Why Destiny 2’s Loot Box Removal Is a Massive Moment for Gaming

Destiny 2 is finally dropping loot boxes from the main game. This may be a watershed moment for this shady monetization practice.
Posted in: GamingOp-ed
Published:
March 10, 2020 2:24 PM UTC
  • Loot boxes have endured a wave of entirely justified backlash over the past several years.
  • Destiny 2 is the latest high-profile game to drop loot boxes entirely.
  • This could be the final nail in the coffin for this particular breed of microtransaction.

Loot boxes are a tricky business. When government bodies aren’t trying to make them illegal, medical professionals are warning parents about their dangers. The backlash is having a palpable impact on the industry. Even live service games like Destiny 2 are starting to abandon the practice.

Bungie revealed this week that it would scrap randomized loot crates from the in-game Destiny 2 store. They’ll still be available as drops from certain missions, but as rewards – not items that gamers purchase.

When even titles like Destiny 2 are abandoning loot box sales in their free-to-play versions, it’s clear support for this shady breed of microtransaction is waning. How long can they really survive in such a hostile environment?

Destiny 2 Dumps Loot Boxes, Ramping Up Pressure on Blizzard

Destiny 2’s loot box dump could usher in a new era of game monetization. | Source: Bungie

Loot boxes may appear lucrative, but they’re suffering a serious image problem, ranging from bad press to litigation to actual legislation.

The costs are starting to outweigh the benefits, which is why some games – like Star Wars Battlefront 2 – even removed them after launch.

Destiny 2 was one of the last blockbuster games that refused to capitulate. But Bungie couldn’t weather the mounting backlash forever.

Not that public perception is enough to stop the industry’s worst offenders.

While better companies are dropping loot boxes left, right, and center, Blizzard still has them prominently available for purchase. | Source: Blizzard

Blizzard still supports loot boxes in Overwatch, and will probably continue to do so.

Others, like Epic Games, have taken a middle-road approach. They basically neutered their randomized drops – they’re not really loot boxes anymore.

This Is a Watershed Moment for Game Monetization

Expect more holdouts to follow Destiny 2’s lead. Especially if governments and health officials keep calling out loot crates for what they are: gambling.

Unfortunately, this trend likely won’t change the mobile gaming sector, which has a much greater tolerance for shady monetization schemes. In a few years, this dark alley of the gaming industry may be the last place you can find loot boxes.

With Bungie finally on the consumer’s side, it’s time to put the pressure firmly on Blizzard.

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This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth for CCN.com. If you see a breach of our Code of Ethics or Rights and Duties of the Editor, or find a factual, spelling, or grammar error, please contact us and we will look at it as soon as possible.

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William Worrall @mizushinzui

William Worrall is a professional writer based out of the UK who has been writing about video and tabletop games for over a decade and has covered industry events such as EGX and UKGE. Contact him at: william.worrall@ccn.com