Citing titles like “Star Wars Battlefront II” and “Middle-earth: Shadow of War” as the inspiration behind taking a stand against these practices, OpenCritic has made the decision to denote when they’re available in-game. The team behind the website believes loot boxes are a “net-negative” for the industry as a whole. Loot boxes have been a hotly-contested subject within the game industry following negative backlash after a very messy “Star Wars Battlefront II” situation where players believed the game was “greedy,” asking them to pay additional funds into a game they had already purchased for content they believed should already be in the base title.
“Loot boxes prey on human’s generally poor ability to accurately understand and internalize probabilities, especially at the extremes. Rather than offer in-game items directly, loot boxes are used to mask the underlying cost of extremely attractive items,” the OpenCritic announcement reads, along with other rationalization of what the organization feels is detrimental about randomization and other “gambling”-like mechanics.
OpenCritic looks at metrics like unknown, random rewards, monetization, and encouraged usage of items to determine whether or not a game utilizes loot boxes. Games found to be using said items will be flagged within OpenCritic with a bright orange banner seen on the top of the page beneath the title’s OpenCritic Rating, Top Critic Average, and Critics Recommend badges.
“It’s our mission to help gamers make informed decisions when considering a purchase or download. We feel that informing consumers about the presence of loot boxes is a key part of our mission,” wrote OpenCritic on its official blog.
The changes have gone into effect and can be seen across the site as of Tuesday.