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In video games, a "loot box" (often rebranded by publishers as "surprise mechanics" or other euphemisms) is a container with randomized, possibly rare loot. While some are actual boxes within the game world which the Player Character picks up, they tend to be a bit more disconnected — they're often acquired from the game's menu system outside of gameplay (a process that can include Microtransactions), and their "contents" aren't limited to physical items but can include insubstantials like new classes or skins.
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The first clear examples of this mechanic are the Chinese ZT Online (2007) and Canadian FIFA 09 (2008). In East Asia, it would soon come to dominate the mobile and browser gaming markets, where it's known as "gacha" after the toy capsule machinesnote . The term "lootboxes" was coined by Overwatch in 2016.

Loot boxes serve as a point of contention due to many allegedly free games which have hidden real and tangible ways of Bribing Your Way to Victory behind this randomized method of acquisition. It also crept into paid games, with Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive adding skin cases and the like.note  Eventually governments would start investigating whether they should be regulated as gambling — Japan has banned one particularly addictive form of the mechanic since 2012, and a 2016 Chinese ruling banned paid lootboxes completely, though both laws were filled with loopholes (such as how for the former, buying lootbox grants exclusive tokens to be used to purchase desirable prizes on display or to upgrade existing characters, and for the latter, lootboxes are technically not bought with real money, but additional in-game currency required to buy those lootboxes can be bought quicker with real money). The widespread backlash against Star Wars Battlefront II (2017) also lead to many countries in the Western hemisphere taking greater notice, with Belgium, the Netherlands and the Isle of Man implementing restrictions soon after, and the United Kingdom starting an investigation that lead to lootboxes being linked to problem gambling, and regulations are sure to follow with enough evidence.

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An additional source of controversy, even among players who don't mind or outright enjoy gambling, is that many game publishers don't reveal the drop rates. Whereas casinos and lotteries in most nations have been legally required to tell you the odds of winning for decades, as of 2021 there's almost never a similar transparency requirement for lootboxes. As such it's usually a mystery what your actual chances are of getting the prize you want out of a lootbox. Though "very low" is usually a safe guess. Some publishers now voluntarily disclose the odds in response to player backlash, but many still keep it a closely-guarded secret. In the latter case, buying loot boxes is more similar to gambling in an illegal casino than in a legitimate one.

The paid version of these is a sub-trope to Microtransactions and is a gambling trope, though the tropes are not mutual as some instances of loot boxes are not paid for. A sub-trope of Mystery Box. Mutually related to Random Loot. Contrast Betting Minigame, which is exclusively done through in-game currency.

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Examples:

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    Action 
  • Battlerite has multiple varieties of Chests that can be bought or earned by levelling up your profile and Champions. Their contents are purely cosmetic aside from one example:
    • Silver chests are bought with Battlecoins, the currency used to unlock new Champions.
    • Gold chests are bought with the premium currency, Gems, and contain at least one Epic quality item. In the past, you could get two quests per week that award one Gold chest each, but this was later replaced with the Sponsor system.
    • Legendary chests contain at least one Legendary quality item. They can only be earned by completing certain objectives.
    • Event chests are only available for a limited time and contain event-exclusive items. They come in two versions: a basic version that replaces Silver chests, and a premium version that contains at least one non-duplicate item (so opening enough of these chests guarantees you will have all event items). Players who reach the Diamond league can sign an exclusive sponsor who will award past premium event chests. Players who want a specific event item can also use Gems (premium currency) to directly purchase it instead of relying on random chests.
    • Special chests are available when a new Champion is released, and guarantee that you will get a non-duplicate item for the new Champion. The Corsairs sponsor also offers past Special Chests as rewards.
    • The Champion chest unlocks one new playable Champion (the only non-cosmetic thing you can get from Chests). You can only get one from completing the tutorial.
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War is one of the most infamous aside of loot boxes next to Star Wars Battlefront II (2017) at the time, due to the fact the game is completely single-player other than an asychronous multiplayer ladder system that involves fortress invasion. Most of the game can be completed without them, but their use becomes very prevalent in the Epilogue, Shadow Wars, where you need to complete a long series of fortress defense missions to get the true ending. Later phases of Shadow Wars becomes a grueling task of finding the most optimized orcs to successfully defend or retake fortresses, and loot boxes encouraged speeding up the process. A year after release, the game completely removed the ability to purchase loot boxes (certain daily missions hand them out as rewards) and made the requirements to complete the Epilogue much shorter.
  • Warframe has random boxes you can buy outright by credits or the paid for currency Platinum, also you often accumulate "relics" either through purchase or looting, but to open them you have to play a harder than usual mission and the loot inside the relic is extremely randomized, although one can alter the odds. Lastly most of relic contents are parts to be assembled for full set.
  • Vermintide II subverts this, as all loot boxes must be earned through gameplay and cannot be bought through microtransactions, making this more of a combination with Randomly Drops common in RPG games, though the presentation resembles common loot box interface.
  • Ninjala has the Gumball Machine, where for 100 Jala (in-game currency) or 300 Gold Medals (earned through achievements), the game will provide you with random Palette Swaps of existing weapons and a 5% chance of a seasonal outfit, most of which cannot be found anywhere else and are gone once replaced with the next seasonal outfit.

