Image: Activision Blizzard
Loot boxes are being removed from beloved shooter Overwatch on 30 August 2022, with no further sales offered past this expiry date. The move lays the groundwork for the launch of Overwatch 2, which arrives in early October and will not offer loot boxes for sale. Those who have unopened loot boxes in their inventory when the transition occurs will instead receive the skins and items included in these packs – although players will still be able to open their loot boxes in the coming weeks, until the Overwatch 2 server migration.
The removal of loot boxes is a big moment for the series, and for the entire world of video games. Prior to Overwatch, loot boxes were rarely included in AAA blockbusters – and rarely experienced mainstream success outside of niche mobile titles. But with Overwatch as a guiding light, loot boxes soon became a normal and accepted part of gaming, with many other games adopting this system.
While loot boxes had their fare share of controversies, with many likening them to gambling and decrying their use in all-ages video games, they proved to be an extremely lucrative addition to the world of video games. In fact, loot boxes reportedly made up US $15 billion of video game revenue in 2020.
But after years of success, Blizzard is finally admitting that loot boxes don’t provide fair value to keen players. Jon Spector, Commercial Leader and VP at Blizzard admitted as much in a recent media interview session, in which he claimed the team didn’t feel loot boxes provided a great player experience.
Read: Everything new we just learned about Overwatch 2
Finally, after revolutionising the games industry, Overwatch is ready to move on from loot boxes. In the game’s upcoming sequel, players will instead be able to fork out for unique cosmetics or use a special Battle Pass to unlock goods. This system will remove the mystery from the game, and also reduce the comparisons to gambling that often overshadowed the fun of Overwatch.
On 30 August 2022, all sales of loot boxes will cease, marking the end of an era for the long-running game. Loot boxes will still be available via event challenges, but none will be available for player purchase. While this leaves a whole month of loot box-less Overwatch to play before the launch of Overwatch 2, it should ease the pressure of the transition period.
Overwatch 2 launches for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Windows PC and Nintendo Switch on 4 October 2022.
Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who’s spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.
Dec 1, 2022
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