Monetization of video games has been a hot-button topic the past few years. And with the seeming rise of free-to-play mutliplayer games, it seems like a topic that isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
That said, the heart of the discussion stems around loot box implementation. And it's with loot boxes EA doesn't have the best history with. As you may know, back in 2017, Star Wars Battlefront II was swallowed in controversy thanks to its approach to monetization, so much so the whole debacle made mainstream media headlines.
And so when EA stealth-launched a free-to-play battle royale game with Respawn Entertainment this Monday called Apex Legends, one of the first things people were curious about was its form of monetization.
Now, if you've played the game, you'll know it has loot boxes, which is enough to turn off some players, but it's not as bad as some other games.
Speaking to GamesBeat, Respawn Design Director Mackey McCandlish defended the game's monetization structure as "ethical," because the loot boxes aren't offering anything that impacts the actual game, just cosmetics.
“We’re not pay-for-power,” said the design director. “We’re a very ethical form of monetization, where we’re giving away a lot of cosmetics that you don’t even have to pay for. If you do want to buy, you can directly buy, from the store, a limited-time item. You can earn the characters in the game or you can buy them. We’re shipping with eight. Six are free and two are earnable. It’s a balancing act, but we knew we didn’t want to be pay-for-power, pay-to-win.
"I think we’ve demonstrated with our previous games that we care about having an ethical, transparent relationship with the consumer. We did free DLC maps for Titanfall 2. When the competition was already going pay-for-power back then, we didn’t do that. I think this continues that trend, and I think it’s true to Respawn’s ideals of having a fair relationship with the consumer.”0comments
Personally, I would prefer if Apex Legends didn't have loot boxes. There's a way to monetize your free-to-play game without them -- just look at Fortnite. But, if you're going to put them in your game, this is certainly the way to do it. And given that the title has exploded with popularity, it seems people don't mind the way loot boxes are implemented.