The Lootbox Phenomena and The Winning Games

More than 120 billion dollars, that is, according to research agency, the total turnover that the game industry achieved in 2017. Earlier this year, the research agency predicted that the total turnover for 2018 will amount to $ 137.9 billion, or more than 120 billion euros. In the following years, this turnover will continue to grow in the game sector, with mobile games clearly an important growth engine that is increasingly leaving the PC and console market behind.

Apart from the different platforms, publishers and developers today try to increase game-related revenues in many ways. Collecting roughly 60 euros as a purchase price for PC or console games is no longer the end of the story. Games can increasingly be regarded as services and no longer as before as an end product. In addition, phenomena such as microtransactions and lootboxes can no longer be ignored. It is not easy to designate a contemporary game in which you as a gamer do not have any opportunity to purchase extra equipment, content or a different look for a fee. Publishers and developers do even more to increase their income, or consciously make certain choices to release games as soon as possible.


This article takes a closer look at and zooms in on a number of current revenue models in game land and phenomena that can be considered as part of such revenue models. This is not so much an exhaustive look back at 2018 alone, as most revenue models and the related trends and phenomena have been around for a long time and did not emerge until 2018. However, many of the topics discussed can be regarded as matters that have really matured in recent years and were, for example, still absent or missing ten years ago.

The lootboxes phenomenon

Undoubtedly one of the most infamous developments in game land: loot boxes. Game publishers happily put the virtual ‘gifts’ in their games in the past three years. What would it contain? Extra in-game money, new equipment, weapons, or other bonuses? That in itself is not even very remarkable or special, because where would an average RPG be without finding a box with interesting loot? Or where would the pve part of World of Warcraft be if guilds who manage to fend off monstrously strong opponents couldn’t count on special, epic or even legendary items as a reward? That is all simply part of games and especially certain game genres. Now with the use of the lol smurfs the arrangements are also made perfectly to win the game.

Lootbox in Star Wars Battlefront II

The term ‘lootboxes’ is not so much used for this intrinsic game aspect of, for example, RPGs; it mainly stands for the now widespread phenomenon of getting virtual chests of which the player does not know what is inside. These lootboxes sometimes come along as a reward for an in-game action, but sometimes they also drop out of the blue at any time, or they need to be bought with real money. Lootboxes that have to be bought with real euros, while it remains a big gamble whether the content represents something or not, are a phenomenon that is increasingly under attack.