Over the past few months, there has been fierce debate about video games that contain loot boxes. Some gamers and elected officials have begun to argue that loot boxes are gambling and that the mechanic – which involves paying to purchase a chest of randomized in-game content – is exploitative and could potentially lead to a new wave of gambling addicts. Major releases such as Forza Motorsport 7 and Middle-earth: Shadow of War have come under fire for their inclusion of the business model.
One game that will be bucking the loot box trend, however, is Far Cry 5. Ubisoft has now confirmed that its upcoming first-person shooter will not feature loot boxes or chance unlocks that involve microtransactions (i.e. any other form of paying in order to gain a chance at unlocking some randomized in-game content). Instead, Far Cry 5 will feature cosmetic microtransactions that allow players to spend to get various in-game items.
The currency that Far Cry 5 uses is called Silver Bars. While Silver Bars can be found in crates at outposts and other locations in Hope County (the fictional, rural county where the game is set), players will also be able to purchase Silver Bars with real money through the game’s store, although Ubisoft has yet to disclose prices.
Items that players will be able to purchase with Silver Bars include prestige weapons, vehicles, clothes, and skins. Ubisoft has yet to reveal what these cosmetic items may look like. It’s also unclear whether Silver Bars will be a finite resource and if players will be able to unlock all cosmetic content in the game without ever spending more money.
Many opponents of loot boxes in games argue that outright cosmetic microtransactions are the preferred option, and indeed, a study found that 69% of gamers accept cosmetics microtransactions in their games. There is the argument that by allowing players to purchase items that they want outright rather than making it random, there is no risk of them being exploited by chance-based systems.
Many may also argue that this is a smart business decision by Ubisoft, especially considering the backlash that other games have received due to their inclusion of loot boxes. For example, Star Wars Battlefront 2‘s sales were hit massively as a result of its loot boxes, as well as suggestions that the game is pay-to-win – that is, the notion that players could pay real money for a discernible gameplay advantage. In that sense, Far Cry 5 may emerge unscathed, but some will still be waiting patiently to see the game’s cosmetic business model in action before singing its praises.
Far Cry 5 is set to launch on March 27, 2018 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Source: PC Gamer