The current beta test for Marvel Snap is facing serious backlash over its loot box system. Earlier this year, former Hearthstone director Ben Brode announced Marvel Snap as his first major project after leaving Activision Blizzard and forming his own game development studio in 2018. Marvel Snap is a mobile-based online card game that has players collecting and trading heroes and villains from across the ever-popular Marvel Universe and engaging in fast-paced battles with their friends.
Last month, developer Second Dinner launched a closed beta for Marvel Snap in select regions like the Philippines, allowing players to sample the game’s mechanics ahead of Marvel Snap’s eventual full launch sometime later this year. As with most collectible card games, Marvel Snap requires players to build a deck of strong cards by spending either an in-game “credits” currency or real money to upgrade their existing characters and unlocking new rewards. While there are plenty of ways to get credits in Marvel Snap without handing over any real cash, the game’s unusual approach to microtransactions has given some of the users who have recently tried it out some pause – and a recent update may have made the issues worse.
Earlier this week, the official Marvel Snap Twitter account announced that the game’s ongoing closed beta program is now live in New Zealand, allowing mobile owners in that region to try the game out for themselves. This update also came with a new “Nexus Events” system that is meant to help make unlocking new cards easier, but Dexerto reports that it is making things even more complicated. An example is shown with an exclusive Jane Foster Mighty Thor card that was made available through a limited-type Nexus Event. This card had to be purchased through a randomized loot box system that charges players 180 Gold for a single box or 1,800 Gold for 10 – with the minimum amount of real money a player can spend for Gold being $4.99 for 300. The Mighty Thor card is quite rare, so Marvel Snap players could be spending upwards of $115 for the 50 attempts needed to trigger the game’s pity system that rewards one Super Rare drop, and even then it’s not guaranteed that they will be given the card they want. Certain content creators have pointed out that it would cost a player roughly $900 to obtain every card being offered in the current Nexus Event, a hefty price tag that could be off-putting for players who just want to level up fast in Marvel Snap and collect certain characters for their deck.
This is hardly the first time a Marvel-themed video game has come under fire for issues surrounding loot boxes and microtransactions, as 2020’s Marvel’s Avengers drew similar backlash due to claims that the superhero title fostered a pay-to-win system by selling consumable items – something that developer Crystal Dynamics promised that Marvel’s Avengers would not do. The developer finally removed these controversial mechanics from Marvel’s Avengers last November, but not before generating even more controversy toward the already-divisive game.
The purpose of closed beta tests like the one for Marvel Snap is to gain player feedback in a controlled environment and address issues ahead of a game’s full release. With that in mind, there’s a chance that Second Dinner could take these recent criticisms of the current loot system from those who’ve downloaded and played Marvel Snap into account before the comic book-based digital card game launches in full sometime next year. As it stands now, Marvel Snap seems to come with a price tag for certain heroes and villains that might prove a bit too steep for casual comic fans and card gamers.