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Psyonix are removing randomized loot boxes from Rocket League

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Rocket League, the awesome sports game about smacking balls into goals using rocket powered cars is going through some changes.

Psyonix announced today, that "all paid, randomized Crates" will be removed from Rocket League sometime later this year. Instead, they're going with "a system that shows the exact items you’re buying in advance" noting similar changes by the Fortnite Save the World team and since Psyonix is now owned by Epic Games it's no surprise they're doing this.

However, it's not clear yet exactly what system they're going to be doing. Going by the title of the post starting with "Crates Leaving", you would think they won't be in it at all. However, the wording in the post was interesting as it leaves it open for them to keep loot crates but have you see the contents. The other option would be a shop system, where you buy exactly what you want. A shop system is definitely better than loot box gambling, however it can introduce its own problems if things are on a timer with FOMO (Fear of missing out) a very real issue for some.

They said more info will be available "in the coming months".

I'm 100% convinced at this point that Rocket League will be going free to play eventually. Until then, find it on Humble Store and Steam.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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19 comments
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Mal 7 August 2019 at 8:26 am UTC
So Epic is adopting a defensive stance now after having made a fortune with that stuff. A little hypocritical given the timing and context but it's good news nonetheless. I wonder if the other big publishers will do the same.

For what concerns EA it's pretty clear that they not only won't step back but they intend to bring as much industry(es) as possible down with them. When US and GB legislators will finally catch up with them I bet the judiciary will strike them with extreme prejudice given that they ignored multiple government "friendly advice" to self restrict.
Massinissa 7 August 2019 at 11:50 am UTC
DragunovIt's probably because things like paid randomized loot-boxes are considered gambling, and gambling is heavily regulated in the United States. I'm not sure about other countries.

I actually haven't played this game yet, mostly because I don't particularly like Soccer. If it goes free to play I will definitely give it a try though.
There are already european countries who voted laws to ban games with lootboxes about a year or 2 ago, and said game creator have until this year to change that.
ObsidianBlk 7 August 2019 at 12:23 pm UTC
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HadBabitsIf it was just the cosmetics I could accept that; they've been going for a while and you need to support the servers and devs, etc, etc. However they also sell DLC cars which have different hitboxes and stats, meaning they directly affect gameplay in a multiplayer game, so that's a bit dodgy.

Either way, getting rid of the predatory randomization is a big step in the right direction, and puts them ahead of a lot ""AAA"" games: I'd give it a solid B

Edit: Actually, let's make that a B- for having the gall to put in loot boxes in the first place

Just to play devils advocate here...
Cosmetics are not ok, especially at the price points most games sell them for and most especially for a game on a PC... a platform where user content was created! Now, I cannot speak to Rocket League. I don't personally play it, but I have seen how much other games are charging. These days, 5 dollars (us) seems to be the bare minimum for what amounts to a glorified JPEG image. In other games, if you even have access to directly buying items, instead of loot boxes, you could be charged 10 or even 20 dollars (us), once you convert around their 'premium currencies'. At those price points, you can go onto the Unity asset store and buy a model and several JPEG textures and do whatever the hell you want with it!

As far as servers and devs... that statement is a lie (IMHO) perpetuated by the AAA publishers. If the server cost is an issue, then these companies can charge a monthly fee to play the game... old MMO style. The only reasons they don't is, they've discovered they can sucker more people into buying JPEGs. As for the devs... even a successful game raking in millions in in-app purchases is no guarantee for developers. Look at Activision who, after claiming record profits, proceeded to lay off a large chunk of it's work force.

Anyway, that's just my two cents, and, even with all that, I still buy those glorified JPEGs on occasion myself.
Salvatos 7 August 2019 at 4:38 pm UTC
ObsidianBlkCosmetics are not ok, especially at the price points most games sell them for and most especially for a game on a PC...
I disagree. I find them pointless and a waste of money, but the former is precisely why I'm not against their existence as a money-making mechanism. There is no tangible benefit to having them, no effect on the gameplay experience, and no pretense is made to that effect (unlike gambling where you might turn a profit). So as far as I'm concerned, if someone wants to spend $5, or $100, on a virtual hat, that's really up to them and I'm not going to blame a company for letting people dump money into its pockets that would be better spent elsewhere. I find it no worse than commissioning portraits or donating money to a streamer to hear a song of your choice during their show. It has no practical value, but it's a fun way to support a company/individual from which you feel you've already received more than your money's worth. You might say it's an incentivized donation. The cost doesn't have to reflect a tangible value.
ObsidianBlk 7 August 2019 at 7:07 pm UTC
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SalvatosI disagree. I find them pointless and a waste of money, but the former is precisely why I'm not against their existence as a money-making mechanism.