    Card Games 
  • KanColle has it in form of (Large) Ship Constructions. There, you issue an order to make a new ship girl, the results of which are random. The girls appropriately have "rarity grades" that signifies the chances of them being made. Constructing new ships simply requires the in-game resources as payment, but the building time tend to be long (especially for Large version).

    Fighting Games 
  • A gacha system exists in Get Amped; some of the gacha uses the in-game money, some others use real-life ones. The gacha can give you either multiple copies of weapons, enhancement cards, or powerful accessories, the latter of which being the higher grade prizes.
  • Street Fighter V Arcade Edition:
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ allows you to purchase 'Capsules' which contain a number of Palette Swaps for the fighters, in-game avatars, and titles. Although these are not purchased with real currency, their contents are entirely cosmetic and have no bearing whatsoever on the gameplay itself. If you get a duplicate item, you get a Premium Z Coin in exchange; ten of those can be traded in for something you do not have.
    • This has been an ArcSys staple since Blazblue Chronophantasma Extend, which started the trend of using in-game money (which used to be for concept art and buying the stuff directly so you didn’t need to waste time struggling to get stuff for your main/favourites) for playing the lottery for that one palette/avatar/whatever you want and has continued since.
  • Injustice 2 calls these "Mother Boxes", which come in Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond tiers and are the primary source for gear. They're earned by doing various activities such as the Multiverse and AI Battle Simulator, with the lower tiers also being purchasable with in-game currency.
  • The mobile version of Skullgirls has Relics, redeemed via Theonite shards and are how you unlock new characters, better versions of characters you already have, customizable moves, Canopy Coins (a different in-game currency), and equippable items. That being said, there are character-specific Relics guaranteed to give you rewards pertaining strictly to that character. Theonite is also earned by playing each day, going through the story, and accomplishing milestones that always refresh, so it isn't as extreme as most other examples.

