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Activision not doing itself any favors with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 loot boxes

Official Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 - Operation Grand Heist Trailer

Game giant Activision-Blizzard hasn’t exactly had the best public image recently, with the company splitting from Destiny studio Bungie and laying off hundreds of employees as part of restructuring — despite record profits. Now, the company’s biggest franchise has found itself in hot water after introducing particularly intrusive loot boxes.

As part of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4‘s big “Operation Grand Heist” content update, the game added “cases” to the Black Market system. These cases contain certain playable zombie Blackout characters as well as variations on weapons, items from past Operations, and certain skins. For those who happened to miss an Operation that offered an item, this is the way you can acquire it anyway. It can be done through normal play in multiplayer or Blackout mode, or, naturally, by spending Call of Duty Points you paid real money to get.

As Eurogamer noted, some of the items you get can actually provided experience boosts, potentially giving those who pay real money access to gear before those who don’t. It sounds a tad like the system put in place by one of Electronic Arts’ shooters before the company removed them from the game entirely.

Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4 — Black Ops Pass Update

Players on the game’s Reddit community page have expressed their frustration, pointing out that it will now take them longer to get Reserve gear if they don’t want to purchase crates. The progress seems to be brutally slow, as well. It’s a shame, because earning new goodies in Black Ops 4 as you progress through levels is relatively quick, and doesn’t require forking over extra cash.

Those who play Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 religiously could easily be spending more than $150 with this new system. The base game costs $60, and the season pass locks upcoming maps out from those who bought the game alone. Most other multiplayer shooters have moved away from this model, including Battlefield V, which provides players with a steady stream of new content for free.

There are certainly other options for players right now. Respawn’s Apex Legends has been a smash-hit success using a free-to-play model, with more than 25 million players in just a week. The game’s popularity has even caused a surge in activity for Titanfall 2, which also didn’t charge extra for maps.

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Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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