First off: Yes, yes, I know the irony of this coming from someone with a t5 goobis skin, but I had set aside money for 4 months so I could buy gems on the black friday sale to top off the odyssey and finish off what was left of my season ticket.
Anyways, on to my thought:
These chests are based on the "Pareto Principle"
They're designed to target the "vital few" who will drop hundreds of bucks with no hesitation to roll on a chest until they get what they want (Even if targeting those "vital few" means preventing the non-vital majority from paying them on the relatively rare occasion that the non-vital majority are actually willing to pay)
However, smite's item system does not allow for duplicate items
Meaning that, once someone has an item—say a skin, ward, or VP—then it will be skipped on every other chest.
This means that every single whale has a "total value" that can be milked out of them.
Whales can—and do—buy 55 chests significantly faster than HiRez can create new items to fill them.
A lot of whales have 50/55 of a chest before it even comes out, often 54/55
This means that HiRez needs a constant stream of new whales to milk, because old whales cease to be anywhere near as profitable once they've hit their "cap"
This chest system has been going on for, what, about a year and a half now?
I wonder if it will remain profitable in the next year
I can't imagine there's a high enough influx of new whales to replace the ones who've hit their cap.
I wonder if they'll eventually reach a point where there aren't enough items for whales to buy, or enough new whales to buy old items, and it becomes more profitable to target the masses than the whales