To each their own, but here's the thing... both back in the day and even today, for some games, we would get expansions/DLCs that added not just a single JPEG image or even a model or two, but whole factions, territories, game mechanics, episodes, etc for the same price or only about double what some of these single item cosmetics are going for. By accepting these cosmetics, we are essentially telling developers/publishers that they can sit on their laurels and produce nearly nothing. In the end, we loose out on content!

Furthermore, if all the Devs/Pubs have to do is placate us with the odd JPEG or model every so often, how do you think that's actually helping the developers? They're not engaged in developing a full product anymore, only the cosmetics... so why should they keep all of their programmers? They only need one or two to patch issues. Why should they keep their all of their artists. They only need enough to put out two or three new cosmetics a month. Sure, you're "supporting" the company, but not the actual people who do the work.

SalvatosI find it no worse than commissioning portraits or donating money to a streamer to hear a song of your choice during their show.

At least with a portrait, you are getting art work that is unique to you. That's your portrait and nobody else will ever have the exact same one. Also... you get to keep it forever! You only get to keep your cosmetics for the life of the game servers (which, arguably, is shrinking game upon game).

SalvatosThe cost doesn't have to reflect a tangible value.
Again... to each their own
Grifter 7 August 2019 at 7:46 pm UTC
HadBabitsmeaning they directly affect gameplay in a multiplayer game

This is not really correct. The way the game works is there are 5 different 'presets', this is what differentiates cars in terms of hitbox, turn radius and all that. The game has cars for each preset among the basic selection, and any new car that comes out has to be one of these five presets. So it's not the case where you need to pay to have access to any particular preset.

Hell you often don't need to pay anything to get access to most cars that come from crates either, because you can just use the crates you've collected yourself, and trade several of those for a car, or anything you want, providing you find someone to trade with.
Salvatos 7 August 2019 at 8:36 pm UTC
ObsidianBlk
SalvatosI disagree. I find them pointless and a waste of money, but the former is precisely why I'm not against their existence as a money-making mechanism.

To each their own, but here's the thing... both back in the day and even today, for some games, we would get expansions/DLCs that added not just a single JPEG image or even a model or two, but whole factions, territories, game mechanics, episodes, etc for the same price or only about double what some of these single item cosmetics are going for. By accepting these cosmetics, we are essentially telling developers/publishers that they can sit on their laurels and produce nearly nothing. In the end, we loose out on content!
In every similar situation, I always ask myself: is that the fault of the company that offers the product/service, or those who purchase it? I don't have a universal answer, but I personally tend to blame the consumers in this case. Clearly there is demand for those things and companies are simply monetizing that demand, as businesses are wont to do.

ObsidianBlk
SalvatosI find it no worse than commissioning portraits or donating money to a streamer to hear a song of your choice during their show.

At least with a portrait, you are getting art work that is unique to you. That's your portrait and nobody else will ever have the exact same one. Also... you get to keep it forever!
Eh... so what? You have a unique, pointless thing that you get to keep forever. It's hardly more beneficial to your existence than a video game skin.
HadBabits 7 August 2019 at 11:50 pm UTC
ObsidianBlkJust to play devils advocate here...
Cosmetics are not ok

Good post, Mr. Devil And aside from the content-to-money ratio I think there's another factor often overlooked with cosmetics: Social value. These games are made with socializing in mind, we're social animals and games are an effective way to connect. Being able to express oneself in a social setting does have a value of its own, which will vary with the player. Not to mention the value of self expression in itself. I'm very solitary when it comes to games, but I still find appeal in customization in a lot of games, even if I wouldn't necessarily buy them. (Obviously some don't care at all, but that doesn't mean nobody cares, and said bodies do have an effect on the industry)

Various fields, architecture, culinary arts, um, regular art, put value in presentation and aesthetics, so why do we assume cosmetics to have absolutely no effect on a game?
devnull 10 August 2019 at 9:57 am UTC
Guessing it has at least in part to do with this.

Thankfully the days of seeing streamers spending hours opening CS:GO crates like a crackhead at a slot machine, are long over. Allowing kids to gamble is illegal for a reason and _supposed_ to be banned on Twitch. Doing any kind of "fair" raffle or giveaway is almost impossible online.
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