    First Person Shooters 
  • Team Fortress 2 is the Trope Codifier of this, with the Mann Co. Supply Crates. Crates randomly drop for free but require keys purchased from the Mann Co. Store to open, or traded for with Refined Metal, or just lots of cosmetic items. It's technically one of the first, if not the first, paid-for game that features lootboxes that we know in most Valve games. However months after Mann Co. Supply Crates were added, the game was made free to play, although those who downloaded the game after it went F2P will have a few limitationsnote  compared to those who bought the game. To remove the restrictions, all the Free-to-Play players have to do is purchase either any store items (the cheapest item being less than a dollar), or the Orange Box bundle, both of which will remove the limitations)
  • Star Wars Battlefront II (2017) was infamous for this; despite being a paid full game, the game still contained these, and among other things (such as having things from the first game locked behind paywalls), this got the game hit with serious backlash, and EA's attempt to defend this on Reddit netted them the lowest rated post in the site's history. Even worse for the developers, the game would end up being investigated by Belgium, Australia, and parts of the UK and US for containing gambling elements, with a politician from the state of Hawaii even calling them a trap. The system was changed in early 2018 to kill the lootboxes, and instead use Microtransactions for cosmetics only.
  • Overwatch is one of the chief Trope Codifiers of its modern implementation, at least for launching "loot boxes" in mainstream lexicon. Loot boxes are obtained in 3 ways: earning enough XP for a new player level, purchased in bulk via in-game Microtransactions, or by playing the Arcade, which lets you earn a lootbox after every third win, stacking 3 times per week (later changed to completing enough games using the Role Queue system). Each one contains four hero-based cosmetic rewards, or varying amounts of gold coins to purchase said rewards with. Any duplicates will be converted to coins, albeit at a lower rate at what they actually cost. All event-specific items are tied to Event-Specific lootboxes, which requires opening those specific Loot Boxes to get at the stuff you want, or by obtaining enough coins to buy them outright for three times their normal cost for the newest items. Like with Battlefront II above, it was investigated by Belgium for whether its lootboxes constitutes gambling or not, and their final word is that they do. Perhaps inspired by this, Blizzard announced for Overwatch 2 that lootboxes would be abandoned in favor of a live-service free-to-play model (similar to newer competitors like Fortnite and Valorant), featuring more direct, on-demand purchasing of cosmetic goodies.
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive features these, which drop weapon skins, knife skins and...glove skins (one per crate).
    • It, along with many Steam games, are subject to legalized Real Money Trade through the Steam Marketplace, which lead to third-party sites that used to be able to manipulate the odds of dropping high-level skins and such, and it led to a rather large controversy when it was discovered that some of these third-party sites were a) involved in legitimate gambling incidents, and b) manipulating the odds to sell their site, but then making it literally impossible to get high-level drops by turning the high-level drops to 0%.
  • PAYDAY 2 had its Crimefest 2015 event, which was a major PR disaster for Overkill due to them implementing Safes and Drills as microtransactions, which contain weapon skins, in an event in which content was meant to be free to all players. It didn't help that skins may sometimes have stat boosts tacked onto them, but with the game being PVE, not PVP, this is not what the majority of people were upset about. What was upsetting, and more galling in the eyes of the playerbase, was that a few years prior, the devs famously said that wouldn't add microtransactions to the game ("Shame on you, if you thought otherwise!"). Since this released, however, Overkill have actively tried to make things right since then, by delisting the paid drills and their respective safes, essentially removing the drills needed to open those Safes from circulation, and made it so that safes added after Update #100 become free to open, requiring no drill to open, and they'll drop at the end of a heist once per week at random. Update #199.2 removed the ability to purchase drills from Overkill, and you can no longer sell safes on the steam marketplace.
  • Killing Floor 2 also has loot boxes, although there is in game "Loot Vault" that allow one to open a loot box for free after grinding a lot and some loot boxes are free too.
  • The introduction of Black Market in Call of Duty: Black Ops III multiplayer mark the first time Call of Duty implements loot box. It is called "Quartermaster" in Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare and Call of Duty: WWII and called Depot in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered.
  • There are various Chests on rotation in Paladins, some unlock one random skin per roll, and others grant you another cosmetic item, such as an MVP Pose, avatar or emote, all of which are guaranteed to be something you don't already have, as unlike its contemporaries, the game does not give you duplicate items. You can also increase odds in what skin you get by buying eligible skins from the Bounty Store marketplace to increase your odds in getting a desired skin in a chest (which can then be sold on), but one had to be prepared enough to do this. The "no duplicates system" does inevitably lead to players unlocking everything in a specific chest, and then earning more from events, event passes or Trials, which they can't open since there's nothing left for them to win (Battle Chests were notorious for this before their removal). Here are some of the categories:
    • The Gold Chest contains most non-event skins, emotes, and MVP poses, and costs 75 Crystals. You can earn one for free by completing your Ranked placement matches, and show up infrequently in the Event Pass.
    • The Diamond Chest contains a smaller selection of Epic and Legendary skins and mounts, and costs 300 Crystals.
    • The Flair Chest contains flairs (as in, stuff to show off). This includes emotes, MVP poses, avatars and the somewhat unusually named Titles (the text underneath one's username, for example; "God8898 - The Impatient"). It costs 50 Crystals and many can be earned from both the free and paid tracks of some Event Passes.
    • Event and themed chests, such as the "Little Box of Horrors" cost various amounts of Crystals and contain various items from past events or that share a specific theme, though there is at least one skin that is only tangentially related. Most new skins (excluding Event Pass skins) tend to be unlocked through these chests, although they also have the option of being directly bought for the cost of two chests, which is usually better unless you have most of the chest's skins already, or there are several skins you want in the same chest.
    • There are also Gifts, which are functionally identical to chests, but by a different name, and each tier of gift is based on the pool of items found in the Diamond, Gold or Flair chests. Unlike chests, there is no in-game way to know what's in a gift if you receive one, essentially making them worse that chests in that regard.
  • Splitgate has Drops, which are spheres containing cosmetics for weapons and characters, including skins. They're earned completing in-game challenges, but not bought — every item you buy with in-game currency, you buy directly and knowing what it is.

