A Ubisoft rep decided to defend loot boxes on the Steam forums for the upcoming Trials Rising and was met with a fierce backlash which shouldn't be surprising considering: 1.) the unpopularity of loot boxes and 2.) the internet.
Trials Rising, like a lot of modern games, will feature a combination of premium and free content with randomized loot hidden in "Gear Crates" which can be purchased with in-game or real-world currency. A standard monetization practice in plenty of games.
In a thread complaining about the loot boxes, as commenters online are their want, a Ubisoft representative under the name Ubi_Warlock chimed in to try and explain the benefits of the loot box and cosmetic model on the game industry.
"I do appreciate why players feel the way they do about [loot boxes] (not a huge fan myself)," Ubi_Warlock writes in this Steam forum. "However as it was also pointed out, you can always just not buy them. Ultimately, they're intended for players who want something to help them stand out from the crown when playing online, or even just those who are big fans of the game and want to support us further."
Ubi_Warlock went on to explain the net positive of loot boxes for the industry. "[Loot boxes] 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 future. All in all, loot crates/cosmetic items in general have been a huge boon for the gaming industry, being a driving factor in the increased popularity of gaming over the past decade or so. They aren't a bad thing if done right."
The ensuing comments are a firestorm of criticism, though comments are usually of the "boycotting" variety. The usual responses.
Loot boxes kicked off a massive controversy when EA incorporated them into Star Wars Battlefront 2. The ensuing outrage forced EA to drop loot boxes from Battlefront and legislatures across Europe and the United States began suggesting the industry investigates outlawing them. Loot boxes are prohibited in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Trials Rising was announced at E3 this year at the Ubisoft press conference and is set to release on February 12, 2019 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. A beta is also planned but no release date has been announced.