In an official statement today, Psyonix, developer of Rocket League announced ending the randomized loot box system called “Crates”, replacing it with a store system.
“Here at Psyonix, and Epic Games as a whole, we are dedicated to creating the best possible experience for our players all over the world. In pursuit of that goal, later this year we will remove all paid, randomized Crates from Rocket League, replacing them with a system that shows the exact items you’re buying in advance. This is similar to changes implemented earlier this year by the Fortnite Save the World team.”
Loot boxes have been controversial for quite some time, having its core mechanics often compared to gambling. The digital blind bags generally cost in-game or real life money, but the catch is that you never really know which item you will get. From cosmetic items, like skins, emotes, avatars and more, loot boxes can be a frustrating - not to mention expensive system for those who are looking to get a particular item.
Video Games like Star Wars Battlefront II have had disastrous runs surrounded by the controversy of players wasting their money and ending up with pretty much worthless garbage, never getting the items they need to move up in the game. In titles like Overwatch, loot boxes focus on cosmetic items like skins and emotes, not really being necessary or affecting the gameplay.
Companies like Electronic Arts have ended up in legal trouble over loot boxes: The Belgium Gaming Commission declared loot boxes with randomized items officially a form of gambling, making it illegal. Hawaii state Rep. Chris Lee introduced four bills for the restriction of loot boxes last year, attempting to force companies to disclose what actually is in the loot boxes and how likely a player is to get the items they want.
Despite legislator efforts, there is still difficulty in ruling what is and isn’t gambling. The ESRB has told Kotaku in the past year that, “While there's an element of chance in these mechanics, the player is always guaranteed to receive in-game content (even if the player unfortunately receives something they don't want). We think of it as a similar principle to collectible card games: Sometimes you'll open a pack and get a brand new holographic card you've had your eye on for a while. But other times you'll end up with a pack of cards you already have."
*some fans see the change as positive*
The acquisition of Psyonix by Epic Games caused Rocket League fans to worry about the game’s future, fueling conversations that Epic would make the game too similar to Fortnite. The fact epic stated that the PC version of Rocket League would be only sold in the Epic Store as of late 2019 did not help the community to trust them.
As one might expect, some players were very upset at the decision made by Epic:
Whether the move is inclined by adjusting to inevitable future policies regarding loot boxes, a more transparent way of selling items to players or trying to avoid possible controversy regarding their system, you can say “Bye Bye Crates” for now.