It’s no secret how loot boxes have shaped the conversation in the game industry. It’s created much backlash, challenging publishers and the bigwigs upstairs to come up with new ideas on how to implement micro-transactions. CD Projekt Red’s Marcin Iwiński had a chat with PC Gamer about his views on loot boxes, and his views are pretty much on par with how almost all gamers feel:
“…it wasn’t just the hardcore community, there were a lot of really pissed off gamers out there and they decided to speak up. Where we stand is quite simple and you could see it with all of our past releases—most recently The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and GWENT. If you buy a full priced game, you should get a big, polished piece of content, which gives you many, many hours of fun gameplay.”
Polish polished piece of content. That would just be delightful, wouldn’t it?. He goes on to compare DLC’s to expansions, which very few developers even bother with these days. Bethesda and Blizzard being the comparable companies that come to mind. Bethesda’s massive expansions for their RPG’s are content-heavy, with many hours included in additional gameplay. Blizzard’s RTS and RPG expansions of yesteryear paved the way for future companies. Once digital distribution hit, however, that set the stage for the DLC-ridden loot box fiesta. Iwiński goes on to say:
“Things like add-ons way back in the Baldur’s Gate era. We released two Expansions like that, and each of them was a meaningful piece of content delivering many hours of new story and gameplay. Finally, there are the DLCs. For us, they’re small pieces of content which should be available for free (and that was the case with TW3).”
The only “Loot” box I actually like.
CD Projekt Red’s theory makes sense. Gamers who pay for the base game, knowing there will be future big expansions, get teased and titillated by the developers by drip-feeding tiny content pieces for free. This just reaffirms respect from the developer: “Look, we know you just paid $60 for a game, and we’re gonna ask you to pay $20-30 more for another big piece soon, so why don’t we just give you some stuff for free until it’s done?”. Iwiński continued:
“The moment they feel you are reaching out for their wallet in any unfair way, they will be vocal about it. And—frankly speaking—I think it’s good for the industry, Gamers are striking back, and I really hope this will change our industry for the better.”
For how successful CD Projekt Red has been with The Witcher 3, it’s any wonder why other developers don’t take note. Why continue to try different ways to make money, when some developers have it figured out while still respecting the players’ time and money?
What do you think? Do you miss the days of big ole expansions and no $4.99 capes? Let us know in the comments!