Ubisoft on Loot Boxes: It's About Quality and Choice

Ubisoft wants to be clear that players always have a choice with the studio's loot boxes.

News by Matt Kim, .

Yesterday, Ubisoft held its earnings call for the company's most recent quarter. And while a big focus of the call centered around Ubisoft's success with the live service model, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot and CFO Alain Martinez were asked about the company's stance on loot boxes, to which the two gave a relatively straightforward answer.

"On loot boxes, what we can say is that we define it as a question of quality and choice. As simple as that," said Martinez. "We need to deliver, for whatever we offer, the right quality for people to be interested. At the same time, they need to feel that they are really free to not buy it and that their choice is really a fact."

Loot boxes has been a controversial subject in video games since EA's Star Wars Battlefront 2 controversy in November 2017. This morning, the US state of Hawaii introduced legislation that could potentially prohibit the sale of video games with loot boxes to anyone under the age of 21.

Perhaps sensing the tide's direction on the subject, Ubisoft seems keen on reiterating that whatever downloadable content the company introduces, it will be largely optional for players.

Some of Ubisoft's positions on loot boxes has already gone into effect in games like Rainbow Six: Siege. The upcoming Outbreak season will introduce cosmetics in loot boxes, but Ubisoft says that there will be zero duplicates, meaning players can simply pay a set price to unlock all DLC available in the randomized crates, without fear of double-dipping.

As the video game industry continues to reel from the loot box controversy, it will be interesting to see how other companies either shift, or distance their own loot boxes (if any) from the dread "pay-to-win" label.

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Comments 3

  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #1 NiceGuyNeon 8 months ago
    Screw this noise. How about making a game worth buying Ubisoft? I haven't bought one of your titles in almost five years. Make those quality first and then worry about your stupid lootboxes.
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  • Avatar for Zebetite #2 Zebetite 8 months ago
    Okay, sure Ubisoft, I'll choose not to play money-grubbing games with loot boxes. Being expected to pay 60 dollars for a game and then potentially hundreds more on top of that is an absurd trend that I thankfully never bought into. There's enough "choice" in the games industry that no one has to waste time on something so disrespectful of their wallet if they don't want to.
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  • Avatar for Frosty840 #3 Frosty840 8 months ago
    I've just started playing The Crew (which has a sequel due out in a short time, I believe) and it's got an odd mix of alright, and dreadful, transaction options.
    On the barely-okay side there's the Calling All Units DLC, which adds an incongruously British policewoman to the cross-USA driving experience, a paltry few new missions, and a police chase game mode that gets rolled out for free to all users anyway, but only users with expansion can play as the police.
    Calling All Units also includes another piece of DLC, which I think is called the Wild Ride pack, that can be purchased separately, which is pretty odd when you think about it.

    On the appalling side there's the misnamed "season pass" that contains a tiny fraction of the game's cars, which are *only* available for real money, and which is pretty much a disgrace in terms of expectation vs reality.
    In addition to that, the game gives you tiny, tiny amounts of ingame currency as you finish each mission; enough that by the end of the game's storyline you'll have been able to buy four or five of the game's hundred or so cars. But of course there's also the inevitable premium currency that can be bought with real money to "speed up" your acquisition of these "optional" cars. Some of which are utterly dreadful so if you accidentally buy an utter lemon, congratulations, you've just made the game incredibly difficult for yourself —if not unwinnable— unless you pay real-world money to fix your error.
    I recommend anyone responsible for "premium" currencies in non-free games should be tarred, feathered, broken on the wheel, hung, drawn and quartered, but I'm probably in a minority.

    Premium currencies allow basically infinite spending by vulnerable players within games. I think those have been in Ubisoft games since around the days of one of the Assassin's Creed 2 sub-series of games. Given that, I don't really see that they're the ones to trust when it comes to "quality and choice" of "optional" content in games, all of which is already installed and ready to go with the switch of an on/off bit.
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