Analyst: Controversy Over Loot Boxes Does Not Affect Game Sales

Gamers are constantly vociferating against the abusive practices of certain companies. However, they do not know for sure whether companies take their proposals into account or whether there will be a long-term change. Mat Piscatella, an NPD analyst, said that the scenario is not very encouraging for players, as large productions will follow the model that prevails today.


According to Piscatella, controversies over microtransactions and loot boxes do not significantly affect game sales. Thus, companies are not forced to change their market strategy.

The analyst exemplified his point of view with the case of Destiny 2. The game was involved in this controversy; however, it is now the best-selling title in the United States so far in 2017. The same goes for FIFA 18 and its Ultimate Team mode, which gives Electronic Arts about $800 million a year, according to GamesIndustry.

“I would not say that the presence of loot boxes causes games to sell at higher levels than games without loot boxes. “What [this week’s] release does suggest is that the loot box or microtransactions controversy has not yet resulted in clear noticeable limitations of the sales potential of the games with [those mechanics],” Piscatella said.

According to the analyst, the best-selling games are those that try to keep their community longer, thanks to constant content that most often involves payments.

“As every stats professor has ever declared correlation does not necessarily mean causation. It could just be that the biggest games with the highest marketing budgets tend to have these mechanics and that the games are selling well despite the presence of loot boxes in the games,” the analyst added.

Piscatella also said sales data for the latter part of the year will provide a complete picture of this. This will allow seeing if there is a trend between the total sales of a game and the presence or lack of loot boxes. “Things continue to evolve, very quickly. I’m sure we’re going to learn much more over the next few months,” Piscatella concluded.

In related news, BioWare’s ex-developer Manveer Heir said that Electronic Arts is only interested in games that can monetize well.

What do you think about this topic? Do you think players could get a change in the industry? Tell us in the comments below.