Fortnite deserves more credit for fixing video game monetization

Fact: Fortnite fixed gaming monetization.

With the introduction of the first Fortnite Battle Pass in Chapter 1 Season 3, Epic Games made the decision to pivot away from the popular loot box model that was dominating gaming up until that point - even Fortnite itself.

"Save the World," which had a free-to-play design, heavily relied on loot boxes for monetization and in-game progress. In other words, the original Fortnite Loot Llamas (loot boxes) weren't cosmetic-only upgrades.

The Battle Pass changed all of that, and I think it's impossible to ignore that gaming is better for it.

Epic Games

Changing the loot box meta

Loot boxes gave developers the most profit possible. It was gambling for in-game skins - even more than that for games like CS:GO, that had a secondary cosmetic market. 

Before Fortnite released its first Battle Pass. The tides were already beginning to shift. Local and federal regulators around the world were cracking down on loot boxes, even going so far as to outlaw them in certain countries.

The Battle Pass offered a solution to this: offer a renewable, season-based cosmetic subscription for $10 alongside a transparent Item Shop that allows players to purchase the particular skins they want.

Nearly every game released after the success of Fortnite adapted this model. Even games outside of the battle royale format are doing it.

Epic Games

Not every battle pass in every game is good. A lot of them suck. Halo Infinite is a perfect example. Pure trash.

Still, this system is far better than the loot box gambling meta we had before. Now, games are mocked for having loot boxes - even if they're free-to-play.

It seems like people forget that Fortnite blazed the path on this one. They proved that developers don't need to use underhanded tactics to get people to spend money - just develop some cool cosmetics and allow players to pay a small fee to earn them through playtime.

Gaming monetization is here to stay. You can't un-ring that bell; even in $60 titles. The way games monetize, however, can change. And Fortnite proved that to the rest of the industry.

On the day before Fortnite puts building back into the game and loses millions of players, again, let's take some time to commend them for bringing gaming monetization forward with their player-friendly Battle Pass model.

Epic Games

A personal note: I don't know about anyone else, but I spent more money on Fortnite BECAUSE of the lack of loot boxes.

Loot boxes always seemed like a scam to me - probably because they are. I could count the number of loot boxes I've bought in all the games I've played on one hand.

Coming directly from playing Overwatch for years without buying a loot box, I spent hundreds of dollars on Fortnite skins.

I know that the data shows that loot boxes are more profitable to gaming companies, but I, anecdotally, spent a whole lot more.