When Nintendo released Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp on mobile devices in November 2017, the game allowed players to purchase microtransactions. The game features a premium currency called Leaf Tickets that can be earned through gameplay or purchased with real money and, in turn, can be spent to unlock characters such as shopkeeper Tom Nook and K.K. Slider.
But it seems that Nintendo is keen to make more money from the game. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp now has loot boxes in the form of Fortune Cookies which are available in premium and standard versions. Fortune Cookies include unlockable items, though premium items, which may include furniture, clothing, and items that unlock special cutscenes with Pocket Camp‘s anthropomorphic NPCs, can only be found in premium Fortune Cookies. One premium Fortune Cookie costs 50 Leaf Tickets and Nintendo has also introduced a new, maximum microtransaction of 2,500 Leaf Tickets for $79.
While the addition of randomized item crates may already raise concerns among Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp fans, many are also unhappy because of how complex the system is. Premium Fortune Cookies give out stamps for an item and in order to unlock an item, players will require a minimum of 10 stamps to fill up one card. Items have different rarity levels and some items require 10 complete cards (100 stamps in total), which will only make acquiring the items even more expensive.
Visit Tommy in the Market Place to see the fortune cookies he and Timmy have carefully selected. Some have clothing in them. Some have furniture! #PocketCamp pic.twitter.com/uMjYgD4aej
— Isabelle (@animalcrossing) April 17, 2018
Replies to the tweet announcing the feature are full of disgruntled players, with many wondering why Nintendo thought it was wise to add loot boxes to the game as the loot box controversy rages on. Players, critics and lawmakers alike have questioned whether loot boxes are gambling and if randomized item crates such as these Fortune Cookies should be prohibited or legislated against. There are also ongoing investigations regarding loot boxes in several different countries around the world.
In fact, Nintendo has already found itself in hot water once this year over gacha-style business mechanics like these Fortune Cookies. iPhone maker Apple appeared to block updates to a Nintendo mobile game after it enforced new rules that said that loot box odds must be clearly defined. Many of Nintendo’s peers in the industry, including EA’s Star Wars Battlefront 2, have also faced a loss of sales and significant player backlash because of the business mechanic.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp had already upset fans, including supermodel Chrissy Teigen, because of its lack of heart. Introducing loot boxes is unlikely to win any core Animal Crossing fans over then, but Nintendo will be hoping that its new business model can make bank regardless.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is now available on Android and iOS devices.