'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare' Will Not Contain Loot Boxes

Call of Duty Modern Warfare - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Activision
The controversial gaming mechanic, which has been likened to gambling, has been banned by some countries and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced legislation to prohibit the practice in the U.S. earlier this year.

Activision and Infinity Ward's upcoming first-person shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will not contain loot boxes — a controversial mechanic which offers in-game items for real-world money, but doesn't explicitly tell players what they will receive — the studio said Thursday in a blog post

Instead, Modern Warfare will feature a purchasable Battle Pass (a purchasable subscription to in-game content). 

"All functional content that has an impact on game balance, such as base weapons and attachments, can be unlocked simply by playing the game," stated Activision. "The new Battle Pass system will allow players to see the content that they are earning or buying."

Modern Warfare's Battle Pass and in-game store will "feature a variety of cosmetic content that does not impact game balance," the studio promised. The Battle Pass will not be available at launch for the game, which is set to debut Oct. 25.

"It’s important to us that everyone who is playing Modern Warfare has the chance to work their way through the new game and unlock all the rewards that are waiting for you," the company said. "We expect to launch this system for Modern Warfare later this year."

Loot boxes have been a hot button topic in the gaming industry in recent years. Critics liken the mechanic to gambling, and the practice has been banned in such countries as Belgium. Meanwhile, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced legislation to ban “pay-to-win” and loot box monetization from games in May, labeling the business model an "exploitation of children." For game companies, however, loot boxes and similar so-called microstransactions are big drivers of revenue. 

Activision also reiterated that Modern Warfare will feature crossplay across all its various platforms (Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC) and additional multiplayer maps will be made available, for free, after the game launches.