Surprise. Ubisoft Loves Loot Boxes

A mountain of loot boxes in The Division.

According to a spokesperson for Ubisoft, loot boxes are here to stay and gamers only have themselves to blame for it because, you know, they're the ones who keep buying the things. In other words, don't expect Ubisoft to ax random drops and premium in-game currencies anytime soon.

The folks over at DSO Gaming came across a rather interesting post from Ubisoft's support team recently. The whole thing got started when folks noticed that an upcoming game, Trials Rising, will feature Gear Crates. As you might have guessed, Gear Crates are just Rising's fancy term for loot boxes, those in-game cosmetic packs everyone loves to hate... unless you're a publisher like Ubisoft, in which case you just love to love them.

The series hasn't traditionally featured loot boxes so, obviously, fans were a bit upset to learn that the current scourge of gaming will be rearing its ugly head in their upcoming motorcycle trick-a-thon. In Ubisoft's defense, at least these boxes are the least offensive variety and will only include cosmetic items for players who want to give their riders and vehicles a more distinct look.

The post in question comes from Ubi_Warlock, who states that they themselves are not a fan of loot boxes but, again, everything is cosmetic and nothing has to be purchased to enjoy the game. The issue is simply that cosmetic items used to be something players could unlock as rewards for playing a game and now the only way they can "look distinct" is if they fork over even more money for a game they've already paid for.

But at the end of the day, Ubisoft is a business and, as the post notes, a business exists to make money. And in a rather surprising bit of honesty, the post also states that if it wasn't for the fact that loot boxes keep making insane amounts of money, the company wouldn't continue to plug them into games.

Yes, it means that some players end up spending more on our games than other and that does result in increased profits for us. It also helps us to put more money into new titles and to understand what players look for in their games. If players simply didn't buy these crates, they would not be added into games in the future.

That argument is something of a double-edged sword, and I'm not about to dive into an unpacking of the practice of using loot boxes, the new norms their inclusion has established in games or how many players keep paying for them because they are frequently designed to pray on those players with addictive personalities. At the same time, I'm not going to sit here and tell you this Ubisoft fellow isn't kinda-sorta right. A developer/publisher would not spend time on loot boxes if it was not profitable and, so long as they're making money, you better believe they are here to stay.

Of course, the post also states that the video games industry has seen some tremendous success in recent year due to loot boxes, yet investors are still unhappy with games like Destiny 2 and Black Ops 4, the latter of which "only" made $500 million over the course of three days.

Ryan Winslett

Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.