Sony fans at Comic-Con this weekend might be in for a treat. Might. It turns out that the PlayStation company is bringing its own swag of sorts: a collection of mystery boxes containing "limited edition PlayStation-branded items."
If you've ever been to a convention, you've probably seen mystery boxes all over the place. These somewhat large cubes are often made up to be a Portal Companion Cube or Mario question mark box. They're not hard to find, the booths selling them are usually stacked tall with the product, adorned with signs that declare how you can have your own for $25-$30 dollars. What's in them? Usually about $30 worth of random t-shirts, coffee mugs, and random items based on "nerdy" franchises.
Sony's box appears to remove most of the mystery. According to the PlayStation Blog, the $60 box contains an average of $90 worth of PlayStation-branded items. The promise of value, and of actual PlayStation goods, makes them seem better than the typical box.
Opinions are often divided on the worth of mystery boxes. Some are content that the amount of items at least justifies the cost. Others see them as a cash grab that takes advantage of the mystery aspect, a way for vendors to get rid of those Rick and Morty bottle openers that never sold.
Leading up to Comic-Con, PlayStation fans wondered if Sony's boxes would go the route of leftover warehouse stock or deliver truly exclusive goods. Initial reports indicate that it's the former.
A post on the Comic-Con subreddit titled "PSA - DON’T buy the PlayStation Mystery Box" lists the writer's haul. They got:
-1 pair of socks
-1 sheet of controller decals
-DualShock controller STAND
No pictures are included, so we have to guess at the quality of these items, but the writer claims it isn't worth $90, let alone the $60 they paid for it.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, fans have responded to Sony's announcement of the boxes by likening them to microtransaction "loot boxes" in video games. Even though mystery boxes have been sold at conventions for years, and LootCrate is a thing, the fact that a video game company is selling them appears to be crossing the line in a way that gamers won't stand for.