Overwatch game director reiterates position on Summer Games loot items

In addition to a whole new Rocket League-inspired game mode, Overwatch's Summer Games season also signalled the arrival of a bunch of themed skins. Unlike the game's vanilla skins, these can't be acquired via credits: whether you get them or not is tied to the RNG loot box system.

That has angered some players, who want to make sure they can get the skins before the Summer Games season has finished. Inevitably, this has prompted calls for Blizzard to make them available in exchange for credits, but in another update addressing the issue, game director Jeff Kaplan has said that won't happen. The reason? They're rarities, ie, special items, and making them available for mere credits would make them less rare and special.

Noting that the Summer Games event, in addition to last month's Ana rollout, were freely available to all players, Kaplan said the studio wanted to do something different with the Summer Games skins. 

"The event has a ton of ABSOLUTELY FREE content available to all players for FREE," Kaplan wrote (emphasis his). "The idea is play the game and get free, cool, rare stuff for the next three weeks. Yes, you can buy loot boxes but you also earn them for free... just by playing. There is a ton of content here that literally no one knew existed until it went live."

He continued: "We wanted to try something new with this event. As we mentioned in the Developer Update, we're learning and experimenting with this event. And if the event is received well (my impression so far is that it is being received well once you remove the debate over the items not being available for credits), we will run it again next year. Our Summer Games are on a yearly schedule – not a four year schedule. Our plan would be to have the items available again when the event recurs. Perhaps we add new content to it as well? We're not sure yet... we're seeing what works and what doesn't."

The full post is up on the forums, but it basically just reiterates what Kaplan said in a developer video earlier this week. The thrust of it: designedly rare and special items will continue to be rare and special, but Blizzard is monitoring the progress of the event.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.