A history of loot boxes and their impact on video games: while Mass Effect 3 was a turning point for microtransactions in big-budget games, it may have all began in China, where the free-to-play model initially flourished. After the concept started to take root in western markets through mobile games, it was inevitable that traditional game publishers would take notice. Thanks cageymaru. There's also a legitimate fear that free-to-play's uglier elements, such as pay-to-win schemes, will slowly creep into big-budget gaming, either creating an uneven playing field or disrespecting players' time in the process. Those concerns have ensnared EA, which is facing a backlash over loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront 2. The company has walked back some of its loot box plans and cut the cost of paid unlocks in response, but those are band-aid measures at best.