UPDATE 26/01/23: EA has insisted that Skate will not have paid loot boxes and will not be pay to win.
Following the leak reported below, EA has tweeted a "reminder of some of the things we shared in episode one of The Board Room last year".
That includes: not pay to win, no map areas locked behind paywall, no paid loot boxes, and no paid gameplay advantages.
That does leave room for loot boxes tied to the in-game currencies mentioned below, but these will not be paid.
ORIGINAL STORY 25/01/23: EA has reportedly added loot boxes to the latest playtest build of its highly-anticipated new Skate project, tying them to earnable in-game currency in a manner seemingly consistent with its previous promise of there being no paid loot boxes in the game.
EA made that particular pledge last July, when it announced its Skate revival would be a free-to-play live-service game. At the time, developer Full Circle attempted to assuage fan fears by insisting the game's monetisation would be "mostly about cosmetics and convenience", promising no pay to win mechanics or paid gameplay advantages, no paid gameplay elements or areas of the map, and no paid loot boxes.
Given those assurances, players were a little perturbed when, not long after Skate's free-to-play announcement, dataminers uncovered evidence of loot-box-like Swag Bags - purchasable with "Taps" and containing randomised apparel - in a version of Skate's playtest source code.
Any hopes Swag Bags might have been an abandoned legacy feature have seemingly now been dashed following reports of their introduction into Skate's latest build, as detailed by reliable leaker Tom Henderson.
Citing word from playtesters, Henderson says the game's current implementation of loot boxes is tied to an in-game currency, known as Stars, that can only be earned through play. Stars are accrued by completing challenges (harder challenges reward more Stars) and are used to both purchase and unlock loot boxes.
Once opened, each box is said to pay out one of five potential items that can be seen ahead of purchase - including skateboard stickers, clothing, and house furniture - with higher-value loot boxes containing more desirable items. It's reportedly possible to get duplicate items from loot boxes (which will result in a second in-game currency known as Hype), and questions remain around Skate's third currency, Taps, which isn't currently implemented in-game.
Henderson says the consensus among playtesters is that Taps - which will reportedly be used to unlock additional Stars, and be earnable through tricks, general play, and ranking to some degree - will "eventually be made purchasable with real-world money." That, obviously, starts to sound a little closer to paid loot boxes, albeit with a few intermediary steps.
Skate's monetisation is, of course, likely to evolve as playtesting continues, and with no release in sight, the current implementation of loot boxes could change dramatically ahead of its eventual launch. Those curious to follow Skate's progress can sign up to be a playtester now.