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The USgamer Podcast: A Huge Loot Box Rant is Approaching Fast

PODCAST | Hellblade's unexpected success, the Switch's big week, and the ongoing loot box crisis. Warning: A Huge Rant is Approaching Fast

Article by Kat Bailey, .

The USgamer Podcast is our weekly flagship podcast that is updated every Wednesday. You can find the previous episodes here.

In the latest episode of the USgamer Podcast, I sub in for Nadia to talk with Mike and Caty about Final Fantasy XV's bizarre VR fishing game, Animal Crossing on mobile, and Hellblade's success story. I also rants. A lot. (download link here)!

The loot box controversy continues to heat up, and it's more evident with each passing day that EA really, profoundly screwed up. Now government regulators are involved, and well, it's suddenly looking pretty bad for loot boxes. Honestly, we've been building to this moment for a long time, and I'm glad to see that the reckoning has finally come. I have thoughts. Loud ones.

Want to share thoughts of your own? Email us at usgamer@usgamer.net. We may read your letter on the show!

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Show Description

Mike, Nadia, and Kat team up to discuss Hellblade's success story [11:00], the launch of Animal Crossing on mobile, Final Fantasy XV's bizarre VR fishing expansion [29:41], and all the ways that EA has dramatically screwed up the ongoing loot box crisis [44:04]. Warning: A Huge Rant is Approaching Fast.

Music for The USgamer Podcast is provided courtesy of Slime Girls. Make sure to check out their full album Don't Forget here!

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Comments 7

  • Avatar for riderkicker #1 riderkicker 4 months ago
    I'm glad more games are coming out on the Nintendo Switch, but it's a Tsunami I have to turn my apathy into a seawall. Mike previewed a pretty interesting game yesterday, a spin on the match four and cooking games. Xenoblade 2 is coming soon. Plenty of Arcade Classics. But the games I really want are the Wii U titles I skipped because I didn't want to buy that system.

    I hope the excellent sales of the Switch will influence Nintendo to actually invest in more hires to bring over Smash Bros, Sharp FE, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and many more classics.

    I can see what Mike is saying about wanting games like Mass Effect on the Switch, and I wish Western Developers would actually take filesizes in mind, especially with the work done on Skyrim (even if the total size is still bigger than the base PC version). Most 1st Party Switch games fit on the card, but Third Party big releases still require a huge download, the same model as console games. Nobody wants to spend hours downloading 4GB chunks into their ever diminishing storage space dernit!
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  • Avatar for Jonnyboy407 #2 Jonnyboy407 4 months ago
    Oooooooh! Let us put on our choir robes, the good Reverend Baily is testifying tonight!

    Preach, Kat, Preach! Hallelujah and amen
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  • Avatar for fcseven #3 fcseven 4 months ago
    I’m confused. On one hand you were talking about how loot crates were horrible,but on the other hand you were talking about how EA ruined this money making opportunity for everyone. Your tone and manner of speaking made it sound like you are siding with EA on this.
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  • Avatar for duvjones #4 duvjones 4 months ago
    Ok so.... Ms. Kat Baily... HOLY CRAP?! That was a rant but I have got to say that I don't think that you are wrong on this take. So far, Loot boxes are kind of the new money grabbing game that publishers are playing to get more of your (and my) money. They have proven to be about as capable of predatory behaviour from publishers that abuse them as gatcha systems, and now that a nations government's are beginning to notice they will have to do something about.
    That said, in the short term... it's not going to be good. Even if the country puts up a law against such a practice, the likelihood of EA (or any other publisher in the same boat, really) simply pulling up roots and never selling their products in said country is rather high. The only way something like that would have an effect is if the greater EU noticed and passed a motion that was enforceable in Member states, or if the US government did something similar. Given the state of both government bodies (Trump and the US in particular) are in a state of flux, I wouldn't hold your breath.

    That said, there has to be a happy medium in how to use said systems because as you have pointed out, as bad as it is, Battlefront is far from the worst of it. The most spectacular clusturef--- in this gen with a franchise that extends well beyond your usual gamer? Sure, but not the worse.
    And that the thing, we know of the pressures that has been causing this "whale hunting". It's the games, they are costly to make and barely pay for themselves, if they do at all. With gamers wanting games out faster, with more detail, with more of that bleeding edge tech that makes us drool (VR/AR, 4k, HDR, etc.)... those costs are NEVER going to go down ("Quality, Fast, Cheap! Pick two..."), and publishers like EA are going to need to make up that money some how. I think that it is telling that EA even attempted this with a franchise as long-tailed as Star Wars. You would think with a fan-base as large as Star Wars to continue to sell too EA would never consider it but here we are, EA figuratively chopping the evergreen in a attempt to squeeze more green out of it. Shows you how antsy they are about making up the cost to the game's development cycle, they don't even have the confidence to let fans simply hand them money hand over fist. They NEED to go "whale hunting" on these consumers.

    The thing is that the more that this happens, the more that something needs to be done about. Take Japan, for instance. Sure, gatcha systems still keep happening but Japan also happens to have a law that controls their usage (ironically the change in opinion to an 1977 gambling law that was made in 2012 that covered kompu gacha [banning them in the process] also covers loot boxes by it’s wording), until then it was a complete free-for-all with sharks in chummed water. And they are far from the only nation to act against this. So, as long as real money is involved sooner or latter, regulation is coming… I am not sure that the industry will welcome that as much as they did with the rating system at the time and I honestly have my doubts that the industry, with the pressures of game dev not changing, will be able to police themselves on this one.
    It rather lucrative to “whale hunt” now and simply deal with the fall out because at the end of the day, AAA game dev is costly and they got to cover it somehow without inducing a sticker shock on the game itself (which will bar the game from people, people that they need to buy it day one). This is their way around that. This! Entire! MESS!
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  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #5 Kat.Bailey 4 months ago
    @fcseven More that EA is so incompetent that they've managed to draw in government attention on their loot box practices, which is incredible given that there are frankly pubs out there that are way more predatory (see: any publisher that deliberately cultivates whales)
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #6 NiceGuyNeon 4 months ago
    I love when Kat is on stuff to just say sensible things.
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  • Avatar for yuberus #7 yuberus 4 months ago
    I can agree with Kat on these loot box practices, and you know? If it ends up sweeping in stuff like Magic or Hearthstone, so be it. I would rather there be a line for practices that aren't so abusive but lord knows where it is.
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