    Idle Games 
  • A non-paid example from Anti-Idle: The Game comes the various boxes/crates. These can be gained a number of ways, but usually you can buy them with your coins. While most of the box types are guaranteed to give you something, the Gambler's Box is notable in that you have a 10% chance to earn something very valuable and a 90% chance to earn absolutely nothing.
  • The Communitree: Upgrade two in the Mergents tab grants you one random special mergeable (multiplier, accelerator, sinusoidal, etc.) at an increasing mergent cost, with a similar percentage chance for all types until you get a new type.
  • Religious Idle: The video game propaganda upgrade partially involves "multiplayer loot boxes."
  • Synergism: Wow! Cubes are parody of them (the description almost mentions lootboxes by name). Each one opened grants a random Blessing, though you can also spend them on upgrades and the game remains free in terms of real-world money anyway. Later on, there are Wow! Tesseracts, Wow! Hypercubes, and Platonic Cubes that contain things that boost the previous Blessing type's effects (or in case of the last one, have entirely new ones).
  • Downplayed with Zombidle: Chests contain three items (only one of which can be chosen per chest) of variable usefulness. While they're mostly obtained by defeating bosses and reset after every run, they can be crafted in exchange for white orbs (which are obtained at the end of every run), which can also be bought in exchange for diamonds (the only currency that can be purchased for real money, though there's plenty of ways to earn them in-game).

