Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has added loot boxes back into the game as part of the next major update in the form of Reserve Cases, where they have become the third form of microtransaction that is available for players to purchase.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is a game that costs almost $60 to purchase, yet there is also a "Black Ops Pass" that costs $50 and comes with its own seasonal DLC items, in what was intended to be a take on the Battle Pass used in Fortnite. It's also possible to skip the Tiers used in the Contraband Stream by paying real money. The player can also directly purchase DLC items from digital storefronts like PSN, as well as being able to purchase "Black Ops Points" using real money to spend on DLC items within the game, which is how you will be able to purchase the new loot boxes that are being added to Black Ops 4.
The next update for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will be starting a new season of content, which is aptly named Operation: Grand Heist. The additional content added in Operation: Grand Heist will include a new Specialist, new events, new items, new maps, and something called Reserve Cases, which is a fancy name for loot boxes (via MP1st). A Reserve Case costs 200 Black Ops 4 Points to buy, which themselves cost around $2 to purchase. The Reserve Cases can contain a selection of outfits and weapons for the different characters, but there is no kind of protection against duplicates, which means that you can end up snagging the same items repeatedly. The fact that such an expensive game has duplicates in its loot boxes has enraged the fans on the game's official Reddit page.
Activision Blizzard has been heavily criticized in the press recently, due to massive layoffs of over 800 employees, despite the fact that they reported record earnings for the year. Bungie has also split from Activision Blizzard and took the Destiny franchise with them, in an act that was supported by fans and pundits all across the world, while leaving Activision Blizzard facing legal action from investors. These debacles followed a rocky end to 2018 when the announcement for Diablo Immortal was hit with such negative feedback that it caused their stock value to plummet.
The Reserve Cases are not the first loot boxes to appear in the Call of Duty series, as Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 also had them in the form of Supply Drops. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 was released in 2015, but the gaming landscape has changed a great deal since then, especially in regards to the treatment of loot boxes, which are now being closely associated with gambling and are seen as a negative influence on the release of any game, as EA learned with the controversy surrounding loot boxes in Star Wars: Battlefront II.
The idea of selling loot crates in a $60 game that already has a $50 season pass and in-game purchases can only be seen as incredible greed on behalf of Activision Blizzard and they can only have their hands in the pockets of the player for so long before people start to respond with their wallets and refuse to purchase their games in the future.
All of the content for the Operation: Grand Heist update for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is available now for PlayStation 4 and will be coming to the PC & Xbox One version of the game next week.