Epic Games is getting rid of Fortnite‘s version of paid, randomized loot boxes with its next update. As of the upcoming Patch 7.30, “Save the World” mode’s usual daily randomized offering of a “V-Bucks Llama” will be replaced with a new “X-Ray Llama,” which has its contents visible before you buy it.
Players can either purchase those items for 50 V-Bucks (roughly 50 cents, depending on bulk purchase) or wait for the Llama selection to refresh the next day. Similar item-filled llamas earned solely through gameplay will still hold random items. Fortnite‘s more popular Battle Royale mode does not use paid randomized loot boxes.
“We believe it’s important that the Llamas you buy have what you want, and that you can earn awesome items just for logging in and playing,” Epic said in a blog post announcing the move over the weekend.
Despite Epic’s framing the decision as a matter of its “beliefs,” outside pressure may have had just as much to do with the company’s change of heart here. Randomized loot boxes are now considered illegal gambling in
the Netherlands, forcing other developers to change their games to operate in those regions (though EA is
currently defying that decision in Belgium). Gambling regulators in 15 countries and Washington state have also
joined together to put pressure on game makers that use the randomized item distribution method, and
the FTC has pledged to investigate the practice in the US.
In the face of this pressure (and general fan backlash), games like
Destiny 2 and
Middle Earth: Shadow of War have turned off paid random loot boxes completely in the past year. Now that the most popular game in the world is turning away from the practice, maybe we’ll see that trend spread even farther.