There is quite some debate about loot boxes in computer games. In German this term if often not translated. This leads to considerable confusion amongst people who do not play video games where this term always has to be further explained.

I heard of Beutekiste but from what I know they really are more something along the line of a Wundertüte (but this term will not be accepted by my teenage boy).

Does anybody have a better idea?

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    In a thread on heise.de I read once the term "virtuelle Belohnung". But I'm not sure, if this is really better, especially if it has the correct meaning. – IQV May 16 at 8:18
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    Tempted to write sth like: wuchernd-wucherrische Glücksspielsuchtbeschleuniger, McGuffin- Kostenfalle, versteckte Preiserhöhungskisten, Cyberbetrug? But Beutekiste is actually fine, as long as you realise that your money is the Beute. – LangLangC May 16 at 10:29
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    "This leads to considerable confusion amongst people who do not play video games". I would think this is also true for English speaking people with the word loot box actually. It's not simply a box that has loot. It would require some more explanation for them also. – Ivo Beckers May 16 at 15:58
  • I only post this as a comment as I'm not a German speaker, but would the German for "cache" be appropriate: "Waffenlager"? Or is that too specific? – Xophmeister May 16 at 16:12
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    I agree with Ivo Beckers. You will have to explain the mechanic to non-gamers no matter what word you use. – Sebastian Redl May 16 at 19:09
up vote 22 down vote accepted

I would suggest

Schatzkiste

which is completely unspecific, in which respect the content is to be considered as Schatz, but already conveys the idea, that the Schatz is already contained in it.

Beutekiste lacks in that respect, it could (as e.g. Wäschekorb) just be an empty box to fill loot into as soon something is caught.

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    German gaming mags wrote Schätze before the term loot boxes came up. – Janka May 16 at 9:58
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    What about Schatztruhe? Given that loot boxes often already look like treasure chests, which is the closest translation in my book. – Chris G May 16 at 20:39
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    " it could (as e.g. Wäschekorb) just be an empty box to fill loot into as soon something is catched." Technically the term 'lootbox' could mean 'an empty box to put your loot in' in English if taken at face value. It gets its meaning of 'a box containing loot' because of its usage. – Pharap May 17 at 1:04
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    As a German, I would not understand "Schatzkiste" in the context of pay-to-win games. In a normal game, where you simply find these boxes and get some nice stuff (-> Borderlands comes to my mind), that would be fine. But in my experience, in the context of gambling-like pay-real-money-style loot boxes, "Loot Box" is the more commonly used term. – anderas May 17 at 7:01
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    For context we would perhaps say something like; In dem Spiel Ballerdichdoof muss man mehrere virtuelle Schatzkisten kaufen, um eine Siegchance zu haben. - this would make it very similar to using loot boxes in an English text where we may have to add such context too. – Takkat May 17 at 8:54

You probably have to explain it anyways, as this is something new so you have several options:

  • Just use "Lootbox" it´s essentially the same as using the word "Computer" made it into the German language for something that had do be explained at that time anyways. At least the young ones will understand you right away.

  • Find a suitable German term, explain what you mean by it as it will always have other meanings. Wundertüte or Schatzkiste both seem fine to me, although the concept of the Wundertüte I know from my youth seems fitting.

  • Use the same German word, but put a Digital- in front of it, so people will not confuse it with some physical good.

"Schatzkiste" translates to "treasure chest" which quite doesn't have the same connotation as "Lootbox" has. With "treasure chest" people do think of a buried chest which is there to find, but "Lootbox" carries the meaning that you had to buy or open it using real-world currency, exactly that process which was/is deemed touching (at least) laws and regulations concerning gambling in countries all over the world.

The term "Lootbox" already made its entry into German vernacular. You can use said word, and Germans even just passingly familiar to gaming would understand it and make the distinction, especially after the discussion around lootboxes (in German it is written capitalized, as nouns are), in Star Wars Battlefront made it front lines even there.

This Google Search underlines this, and shows that the 'established' plural form in German would be "Lootboxen".

When we play online games we simply refer to "Kiste" short for "Schatzkiste", which makes the previous answers correct.

In German this term if often not translated.

In Germany in many fields of technology and engineering (not only computing) you use English terms without translating them.

When you translate the term into German many people will not understand.

If you use the word "Lootbox" most persons (being familiar with online games) will know what you are talking about.

If you are using any kind of translation no one will understand what you are talking about.

Is there a German "Loot Box"?

When talking about newly created words or foreign words I often read the question: "Is this a valid German word at all?"

The answer I nearly always read was: "If a lot of German native speakers understand this word then it is a valid German word; otherwise it is not."

Because there is no word or expression for "Lootbox" which is understood by many native speakers I would say that there is no valid German word which means "loot box".

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