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loot boxes

1 day ago

Middle Earth: Shadow of War’s loot boxes are no more

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War's much-maligned loot boxes are gone for good, thanks to a major patch today. The blood-splattered Assassin's Creed/Batman/Pokemon hybrid no longer crams orcs into chests to be sold for cash. If you want them to join your army now, you'll have to do it the old-fashioned way; beating them up and forcing them to. The massive patch notes also include some game-changing tweaks. Below, my thoughts on some of the bigger…

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6 days ago

Counter-Strike crates blocked in Belgium & Netherlands

Presumably in order to adhere to new gambling rules pertaining to loot boxes, players in the Netherlands and Belgium are now blocked from opening key-locked boxes in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. This is following their announcement last month, where CS:GO and Dota 2 market trading was blocked for Dutch players (as covered here by Eurogamer), with promises that a "less inconvenient" solution would be coming.

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2 weeks ago

FIFA 19 to disclose Ultimate Team loot box odds

EA say they plan to disclose odds of loot box items in FIFA 19 and other sport 'em ups, though it's unclear quite how specific they'll get. Loot boxes in FIFA? Yup, those are the 'packs' of random players and power-ups for FIFA's long-running Ultimate Team mode (FUT), sold for a virtuacash or a premium microtransaction currency, which players use to build and boost a…

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3 weeks ago

Australian Senate committee to investigate loot boxes

The Australian Senate are launching an enquiry into microtransaction loot boxes, investigating whether they constitute gambling and to what extent they "may be harmful". While the enquiry won't change any policy itself, it could inform future laws. A number of politicians and bodies around the world have cocked an eyebrow at microtransaction virtuacrates of random digicrud in recent years, most notably after the loud backlash…

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4 weeks ago

Street Fighter V’s new fortune reading system offers up exclusive cosmetics and rewards

An update is coming to Street Fighter V on June 25 that will bring with it changes to the survival mode and introduce a new way to get cosmetics and consumables. The ‘Fighting Chance’ system will let you purchase fortune readings from Menat, containing random goodies. They’ll cost 500 fight money, which can be earned by playing the game.

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1 month ago

2 months ago

Feature: Suppressive fire

Battlefield V interview: dodging the lootbox question, and why battle royale “would really fit the universe”

I came away from my Battlefield V first look surprisingly ready for another tour of the Western front - prosthetic-armed Cockneys and all - but with a number of nagging questions. Firstly, how exactly is EA DICE approaching monetisation right now, in the wake of the uproar over Star Wars: Battlefront 2's rubbish launch-day microtransactions? I was treated to an hour-long presentation on the game's…

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Shadow of War expansion Desolation of Mordor out now

Middle-earth: Shadow of War Desolation of Mordor is the most nonsensical sequence of words I have typed in some time. Yes, this is the second expansion for the popular orc dating simulator set in the land of Lord of the Rings, featuring two brothers who love to fight sand and all the animals that live in the sand. It’s out now, and a free update…

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3 months ago

Belgian Gaming Commission rules some loot boxes are illegal gambling

Loot boxes in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, and FIFA 18 are games of chance and do violate Belgian gambling regulations, the country's Gaming Commission has declared. Their loot boxes will need to be removed, the Commission says, or the operators could face hefty fines and potentially prison time. This is a big development as governments view loot boxes and their ilk with an increasingly critical…

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EA exec says they won’t repeat loot box mistakes

Years of growing discontent over loot box monetisation in games came to a head with 2017's Star Wars Battlefront II's lousy loot-based unlock progression system, raising such a stink that governments weighed in on arguments and EA disabled the microtransactions. "We can shy away from it and pretend like it didn't happen," Patrick Söderlund, EA's new chief design officer, told The Verge, "or we can…

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4 months ago

Middle-earth: Shadow Of War removing loot boxes

Monolith have announced plans to remove loot boxes from Middle-earth: Shadow Of War in July, eight months after the open-world enslave-o-stabber launched. They've realised that they make the game worse, they say. The 'War Chest' loot boxes in Shadow Of War contain random items, orc slaves, and bits, and are sold for either the virtuacash earned in-game or for a microtransaction currency bought with real…

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Star Wars Battlefront 2’s Patch 2.0 addresses many sins

Just last week, Alice reported that the much-maligned (and not without reason) Star Wars Battlefront 2 was seeing a rework coming to its loot crates. Now that the update has landed, it's clear to see that was a little bit of an understatement. In short: Loot crates are largely banished, containing only cosmetic items and purchased solely with in-game credits. Every character and unit is…

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Star Wars: Battlefront 2 launching reworked loot boxes next week

Four months after turning off microtransactions in Star Wars: Battlefront II following the big stupid loot box mess, EA are about ready to launch a revamp of the game's progression system and microtransaction monetisation. The good news: nothing that actually affects the action will be purchasable with real money. The so-so news: yes it still has a lousy damn progression system getting in the way…

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5 months ago

ESRB introducing ‘In-Game Purchases’ label for ratings

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the North American industry body which assigns games age ratings, will expand its labelling on physical boxed games to include warnings of "In-Game Purchases". This will cover everything that can be bought digitally for real money, from season passes and skins to microtransaction currencies and random loot boxes. They're only a decade late to noticing all this, then. Some…

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Loot Crate debate escalates, Hawaiian lawmakers speak

Last year's explosion of negative press regarding loot crates in games (especially regarding their impact on Star Wars: Battlefront 2) is still being heard around the world. Now, the issue has reached the ears of a growing number of lawmakers. As covered by the Hawaii Tribune Herald, the latest force to get involved is the Hawaiian state government, members of which have proposed two new…

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6 months ago

Rainbow Six Siege halts plan to replace standard edition with pricier one

Ubisoft have reversed plans to replace the $40 Standard Edition of Rainbow Six Siege with one that cost $20 more but offered only some virtuacash and a few of the new cosmetic-only loot crates in return. This $60 'Advanced Edition' did not seem a good deal and, with Ubisoft having managed to rebuild and improve Siege to become an actual hit, it seemed daft to…

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7 months ago

Pink Vader comes to Star Wars Battlefront 2 in mod

“You probably don’t want Darth Vader in pink,” said Blake Jorgensen, chief financial officer of Electronic Arts. “No offence to pink but I don’t think that’s right in the canon.” That was a month ago. Jorgensen was speaking at a technology conference about his company’s latest shooter, Star Wars Battlefront 2, and the furore about loot crates which had engulfed the game upon release. At…

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8 months ago

Star Wars Battlefront 2’s microtransactions unlikely to include a pink Darth Vader

When Electronic Arts turned off microtransactions in Star Wars Battlefront 2 over that whole stinking loot crate progression system mess, they said they would bring 'em back after a rethink. Well, EA's chief financial officer said on Tuesday that is still very much the plan. While he isn't sure how and when microtransactions will return, he seems fairly certain they wouldn't include cosmetic items which…

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Belgium commission declares loot boxes are gambling

Following the Star Wars Battlefront 2 microtransaction debacle, last week the Belgium Gaming Commission launched an investigation into whether loot boxes came under their purview. VTM news (beware of the sloppy Google translation) have now reported on their conclusion, which is a resounding 'yes'. Elsewhere in the world, Hawaiian politicians have spoken out, calling for legislation to end the sale of loot boxes to minors.…

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Need for Speed Payback reduces the need for loot boxes

As the heated debate over loot boxes and player progression continues, Need for Speed Payback joins Star Wars Battlefront 2 in making changes based on the discussion, largely in regards to how the game doles out currency and experience. Essentially, drivers will earn more for less from events and races, making it easier to upgrade cars and level up.

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