Loot boxes have come under a lot of scrutiny of late, ever since EA dropped the ball with their implementation in the then eagerly anticipated Star Wars Battlefront 2. It’s why there’s so much distaste for them now, even in free to play games, where they make more sense than they do in a full priced title.
However, speaking to GamesBeat, Respawn Design Director Mackey McCandlish said that the monetization policies in Apex Legends, which, yes, include loot boxes as well, are “ethical”, because they are all for cosmetics, and nothing that affects game balance in the slightest.
“We’re not pay-for-power,” he said. “We’re a very ethical form of monetization, where we’re giving away a lot of cosmetics that you don’t even have to pay for. If you do want to buy, you can directly buy, from the store, a limited-time item. You can earn the characters in the game or you can buy them. We’re shipping with eight. Six are free and two are earnable. It’s a balancing act, but we knew we didn’t want to be pay-for-power, pay-to-win.
“I think we’ve demonstrated with our previous games that we care about having an ethical, transparent relationship with the consumer. We did free DLC maps for Titanfall 2. When the competition was already going pay-for-power back then, we didn’t do that. I think this continues that trend, and I think it’s true to Respawn’s ideals of having a fair relationship with the consumer.”
To be fair, Respawn has constantly done good by the customer, so it’s hard to not accept their plea to trust them on this. And for now, there have been no complaints about the loot boxes in Apex Legends, even though the game is clearly doing well, and has enough players that something like that wouldn’t go unnoticed—let’s just hope Respawn doesn’t mess this delicate balance that they have seemingly struck up.