Are the C-Store items not selling enough?
Is that what prompted the gambling Lockbox "scam"? It seems to be the only reasoning behind not blasting the C-Store full of the items they've been introducing recently in the game.
The Lobi Currency is questionable at best, the items would have been better served being purchasable for Dilithium or available via other means (DOFF/Story missions/STFs/Calendar ect), while at the same time being available on the C-Store.
I find it mind boggling why more items aren't introduced to the C-Store in general. Looking at the items from the Lobi merchant and other sources, this is a list of items which would "make sense" to be listed for sale on the store.
Some of the items are tied to ship purchases, such as consoles or devices, but given their lack of dependence on specific ship types, there's no reason they shouldn't be for sale independently.
If some of the items are deemed too powerful for one reason or another, than regardless of their availability they need to be addressed, and it is by no means a valid reason not to have them for sale on the C-Store.
Some of the items are from the Veteran reward program, or preorder bonuses, honestly who cares that they can be purchased for real money? The Veterans/Preorders got them for free, and they are by no means in any way or shape worth not having on the c-store, they also aren't in any way or shape super uniquely awesome either to warrant being a symbol of Veterancy.
Ferengi Rules of Acquisitions
13. Anything worth doing is worth doing for money.
57. Good customers are as rare as latinum -- treasure them.
89. Ask not what your profits can do for you, but what you can do for your profits.
121. Everything is for sale, even friendship
202. The justification for profit is profit.
242. More is good ... all is better.
Photonic MACO Bridge Officer Candidate
Liberated Borg Male Science Officer Candidate
Reman Male Science Bridge Officer Candidate
Android Male Engineering Bridge Officer Candidate
Breen Male Tactical Bridge Officer Candidate
Veteran Engineering Bridge Officer Candidate
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Peregrine Fighter Pet
Captainís Yacht Pet
Ferengi NaíFar Shuttle Pet
Holographic Drone Pet
Jackal Mastiff Puppy
Mugato Combat Companion
Type-10 Shuttlecraft pet
Class F Shuttlecraft pet
Dilithium Horta pet
Delta Class Shuttle pet
They push the lockboxes over the C-Store for one thing. Profit. The keys sell for like $1.25 each. So, if you sell 100 keys to a person, you just made an easy $125. And with quite a few people, they can't help themselves. It *is* gambling after all. So, if you sell a single item in the C-Store for $20, you're done. But if you make the odds really poor to win, people will buy TONS of keys to try and win that elusive prize. I read that one person bought 153 keys in an effort just to try and win a Galor ship. So, say you sell that Galor ship in the C-Store for 2000 CP. That's $20. But if you sell 153 keys, you just made $191.25 for the same item.
So, that is why the lockboxes will never go away...
A scam is a way of obtaining money through deception, so it's probably not a good idea to call the lockboxes one.
As for lockbox vs cstore, put something on c store and people can buy it there and then, with 100% certainty of getting the item. Now put something in lockboxes that is not 100% certain, people who want it will continue to throw money at it until they've attained it. The lockbox ships are, it seems, very desirable, hence the amount of money being spent on keys.
So simple put, they get a greater income for their investment.
If you notice, there is a general shift away from doing small items and packages and focusing on keys, ships, and packaged bundles. the concept is simple in itself:
Ships. They fetch the equivalent of a monthly sub. But it has to be an amazing ship, in both model and functionality, so everyone wants to buy it. which is why there is no Ent-C, and the Atrox carriers are everywhere.
Keys. It took one day for someone to make the artwork for that, and no 3D model. And it's reusable on future content whenever the devs find the time to make a new cool item (i.e. no schedule needed if things get busy). No exponential cost increases should occur here, and it's a revenue generator. This is where you will see small items going forward (that and Lobi store, which are connected)
Bundles. Chances are you didn't want all the items in the DS9 bundle, but you wanted something in there. So that one item you really wanted you paid $15 and you got some other crap you probably airlocked as well. Verses paying $5 for only the item you wanted, but that would cause a situation where if it didn't sell well Cryptic can't justify spending the resources on it.
If I understand your post correctly, most of the shuttle pets are in the C-Store. For the things in the Lobi store, I can't really comment... it seems strange that you can't buy Lobi for a set amount of C-Points, but as someone pointed out, Cryptic have to make a profit. They are a business.
As for the ships, apparently CBS have stated that they don't want these widely available as it would break canon. I know some will argue that canon is already broken and other will argue its not. The way I see it is:
I'm having fun. I've opened my lockboxes, so now I mostly ignore them and continue to play and have fun with friends.
I find the lockbox limits ships that really shouldn't belong to a particular faction. Jem'Hadar and Cardassian ship just don't fit that well into the game. The Ferengi ship only really fits for Ferengi. The rest of the Lockbox items are cheap enough and have a high enough drop rate that they are not a concern. Now if a Federation or KDF ship was only available through the lockbox, then it better be some special type of ship that does not fit into the game like the Enterprise-J or the Relativity or Cryptic would have a problem on its hands.
If each green lock boxs have a better item, like something usefull or a better reward, I think I can spend my money taking one. But to take only consumables or stupid items, is a great scam.
Getting a lobi cristal in each box helps, but not much because the price of the lobi store. The right is to make the price of each key more really cheap, like 25 or 10 c-points to incentive to use in the green boxes too... And the price of the bundle of 10 or 15 keys looks like 250 c-points. More cheap = more incentive to use in the green boxes. But to spend 100 c-points in each key is impossible to get this serious.