    MMORPGs 
  • Dungeon Fighter Online has Lost Treasures, which are uncommonly dropped by almost any enemy in the game. They can only be opened by using 3 Skeleton Keys, which can be bought in bulk with real money or dropped extremely rarely from enemies. There is a static pool of items that range in quality from "better than nothing" to "decently useful", as well as a monthly rotating pool of "jackpot" items that tend to be very powerful and desirable. Almost all Lost Treasure items can also be bought and sold on the Auction Hall.
  • Realm of the Mad God has the Mystery boxes, available in the nexus and can be bought using Realm Gold (or rarely fame during special events). Usually, Set-Tiered items are given away in these (which players can trade), but other items can be given away from them.
  • ZT Online, a Chinese MMORPG which entered public beta on 21 April 2006 with this as an inaugural feature, is the Ur-Example for this trope. In this game, boxes are obtained as plunder but each box requires a key that costs 1 yuan (one-sixth of an US dollar) to open. Unlike most Western-made examples that came after it, ZT Online's lootboxes mostly contained things essential to game advancement like crafting materials or outright equipment, with no conventional Random Drops from monsters in sight other than the aforementioned plunder. The game was designed such that attempting to play it as an F2P was utterly futile, or as one old article puts it, "you are unable to kill even a mosquito". Under governmental pressure, its use of loot boxes ended on 26 June, 2009.
  • Elsword:
    • The "Ice Burner" from the Item Mall. Their contents range from a number of rare consumables, to a lot of crafting materials, and their "grand prize", a set of costume equipments that not only look cool but also enhances your characters further.
    • There are also a lot of other "cubes/boxes" in the game that contains varying kinds of loots, some less random than others, such as boxes that contains equipments from Secret Dungeons or boxes containing equipments from bosses from certain regions.
  • Runescape has the Treasure Hunter "minigame" which offers you some free chests with money, bonus experience, or other goods inside once per day, but the option to purchase more with real money. Added to the mix were legitimate Loot Crates, which only further muddied things up and drew the ire of several players as the Battlefront II controversy started to go down.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 and Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis use Scratches. By spending a certain amount of currency, you can obtain a random item from among a pool of prizes. The currency required and the items available vary by the specific Scratch, although the vast majority of them deal in cosmetics. The most common one is AC Scratch, which requires ARKS Cash bought with real money. Other variants include SG Scratch, which requires Star Gems (a premium currency you can earn in-game), FUN Scratch, which requires FUN Points and is only available in PSO2, and Special Scratch, a Scratch only available in NGS that requires Special Scratch Tickets earned by playing.
  • Pokémon GO features Eggs and Incubators. The former are randomly given from PokéStops (one per Stop, up to a maximum of nine) and come available in three different types. The latter are what are used to hatch Eggs, and can only be earned in large numbers by using real money. Once the Egg is being incubated, it does not hatch instantly like other examples of loot boxes. The player must walk during the incubation process to hatch the Egg, which can take from two to ten kilometers depending on the egg's color. Pokémon hatched from eggs have a far greater chance of having high IV's, while those hatched from 10km eggs having the potential to hatch into rarer Pokémon.
  • Star Trek Online has lockboxes, usually themed on the current Story Arc, which drop at random from destroyed mobs and are opened with keys purchased from the game's real-money store. They were introduced following the game's changeover from subscription-based to Free-to-Play. Each box contains at least four Lobi crystals (used in a pseudo-Black Market store on Drozana Station) and a random prize (the grand prize is always a starship).
  • The Elder Scrolls Online has Crown Crates, which are usually only purchaseable through the real-money-only "Crowns" currency, though are also given as a bonus when leveling up characters and occasionally a few are given as a daily login bonus during particular events. They contain 4 rewards (about a 15-20% of there being a 5th reward) consisting of consumables (food/potions, xp scrolls, and riding lessons — all of which have an in-game equivalent) and cosmetics (mounts, pets, costumes, furnishings, etc). If you get a collectible that you already own, or wish to exchange your consumables, you get "crown gems" that can be used to purchase individual items from the crate outright (with the price dependent upon rarity).
  • MapleStory
    • The Gachapon requires one Gachapon Ticket (which costs 1000 NX, or 1$, slightly less if you buy in bulk) per go and grants various items, mainly fancy chairs and mounts, as well as equipment.
    • Style Boxes give a random piece of clothing which replaces the appearance of your equipment.
  • Maple Story 2 brings back the Style Boxes from the first game, but drops the Gachapon. Style Crate items can also be bought directly for a higher price.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Another Eden uses this mechanic as your main means of recruiting additional party members — a majority of the game's massive playable cast is obtained this way. You access it by spending Chrono Stones, which are mostly acquired through the Achievement System. By just playing through the game, you get enough for several 10-pulls without spending a dime. It is possible (and a invoked Self-Imposed Challenge) to clear the game using only plot-given characters, without using a single Chrono Stone.
  • Mega Man Battle Network: The Chip Trader machine works like a gacha, with a twist: you have to insert 3 (or 10 for the better version of the trader) Battle Chips into it, and then the trader will give you one random Battle Chip, usually of the (relatively) higher quality. The 10-Chip Trader predictably gives better chips than the 3-chip one. The Traders' output pay little heed to the input, so it's possible to dump in a fair amount of low-level chips and get something rare. Then there's the Bug Frag Chip Trader, which requires you to insert 10 Bug Frags instead; they give even better chips than any normal Chip Trader, but Bug Frags are quite harder to farm than Battle Chips.
  • Mass Effect 3:
    • The game uses lootboxes for its multiplayer. You start out with just the basic human characters for each class and basic weaponry. Lootboxes can be purchased using either the in-game currency earned for completing matches or with real-world money and unlock new equipment and characters. As the game was reasonably generous with how quickly you earned in-game credits, there wasn't considered much need to actually spend real money buying them. There were also special weekly objectives that could be completed for additional lootboxes that contained special weapons that could only be gained in them.
    • The concept is given an In-Universe Deconstructive Parody in the Citadel DLC, where an off-duty N7 Fury is outraged at a moronic Alliance Procurement Specialist who randomly gives her a Graal VII shotgun which is completely contrary to her fighting styleExplanation  and then wonders if some krogan soldiers (who would love a shotgun like that) are enjoying the biotic amps he sent them (which the Fury would really want).
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda uses the same system as Mass Effect 3.
  • Path of Exile introduces a new Mystery Box to the shop every season, retiring it when the season ends. Like most other purchases in the game, their contents are purely cosmetic (pieces of one of the two new packs of equipment skins and skill effects) and are added to the shop when the box is retired.

