Psychologists Discuss "Pay To Loot" Systems

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor Posted:

Overwatch Loot Box

Our commonly accepted acronyms on this website include F2P, B2P, P2W ... and now P2L?

"Pay to Loot" is a term coined by a couple of psychologists in an article in IGN today, referring to games that offer loot boxes as incremental rewards -- say, leveling up -- but also as sales in the game's cash shop.

I read through the piece and, to be honest, it seemed to try and lump a lot of games' monetization methods into a single category and then pass judgment on the whole thing. The author even goes so far as to say that P2L is "subtler and, arguably, worse" than P2W because of the gambling-like addiction that can result from it. Someone needs to be reminded of what pure, unadulterated pay-to-win is like.

Honestly, I don't have too much of a problem with the monetization used in the games mentioned; Overwatch is the most heavily referenced. As long as they don't affect gameplay, which would veer heavily into pay-to-win territory, and you have a way to farm up the boxes or currency in-game, I tend to be OK with things. Also realize that, if a game like Overwatch did offer the ability to buy skins directly with cash, they would cost more than a couple of loot boxes.

So yeah, it's not perfect, but "pay to loot" is an aspect of monetization, especially in games that are free-to-play or have no sub fee, that I'm generally OK with, as long as there's a reasonable way to get the stuff in game. I just don't expect to own absolutely everything.

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In this article: Counter-Strike, Overwatch, Loot Boxes.

About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

More Stories by Jason Winter

Discussion (4)

ELJEFE 7 years ago
I have always thought of pay to loot as when a game gives you a crate/chest whatever t
And then you have to pay with real money to buy the key.

Sigmund Freud 7 years ago
getting a loot box is so far from Paying to loot... Paying too Lost is when That one game literally put a Cap on how much loot you could pick up in a day....

View 1 reply
hddxnsbns 7 years ago
an fps game i play since oct 2015 recently got gambling system like cs go

originally the developers said the game will never be p2w and it still isnt as the only things sold are cosmetic and all guns and attachments can be acquired pretty easily with in game currency

the thing is that before this gambling system people could buy weapon and character skins individually and get what they wanted for as much as the price tag says

now they have to pour hundreds of dollars and still not get what they previously could for about $10

as long as the game remains f2p its cool, but it sucks for those who want to support the game by buying some skins

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