Loot Boxes: Diving Deep Into The Numbers Behind Overwatch’s Items And Unlockables

fps, overwatch, blizzard, loot box, revenue, micro transactions
The now iconic sight of a loot box just waiting to be opened.

The Microtransactions of Overwatch

With many new online games hitting shelves these days, a common sight that tends to be included with them in the option to purchase in-game content through a variety of ways. One the most common however, is through a marketplace or shop.

When Overwatch was announced, it wasn’t a surprise to see that this formula would be present in Blizzard’s new battle-arena FPS. What was surprising however, was that while free to play games like League of Legends or SMITE tend to make their microtransactions cost more money over the long term, Overwatch rewards its players with their in-game loot boxes at every possible turn.

From leveling up your account, to weekly rewards or just logging in during specific seasonal events, Overwatch took that laborious chore of either shelling out cash or farming for huge periods of time and found a near perfect happy median between them both.  

Dangling the Carrot of Loot Box After Loot Box

As seen in the video above from Muselk’s YouTube channel, players and fans of the game get a lot of enjoyment out of one of the most simplistic reward systems in gaming history. With over 30 million active players at this point, Overwatch has seen great success come from the microtransaction / reward system in place in terms of revenue and player reaction. Because everything unlocked is based on just playing the game itself, Blizzard gives its players all the reason to just play Overwatch with how many ways there are to unlock loot boxes and get to the goodies with them.

Because seasonal events that have ushered with them multiple character skins, emotes, sprays and profile logos, the system for always giving players something to strive for has been a self-sustaining one that keeps both developers and players satisfied to the highest level. With many of these specific boxes coming during those events for a limited time, players feel a sense of urgency and rush to play as much as they can before the time runs out.

The Halloween event-themed loot boxes gave players a limited window to unlock the goodies within.

The Proof is in the Players

With loot boxes also being purchasable in bulk via real currency, it’s easy for Blizzard to sit back and look at the numbers relative to the boxes players acquire without spending a penny.

While during times that Overwatch isn’t supporting a current in-game, seasonal event, loot box sales have been trending down -when they are in full swing is when the developer sees the largest spike in purchases. As seen in Muselk’s video above, he opened 200 of them in one sitting after purchasing the 50 boxes for $39 option. That’s a grand total of just over $160 for that one player. At 30 million active participants in Overwatch, with many of them doing the same massive opening videos on Twitch or YouTube streams, events like this is where the “must have it all” mentality comes into play and big purchases are made. With a system such as this, it’s obvious as to why the purchasing of loot boxes continues to be a popular one and a self-sustaining one.

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Beard-clad, pirate-at-heart storyteller from the Pacific Northwest.
Currently Playing: Overwatch, Zelda: Breath of the Wind, Planet Coaster, Astroneer, SMITE, World of Warcraft (Private Server)
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dragon Age: Inquisition, Fable: The Lost Chapters, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
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