Have you ever looked at a loot box and decided that such a morally dubious business practice that encourages small children to gamble would be great in real life?
If your answer to the above is yes, then you’ll be thrilled to learn of a website called MysteryBrand. The site launched late last year, and sells real life video game style loot boxes – complete with colour coded rarity levels.
Gee, thanks 2019.
The site promises users very real products, apparently ranging from small stuff like fidget spinners, to actual Lamborghini Centenarios. Not entirely sure how they’d pop one of those in the post though.
Motherboard first reported that YouTuber Jake Paul – the human equivalent of whooping cough – has been busy promoting MysteryBrand to his millions of subscribers.
So how does it all work? First you have to decide on a box, of course. At the time of writing there are a couple of Christmas themed boxes, as well as some that give you an indication as to what might be inside (“Suppa Yeezy”, “Hoodies and Jackets”, that kind of thing).
Before you open a box, you’re shown some of the possible items you might bag. In the “Apple Boy” box, for example, the 64GB iPhone X is a “legendary” item, while a Lightning to USB dongle is a blue “uncommon” item. Naturally, people seem to be ending up with stuff like calculators and phone cases instead of Macs and expensive watches.
Once you’ve opened a box, you can either ship what you’ve won to your house or “sell” it back to MysteryBrand. So, if you get an item that’s worth more than the box you’ve purchased you can then cash in and try to get something better from a more expensive box.
There’s a word for that is, and it rhymes with rambling. The fact is, unlike actual gambling, there are no age restrictions on participating with MysteryBrand. That makes this all the more insidious.
All you need to do is take one look at the website to see that it’s seriously shady. Not only is it horrendously designed and badly written, but it also accepts payments from G2A Pay, a Steam key marketplace with its own nefarious reputation.
Still, the fact no one involved bothered to proof read the site should work out pretty well, given that “the web site under no circumstances does not return the money spent on a mystery box.”
You’ve gotta watch out for those double negatives guys, because you’ve accidentally guaranteed refunds to everyone there.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.