We’ve long harped on various political issues on this site, and long-time readers will notice a very common thread among many of our political pieces as they relate to the games industry. That thread is monetization, the ever-present specter of greed that looms over much of the games industry and its “AAA” segment. In particular, loot boxes run as a common source of complaints in gaming.
Gamers have long been angry about, and justifiably so, the prospect of increasingly predatory monetization practices in games. And one of the more common culprits gamers and media point to as a source of ire is loot boxes. These randomized gambling systems, or as EA calls them, surprise mechanics, are a particularly hated element of making money in modern games. But they’re certainly not the only example of toxic greed in the industry.
And with a new video, Jim Sterling takes a deeper look at some of the more personal impacts these systems have. The video includes testimony from some of his viewers, highlighting how their own struggles with addiction have been hampered by aggressive monetization. He also layers in some humor to cover up the abject horror.
Opinions on loot boxes and other forms of monetization are going to be varied. Some will loathe them, while others will be apathetic. Jim even goes into a bit of this in his new video, countering some arguments made defensing loot boxes and other mechanics. And of course he does this in his typically sarcastic and boisterous style. If you’ve wanted to get a fairly insightful glimpse into the lives of the people that suffer from addiction and the issues that it’s related to.
And even as some entities like the ESRB defend the practice as not exploitative, there’s some pretty clear contradictions to that defense.
In short, there’s been a massive business built around exploiting addiction and other deep-seated issues to make vast sums of money.