Overwatch Doesn't Belong In Loot Box Controversy Discussion, Blizzard CEO Says
"I think that whatever the controversy is, I don't think Overwatch belongs in that controversy."
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One topic that has generated a lot of buzz and discussion in gaming lately is loot boxes. Not everyone is thrilled with their implementation. One game that uses them is Blizzard's Overwatch. Every time you hit a new level, you get a loot box that comes with a random cluster of cosmetic items. Alternatively, you can buy loot boxes with money. Not every game handles loot box systems the same way, leading to some amount of controversy. Overwatch doesn't belong in this conversation, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said in a new interview with Game Informer.
"I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with crates that give you randomized items," he told the publication. "I think that whatever the controversy is, I don't think Overwatch belongs in that controversy."
If a game allows players to pay for items that actually affect gameplay, this could lead to a pay-to-win scenario, but Overwatch does not do this. Morhaime said Blizzard said that is something the studio "definitely" wanted to avoid.
Another element of the loot box discussion is in the discussion around if loot boxes constitute some form of gambling. For example, some have called for loot box odds to be disclosed. In fact, the Chinese version of Overwatch displays some odds, according to Kotaku. For Morhaime, he sees another wider industry issue being what happens when players convert their loot box items back into real money. But the mechanisms behind Overwatch does not allow this to happen, Morhaime said.
"If you're going to talk about those things, then you have to look at as, 'Well, are people trying to make money doing this?,'" Morhaime said.
Earlier this year, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan responded to feedback around the game's loot boxes, telling fans that Blizzard is considering the feedback and may make changes in the future.
In Call of Duty: WWII, loot boxes fall from the sky and the game rewards you for watching people open theirs. There are loot boxes in Star Wars: Battlefront II, and after some raised pay-to-win concerns from the beta, EA made changes. One game that won't have microtransactions is Monster Hunter World, Capcom confirmed recently. In other news, the CEO of NBA 2K18 parent publisher Take-Two has responded to the concerns some people have regarding that game's use of microtransactions.