What are loot boxes and microtransactions?

By Charlotte Parker 05 Feb 2018

These are 'gaming' terms - but they're not hard to understand. We take a look here at what 'loot boxes' and 'microtransactions' actually are, and how they can affect you.


What is a loot box?


A 'loot box' is a digital goody-bag that has extras in it that you either won't be able to get anywhere else in the game, or you'll have to work really hard to collect.

You have to spend real or in-game currency on them, but the deal is that you don't know what you're getting until you open it.

The reason a lot of gamers don't like loot boxes is because they could end up with worthless or duplicate items, especially if there's a particular item they're trying to get.


What is a microtransaction?


A prime example of a 'microtransaction' would be buying a loot box with real money.

Essentially, it's any transaction that's made after you've bought or installed a game. It gets abbreviated to MTX, so you might have seen that term being used as well.

As well as loot boxes, there's often content in a game that you can buy. Things like special costumes for your character, advanced weaponry and in-game currency packs are all microtransactions.


A note for parents


If you see lots of payments on your account for minor amounts (99p for example) then you or someone that uses your account is probably making microtransactions. Usually it'll be for a game of some sort, and you might not even notice until you get your bill with these amounts on. To make sure you've got control:

  • Check the settings and make sure in-app purchases need confirmation to be made.
  • Add a PIN or password so that only you can authorise transactions.
  • Regularly check your account for any payments you don't recognise.

When you set up most gaming accounts, you need to attach credit/debit card information to it, and that can let the user make these transactions unknowingly. Always check the settings to make sure there's a level of authentication needed.


Hopefully now you know what loot boxes and microtransations are. If you need more help, get in touch with Team Knowhow Experts.

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