Fortnite CEO explains why other games need to dump “ugly” loot boxes - Dexerto
Gaming

Fortnite CEO explains why other games need to dump “ugly” loot boxes

Published: 13/Feb/2020 3:09

by Isaac McIntyre

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Fortnite has famously never had loot box mechanics tied to its battle royale store, despite boasting one of the world’s biggest player bases, and now Epic boss Tim Sweeney has called for the rest of the industry to follow suit too.

Loot boxes have long been a hot topic in the gaming world. Global powerhouse franchises like EA’s FIFA series, as well as FPS titles like Overwatch and Apex Legends, have built their in-game purchases around random chance.

More and more games have been moving towards the “slot machine” style in recent times, but Epic’s helmsman Sweeney has warned a shift towards the “bad and the ugly” way of making profits in video games should be avoided “at all costs.”

Epic Games
Fortnite once had loot boxes in its Save the World game mode, but now the llamas just appear as in-game loot drops.

According to Sweeney, who spoke about the hot topic during his keynote at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas, as reported by the Hollywood Reporter, the gaming industry is in a crunch-time moment, and needs to “get it right.”

“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?” Sweeney said.

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

EA Sports
EA’s FIFA Ultimate Team packs have become one of the most infamous examples of the randomized loot boxes.

He then pointed to Fortnite’s collaborations with pop-culture giants like Disney’s Star Wars and Marvel, and suggested that was “the future” when it came to making long-term profits. Basically, let hype around the game sell the game.

“The future of this is, if you have an awesome new product, you start releasing free stuff in games and people get [engaged with it],” he explained to the various gaming big-wigs gathered at the Aria Resort & Casino on Wednesday.

He added that because games have become a social hub where “people meet daily,” the entertainment industry now has “special responsibilities” to the millions that log into their titles every day that devs “must take seriously.”

“We have businesses that profit by doing their customers harm,” he added.

Epic Games / Respawn / Blizzard / Infinity Ward
Sweeney believes it’s time for the industry to move away from random drops as a way to profit from gamers.

Sweeney’s call comes just a year after Epic hooked Loot Llamas from the battle royale’s less-popular cousin Save the World. Deemed to be “predatory” and “deceptive,” Fortnite devs made the call to change them entirely.

The Epic boss has also overseen the demolition of Rocket League’s extensive crate system, implementing item-specific ‘Blueprints’ after the Fortnite-famous company bought out title developers Psyonix in 2019.

His company isn’t the only one that has pulled the plug on the loot boxes in recent times either, with Bungie purging Destiny 2 of all random paid content after their Activision divorce, and Modern Warfare avoiding boxes from launch.

Vjeran Pavic for The Verge
Fortnite’s top boss Tim Sweeney has become more outspoken on loot boxes in 2020.

Considering Fortnite is one of the global leaders when it comes to gaming, and they’re still making major profits—the title made a whopping $1.8 billion in 2019—many will be hoping Sweeney’s call can spark more movement on the topic.

If his words can’t, legal action may. Electronic Arts been pulled into a legal battle with two Parisian lawyers this month. The pair are arguing the sports sim’s Ultimate Team mode should be labeled as a form of gambling.

Whether or not that French legal action takes hold, or other titles strip loot boxes out of their online games, it’s clear a tide is turning: if Epic’s top boss is joining the fight, it may only be a matter of time before other companies join the exodus.

FIFA

Zlatan Ibrahimovic blasts EA over FIFA 21 game face rights

Published: 23/Nov/2020 18:01

by David Purcell

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AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic has had the whole world talking about him due to his insane scoring run in Serie A, but has opened a new debate with FIFA 21 makers EA SPORTS over his game face rights. 

His team is sitting pretty at the top of the table in Italy’s top flight, and after scoring two goals in Milan’s 3-1 victory over Napoli on November 22, much of the talk surrounding the player was about a possible inclusion in Team of the Week 9.

That being said, if there’s one thing Zlatan does better than anybody, it’s control the conversation about him.

Ibrahimovic challenges EA over image rights

He certainly did that on November 23, as he took to Twitter to blast EA SPORTS for using his game face without “permission” – he says.

In a series of tweets, the player said: “Who gave FIFA EA Sport permission to use my name and face? I’m not aware to be a member of Fifpro and if I am I was put there without any real knowledge through some weird manouver. And for sure I never allowed FIFA.com or Fifpro to make money using me.

“Somebody is making profit on my name and face without any agreement all these years. Time to investigate,” he adds in a follow-up.

As expected, the move has sent shockwaves on the social media platform.

The Swede is accusing EA SPORTS of using his face to make money, though his club AC Milan actually signed an exclusive agreement this year to allow the developers to use accurate face scans for the entire team. The same goes for other EA Official Partner Clubs, such as Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

FIFA 21 milan
EA SPORTS
AC Milan are one of many EA Official Partner clubs.

There appears to be some confusion about the situation, between player, club and developer, and this story is likely to be a developing one. Should we hear more from Zlatan or other official sources, we’ll be sure to keep this article updated.

Fans of AS Roma will know the feeling of seeing their club restrict devs from using their player likenesses and official club branding in FIFA 21. Should Ibrahimovic pursue this further from a legal standpoint, there’s a chance his likeness could also be restricted for FIFA games in the future.