Nintendo has added randomised loot box-style gacha payments to Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. It's a massive change for the free-to-play smartphone spin-off, which up until now has only asked for money for a handful of specific items or to speed up normal gameplay.
The addition of Fortune Cookies, which contain random items from specific, exclusive and time-limited sets, changes this forever.
You can only get premium Fortune Cookie items from their corresponding type of premium Fortune Cookie. Items include cool new furniture, clothing, and larger props which unlock special story scenes with your animal friends.
Worse, you can also get duplicate items instead of one you already have.
There are less interesting, non-premium Fortune Cookies, but these contain a separate pool of randomised items.
Hilariously, Nintendo has also used this oppurtunity to add a new, even bigger microtransaction to the game. It outweighs the Tom Nook in a Bathtub of Money bundle (£38.99) and weighs in at £75 for 2500 Leaf Tickets, which amounts to 50 Fortune Cookies.
Each premium Fortune Cookie costs 50 Leaf Tickets. There are three flavours available in the game today, each with their own range of themed items. The current range will be available for two months, then disappear.
You can't buy Leaf Tickets in the required 50 Ticket lumps (only in 45 or 100) - so for 100 Leaf Tickets, or two Fortune Cookies, you'll need to cough up £3.99.
After purchasing a premium Fortune Cookie you'll get a stamp on a card. After 10 stamps you can fill the card and trade it in for a specific item. It sounds like a lifeline, but many items require you trade in multiple stamp cards. To purchase the rarest items you'll need to trade in 10 complete cards.
10 Fortune Cookies, or 10 stamps, costs about £20. So to fill 10 stamp cards you're looking at £200's worth of purchases, if you really want (or haven't yet gotten) the specific rare item you require.
Since launch, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has slowly added new things to spend its premium currency on - most recently, overrpriced themed backgrounds for your campsite, and then premium items in the recent Mario furniture range. But you've always been able to purchase these optional extras direct, without any kind of random chance being involved.
I've been playing Pocket Camp daily since launch because, despite its constant nudging to pay money, you can take everything at your own pace. The three premium visitor NPCs (Nook, KK and Celeste) can be bought with the free tickets you acquire from levelling up, and the recent backgrounds are an ignorable optional extra. But this update crosses a line, and fans are not happy.
"Honestly, this is such a bummer," one fan wrote on the Animal Crossing Pocket Camp subreddit. "I did not expect Fortune Cookies to be straight up lootboxes."
"I'm quitting," another fan added. "I knew that as they scaled up on Leaf Ticket furniture (Celeste, multiple Mario items) the day would soon come that I would need to start ponying up cash. Reload a few bucks here and there when needed, but I was playing efficiently, never wasted Leaf Tickets. The gacha cookies are ridiculous. Would they use a fair policy of "One of each item guaranteed, and random after that"? No, this update is solely for whales and screw everyone else."