Blizzard’s Battle.net app now lets you gift Overwatch loot boxes to friends

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Loot boxes have been all over the gaming news headlines lately and for all the wrong reasons. Although if you were to ask most people, they would actually say that the only good reason for a headline about loot boxes would be to announce that they’re being removed thanks to publishers finally realizing just how scummy the practice of forced microtransactions in AAA games really is.

I’ve always maintained though that while games like Star Wars: Battlefront II makes absolutely deplorable use of loot boxes, Overwatch does a far better job of them. You earn loot boxes at a fairly quick pace just by playing the game normally, and even though you can purchase them with actual money, you really don’t have to as all they offer are cosmetic upgrades to your characters. There are some that would argue though that just by being included in the game, developer Blizzard is actively trying to tempt those gamers with less than strong resolve into dropping real-world cash on these costumes and emotes. And now those people can even spend that money on their friends!

Blizzard recently rolled out a new update to their Battle.net game launcher which included a number of social elements. Along with things like forming chat groups and having detailed social profiles also comes the ability to purchase loot boxes in Overwatch but then to gift them to people on your friends list. Besides for Overwatch loot boxes, the new Battle.net app will also gamers to gift World of Warcraft pets and mounts and Hearthstone card packs to friends. You can check it out in the video below.

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I’ve played a lot of Overwatch but my total gaming hours pales in comparison to some of the fanatics in my regular group. And in all those hundreds upon hundreds of hours of gaming none of us have ever felt the need to actually buy a lootbox. If we’re not even willing to spend that money on ourselves, we sure as hell won’t spend it on somebody else. But that’s us. Somewhere out there is a gamer who thinks this is a great idea, because although he’s already spent money to grab that sweet Genji skin, he can now spend even more money to do the same for his friends. And that is where these things get dangerous.

I still like the way Overwatch handles lootboxes (especially since they fixed the duplicate issue), especially when compared to some of the villainous implementations in other games, but I won’t deny that developers getting rid of all lootboxes everywhere in AAA games is the preferable outcome. Instead they’re just thinking up new ways to buy them.

Last Updated: October 26, 2017

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions – but very little sleep – I’ve been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

  • MonsterCheddar
  • I really have no problem with the Overwatch loot boxes. I get that some people have a gambling addiction or are susceptible to that but they are in the minority and banning loot boxes because some people may be adversely effected is like banning peanut butter because some people are allergic.

    I’m sorry but you need to take responsibility for your own life.

    As for why people gift loot boxes, well I know someone who was flirting with my kid sent her a PSN voucher for money so she could buy loot boxes so I guess if this existed then he would have just sent her the loot boxes? To me it’s odd, it’s like gifting someone a voucher for a random present, just buy the damn gift

    • (_|_) Benghazi

      they will creep into every game more and more just like “dlc”

  • Hammersteyn

    Loot boxes doesn’t belong in AAA games! Cosmetic or otherwise. It enables gambling without disclosure, it hobbles progression with artificial levels frustrating the player into giving up eventually and buying loot boxes, it hides all the sought after items behind a RNG system that rewards you with pittance amounts of in game currency for duplicate items and worst of all, it’s a AAA game that’s embraced to mobile economy of microtransactions.

    Oh but it’s purely cosmetic people defending microtransactions will say. Yes, this is where we are. The publishers won. They got your $60 already, now they want more and they’re getting it because of apathy from the consumer’s side. Microtransactions got forced down our throats till we started justifying cosmetics as the one excusable category because it doesn’t affect the balance of the game.

    But looking at the bigger picture, Overwatch success with loot boxes has now encouraged other publishers to do the same thing. Loot boxes are popping up like notifications on Blizzard’s bank account every time more loot boxes are bought. Even Destiny 2 made shaders consumable contradicting the first game.

    I’ve clearly got up on the wrong side of the house this morning but I’m really fed up with parasitic loot boxes. People have spent a ton of money on AAA games as is, so it would be nice if they didn’t try and suck every single cent out of people all the time. Hopefully this is a bubble that’ll burst one day.

    • Admiral Chief

      tl;dr

      • Hammersteyn

        YUS! TL;DR comment. Achievement unlocked!

    • Humantouch

      You have my vote for comment of the week, when I buy a game give me a completed game where I dont have to purchase anything additional.

      • Buckle up, Kids

        You are buying a completed game. Loot boxes just contain cosmetics which add absolutely nothing to the game at all except a different look for a certain hero or two. This would only apply to games that have DLC (which Overwatch does not).
        Edit: I forgot to mention that these cosmetics can be unlocked for free as you level up and get one free lootbox. You can also obtain Lootboxes from the Arcade Mode in the game.

  • (_|_) Benghazi

    pretty much sums up where blizzard is heading.

  • Deceased

    No issue with micro-transactions / lewt-boxes in games ( I actually need a confession-bear meme for that one ) – AS LONG AS IT IS COSMETIC ONLY!!!

    Any pay-2-win is a no-go, terrible idea.

    That being said, if someone wants to pay 50 Euroses to buy cosmetic items, that’s up to them…
    Another way is to just play the game and EARN your skins

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