    Sports 
  • All of EA Sports' games feature this in some way in their "Ultimate Team" mechanic, which involves packs of "cards" and "contracts", where the cards feature players, and the contracts are the amount of games that you can play with them before they disappear. Card packs can be earned manually, but can also be purchased in bulk.
  • Rocket League features crates that can drop car skins, car bodies, wheel skins, goal explosions, etc. Their claim to fame, however, was that during the Halloween and Christmas special seasons, they sold "Decryptors" that could only be purchased with in-game, non-buyable currency, and these decryptors would open any lootcrate (with the same odds as usual) and the inside object would be treated as a holiday item (non-tradeable to other players) but able to be traded in with other such items in exchange for a rarer one.
  • 2K Games have very much taken this approach for years with the use of loot boxes and microtransactions in their sports games. When they drew criticism for their games being purposely made to be pay to win and governments questioning their actions 2K responded by not only begging children to gamble on loot boxes and buy microtransactions but begging children to pressure the government and say yes they are all for 2K allowing underage gambling.

    Third Person Shooters 
  • Splatoon 2 has the exceedingly rare non-paid example in the form of the bonuses awarded in Salmon Run, which are obtained for every 100 points you earn during a shift. They're also color-coded based on what type of reward they contain: yellow capsules give coins, green gives ability chunks, blue and orange give tickets for Crusty Sean's food, and pink gives a random piece of Grizzco-brand clothing gear. Twice per shift, you can also unlock a "superbonus" capsule that is guaranteed to have the highest-tier reward of its specific color.
  • The Division has Apparel Caches which, as their name indicates, only have cosmetics. Players can earn Apparel Cache Key Fragments from killing bosses; collecting 10 of them forms 1 key. Alternatively, players can buy whole keys for real money.
  • The Division 2 also has Apparel Caches, although their mechanics have been adjusted in response to EU gambling laws. Players can now only obtain Keys through playing the game at regular Character Level intervals. When obtaining duplicate items from the sole garden variety lootbox in the game, instead of Key Fragments, players obtain Textiles which can be used to purchase other apparel that hasn't been obtained from the lootbox's pool of items yet. The only purchaseable Keys are only available during Apparel Events, whose exclusive lootboxes do not contain duplicates in an effort to not come off as gambling.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Pokémon Masters uses a gacha system to acquire more trainers from throughout the Pokémon franchise by paying using diamonds. However, you can either roll using unpaid diamonds (ones that you earn from gameplay, such as daily awards or mission prizes) or paid diamonds, with paid diamond rolls having a higher chance of rolling for higher-starred trainers and/or the banner's specific trainer.

    Wide Open Sandboxes 
  • Minecraft parodied these with the locked chests in Beta 1.6, as part of an April Fools Joke. Randomly spawning in new portions of the world, attempting to open them would result in a pop-up to open a "Steve Co. Supply Crate", and lead you to a page to "buy" content from the in-game store. Attempting to do so resulted in a Jump Scare from a dinosaur, followed by an "April fools!" message in comic sans. Eventually, the prank was over, and the Locked Chests were set to decay like leaves, but the item data presisted, Dummied Out for nearly 3 years before their ID was replaced with stained glass, effectively killing them for good.

