Rio My Dinero

Well, the mystery of how Overwatch is going to make money in the future has been revealed:

The new skins, sprays, and so forth come from limited-time-only Summer Games loot crates. Players will receive a free crate upon logging in, but here’s the rub: Summer Games items cannot be purchased with your stockpile of credits, nor can Summer Games items be found in standard loot crates.

In other words, Blizzard has just created a set of new skins for all the characters, and are locking them behind limited-time paywall lootboxes. Specifically want the new Tracer skin? Good luck. You cannot specifically purchase a skin, nor can you craft one with in-game currency.

This particular pivot boggles my mind. Blizzard went from one of the most fair, egalitarian business models I have seen in videogames… to pretty much the worst possible one. Sure, they are just characters skins and “don’t matter.” At the same time, if any of these particular skins did matter to you, then, well, get fucked, I guess.

If this is indicative of Blizzard’s future direction with Overwatch, I just got a lot less interested.

[Fake Edit]: Jeff Kaplan has come out and specified that you can choose to receive a Summer Games lootbox when you earn a lootbox normally, e.g. when gaining levels. Good luck grinding that shit out in three weeks though. Making the in-game currency useless for these time-limited events is still a travesty.

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Posted on August 4, 2016, in Overwatch and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. “The worst possible pay model” isn t it a bit exagerated ? They are still not requesting any money for the actual content and gameplay. This is better than the vast majority of other games.
    I hate loot box but stopping being interested in a game you enjoy because the content that was not present before is only available through real dollars lootbox is a bit excessive no ?

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    • It’s tough to find a worse model for the consumer than time-limited, paid lootboxes in a B2P game. I would expect that in a F2P title, but not here.

      The sad reality with a lot of games these days is that you have to weigh what your enthusiasm for a given game is going to cost you in the long run. I played Dirty Bomb for a few weeks, for example, and that was a F2P hero-shooter that required you to purchase heroes, special load-outs, lootboxes, etc. So, arguably worse than Overwatch. That didn’t affect me though, because I cared less about Dirty Bomb. In Overwatch’s case, I do care, and thus knowing that there are all these cool skins I want, but am never realistically going to acquire, is disappointing. I feel worse about the game than I did three days ago entirely because of how much I like the game.

      If this is indeed the direction that Blizzard is heading in terms of monetization, the only rational response is to, well, curb my enthusiasm. Plus, it also gives a clue as to the likelihood (or lack thereof) of adding more baseline content in the game. Everything right now is all you’re going to get in terms of skins (etc).

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  2. I wonder if this was the plan all along, or if its a reaction to how the game has been able to maintain (or not) its ongoing revenue stream.

    I’m sure Blizz knew this would piss people off, and you generally don’t piss people off unless you are somewhat forced to do so (ie: money wasn’t coming in as expected after the initial burst). Then again, this is also the same company that originally released D3 in the state it was in, so who knows.

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    • From the linked Kaplan article, it seems like they are experimenting. However, the amount of times Kaplan stresses everything is free, combined with this bit:

      We’d like to give the event more time and see how people feel as it wraps up. Maybe people will be feeling differently at the end of the event. Maybe not. If we need to make things less rare — if everyone is entitled to that Genji Epic Skin — we’ll have to reconsider our design philosophy in the future.

      …it certainly seems as though this was their angle all along. Which is further evidence for my pet theory that these vanilla WoW guys were basically the MMO equivalent of M. Night Shamalalalalan, rather than some sort of genius designers. Because this is some B Team nonsense anyone could have seen coming from a mile away.

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      • That “entitled to that Genji Epic Skin” line is going to come back to haunt him.

        Old Bliz being M.Night works too; he hit at the right time with the right combo. Were his early movies works of art? Naw. But were they good/great + had the right timing (surprise twist wasn’t expected from his movies like they are now)? Yup.

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