Overwatch fever is beginning to take hold, as players open randomized loot boxes with the hopes of big rewards, and share videos of their successes and failures.
It’s fair to say that Blizzard is a studio that has found great success in envisaging ways to keep players coming back to its games. The company helped millions get addicted to World of Warcraft, and has high hopes that its class-based online FPS Overwatch will be subject to similarly overwhelming popularity.
However, Overwatch won’t use the same subscription model that World of Warcraft did. When players buy the game, they’re given unlimited access — but a large portion of its character customization options are hidden behind a system that will perhaps be familiar to Hearthstone players.
Buying a new booster pack in Hearthstone entitles players to five cards of varying rarity, and an amusingly bombastic animation that reveals the player’s haul. People love the way this mechanic plays out, and as such pack opening videos have become very popular on YouTube.
It seems that Overwatch might have its own answer to these clips, as the game’s loot boxes adopt a very similar structure to the card opening sequence in Hearthstone. Already, players are uploading their loot box opening videos to services like YouTube for all to see.
Watching strangers open random assortments of accessories for their in-game avatars might sound like a complete waste of time, but it’s easy to see why fans of the game are drawn to these clips. Players can live vicariously through a streamer as they open fifty packs in one sitting — something that’s cost-prohibitive for most.
It’s also a great way of determining whether it’s worth pouring money into the game. Seeing someone else tear through ten loot boxes without receiving anything noteworthy might be a good indicator of whether or not it’s worth spending any real cash to outfit your character.
However, Blizzard will no doubt be hoping that these videos take off, much as they have done among Hearthstone players. Just one video of a player opening a great pack could be enough to convince many more to roll the dice, and that makes money for the studio.
Overwatch is clearly a game that’s being built for the long-term, and titles with that kind of scope need to support themselves financially. The microtransactions tied to these loot boxes are intended to help foster that self-sufficiency — so if these unboxing videos continue to grow in popularity, that certainly bodes well for Overwatch going forward.
Overwatch is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.