    Other Games 
  • The Parody/Deconstruction Game I Can't Believe It's Not Gambling lampoons the overuse of loot boxes in its contemporary titles by discarding all gameplay mechanics except loot boxes (you cannot spend real money on them, however), as a statement on what games would be like if loot boxes were really what players wanted.
  • PokeFarm Q has the boxes, which will contain random items like berries, treasure that can be sold, evolution items, or even rare items like Mega Evolution stones or Legendary Pokemon summon items. The chances of what items you get are explicitly stated in a pop-up menu. You can find regular boxes while doing Scour missions, but you can also buy boxes that contain other boxes with Zophan Canisters. The Box Box contains 21 regular boxes, the Box Box Box contains 5 Box Boxes, and the Gragon's Stash contains 5 Box Box Boxes. For ease of trade, you can also pack 21 regular boxes into a Box Box. (But, oddly, you can't pack the Box Boxes into its further counterparts...)
    • Flat-out defied with "Grab Bag" threads — essentially, threads members of the community would own in the trade forums where they would be able to gamble in-game items, Pokemon, or other sorts of things. Eventually, after the staff saw complaints about possible scamming, and ran a poll, Grab Bag threads were effectively banned, and paying to enter a raffle was also banned so nobody could loophole by calling them anything else.
  • Stellaris has an in-universe example as of the Megacorp expansion. Caravaneers, nomadic fleet-bound merchants that wander through space, will sell you "Reliquaries" (bought after exchanging your energy credits for "CaravanCoinz") that can contain random technology or cultural artifacts, or even nothing at all... save for "an inexplicable sense of pride and accomplishment."
  • World of Warships has "containers," though mostly they are earned for free just by doing the daily grind and have pretty predictable rewards (you can even pick which type you get which each have a theme around what's in them). During events you can purchase certain specific premium containers but again, the rewards are usually predictable and there is a free version with less of the same reward available through light grinding. The only controversial ones are the "Santa crates" available during the holidays. These have a chance to drop a premium ship, not controversial in itself. Where the Broken Base starts is that this is any premium ship, even the overpowered ones that have been permanently removed from sale. Further controversy came with the discovery that each year's Santa crates have a secret list of "priority" ships that will always be given out first (unless the player already owns them). Naturally, the list consists mostly of less-popular ships, so that players seeking a rare premium will be enticed to buy even more loot boxes.
  • Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes has Data Cards. Bronzium cards are free every so many minutes. Chromium Packs can be bought along with Faction Packs, which center on various factions like Jedi or Ewoks, ship packs, mods packs, and packs that are made available when new characters are launched. Getting great drops is quite rare and packs will often just have the minimum possible amount of character shards or items.
  • Cookie Run has its gacha mechanic with pet eggs, cookie chests, and treasure incantations. All of these have equal odds, except for the "special" variants, where some are rigged in the favor of a selection of 8 cookies/pets or 3 treasures, plus 2 epic cookies/pets or 3 treasures that the player can choose to be rigged in their favor.
  • Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum Session has "Treasure Boxes" that you buy with DON Coins to obtain cosmetics. DON Coins are entirely earned in-game, however, and there are no microtransactions for them.
  • Parodied in Piczle Cross Adventure, in which one of the puzzle images reveals a green "Loot Crate." Player Character Score-chan complains that even her own games are resorting to them and opens it to reveal one coin of "in-game currency." No real-world money is actually spent to obtain it though; it's just a story event.
    Score-chan: A lootcrate?? You've got to be kidding me! Is no game safe? Ugh, ok, let's open this one and see what it contains...
    (She opens the box.)
    Score-chan: ...a coin. A single coin of in-game currency. Whoopee-doo...
  • Lego Star Wars Battles has scans, which contain a random number of random units, up to four units per scan (plus a random number of studs).

    Non-Gaming Examples 
  • Lampshaded in Our Little Adventure: Nondescript cubic boxes are tokens of Quizmalia, the Chaotic Neutral Goddess of Fate and Fortune, so they might contain valuable treasure, Booby Traps, improbably large fruit, or all three in reverse order.
  • Overlord (2012): The YGGDRASSIL MMO used gacha mechanics, with Ainz giving out some of the more useless ones to his allies. Unfortunately, what was a barely-useful item in the MMO becomes an ungodly Game-Breaker in the new world.
  • Lampshaded in the webcomic Chitra: When a normal 21st century high school girl dies in a terrible accident, the God of Beauty offers her a chance to be reborn as the priest-princess administrator of his territory in an RPG Mechanics 'Verse world. Whenever she completes the quests he sets out or attracts faithful followers to his domain, she's rewarded with coupons that allow her to draw from "The Gods' Exclusive Gacha System" of high-level equipment and handsome male supporters. The protagonist was an avid mobile gamer before her untimely death, and she recognizes exactly how the gacha system functions. This prompts her to save and stockpile her coupons until she can participate in special events when she'll be guaranteed higher-level gacha pulls.
  • Storage unit auctions. You pay for the unopened contents of an storage unit whose renter hasn't paid in a while. You might get worthless junk or you might get something worth millions.
  • Limited Run Games occasionally offers Blind Boxes with a random game and trading card to liquidate unsold stock. The games even have different odds attached.
  • Jason in FoxTrot once attempted to create a universal loot box by selling zeroes and ones for players to apply to their games.
  • Parodied in The Onion: "Video Game Blacksmith Struggling To Compete With Random Chests Full Of Free Armor All Over Kingdom"


What? Expecting a stinger? That's a rare drop from the Trope Co. Supply Crate; keep looking.

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