online games, then it moved over to competitive games and it even managed to touch single player games, it’s wrong it’s atrocious and it’s not right.
However with every mass boycott, sometimes the noise becomes loud enough to distract from what’s important to hear and read, and what isn’t and this situation is not immune to this fact, yes games should not have micro-transactions or loot boxes, but some do, some games like free to play games needs some income in order to keep providing a service to it’s players and keep the servers “well oiled” so to speak, but from what’s currently going on, how should free to play games and the companies behind them react, how do you react to a situation that’s literally your lifeblood being threatened to be taken away, well, you rethink, you “re-purpose” the “wheel” in a way, and there is plenty a company like Nexon, Aeria Gamesn Perfect World and many more could do.
First and foremost, stop being greedy, it’s a hard one indeed since any company would avoid this line of thinking like a cat to water, greed isn’t in a company’s line of thinking, income is, but forced and over priced virtual items can quickly turn proper income into greed, with most free to play games being on PC so far it’s not far fetched to think that anyone playing a free to play game, may easily also be playing many other games from different genres, games on Steam or purchasing games through a 3rd party, or gifted by a friend, PC games are cheap these days and there are more or less endless amounts of relatively cheap games, not to mention sales often seen on Steam or Humble Bundle and so on taking cheap games and further cutting their prices down, so why should a virtual item in a free to play game cost almost if not just as much as a decent cheap game? why should a sword, an in game pet, or a loot box be just as expensive as a full fledged video game? it makes little sense and it’s all part of proper income becoming greed.
If these companies are afraid of lowering their prices due to the content being sold could possibly make the games in game economy unbalanced or provide an item or weapon too powerful to sell at a lower price, then re-balance said items or equipment, maybe even exchange them for another similar item that fits the bell better, but as long as premium currency, loot boxes or items are being sold for around the same prices as full fledged video games, that’s simply not acceptable.
Another option to explore could be by removing purchasable currency, you know the “money” or “gems” you purchase in order to buy items or loot boxes, instead be fair and set a price tag on every item or loot box so that it at least looks less greedy, it also makes it easier to purchase an item that way instead of having to spend money on currency amounts you don’t even need, which in turn ends up as leftovers that just ends up collecting dust and expiring.
Free to play games companies could also balance there prices to better fit currencies around the world, this is specially important to free to play games that’s available globally or to large portions of the world, as some currencies aren’t as strong as others it easily becomes a nightmare for people in some countries or regions to purchase game currency, items or loot boxes, this is especially an issue with countries that do not use dollar or euro as a currency.
And last, stop adding overpowered items to loot boxes or services that provide unfair advantages, one of the reason people play free to play games is because of a sense of community, some people meet friends, wife’s, husbands, and form friendships in the most unlikely places, one of those places are video games, specifically mmo’s, and that’s what mostly keeps them playing for many months or years, by providing items, weapons, armor or services that gives one an unfair advantage they often end up reaching their goals much faster than anyone else who are perhaps not spending as much, that in turn creates an unnatural disconnect between players that are not due to playtime or skill, but because someone decided to spend more money than his other friends, now he or she don’t need said friends anymore as they can easily do everything they used to do with friends, alone, and playing with friends would in turn give the big spending player little in return as a result, that in turn forces said player to either wait for his or her friends to catch up or keep playing alone, perhaps even having to find other people to play with.
That’s why premium items in loot boxes as well as separate items and services should be just as balanced as any other pre-existing items in game, so that even if someone decided to give themselves a boost, it should be a short or small one, swords and armor in loot boxes should be cosmetic and even if not, should still not equal the best gear in the game or provide any shortcut to gaining the best gear in the game much earlier.
A good way to provide a better loot box system would also be to provide a level of some sort in the description, to give a better idea of what the content provided in the loot box offers, or perhaps give them distinctive names like beginners box and elites box, instead of simply calling them loot boxes or gachapons.
There are many ways premium content, services and premium currency could be better regulated, but it’s often deliberately setup so the company providing the free to play games can make as much money as possible, with as little regard for it’s players as possible.
Instead of sucking as much money out of your player bases as possible and when they in turn get fed up you call it a day and blame monetary issues before closing shop, instead provide them a fair chance at your games and a better purchasing experience, it may not generate as much income, but it will definitely keep people coming back and paying for as long as interest in the game is there, and everyone will mention and remember your games in a positive light.