Epic Games CEO Speaks Out Against Loot Boxes in Gaming

Companies mentioned: Epic Games
Games mentioned: Fortnite

Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney gave a talk at the 2020 DICE Summit titled “The Times They Are A Changin'” in which he called for the end of pay-to-play “loot boxes” in video games.

Tim pined over the good ol’ days where video game developers and customers would share a largely positive and collaborative relationship in which they would work together for their mutual benefit. He went on to condemn the pervasive trend in the video game industry that uses adversarial business models in which businesses profit from “doing players harm and doing their supporting ecosystem harm”.

On the topic of loot boxes in gaming, Sweeney told the crowd, “We have to ask ourselves, as an industry, what we want to be when we grow up. Do we want to be like Las Vegas, with slot machines … or do we want to be widely respected as creators of products that customers can trust? I think we will see more and more publishers move away from loot boxes.”

“We should be very reticent of creating an experience where the outcome can be influenced by spending money,” he continued. “Loot boxes play on all the mechanics of gambling except for the ability to get more money out in the end.”

Sweeney backed up this talk through action from Epic Games. Llamas in Fortnite’s Save the World mode will now tell you what they hold. Epic’s purchase of Rocket League developer, Psynoix, came with the phasing out of the random crates from the game.

Sweeney also spoke about Epic’s partnerships with media giants like Marvel and Star Wars. The CEO clearly thinks that this is a much more wholesome approach to monetization than loot boxes.

With these statements from Tim Sweeney and actions from Epic, it’s clear that they’re positioning themselves on the right side of history.

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