Study Finds Link Between Loot Boxes And Gambling

Xbox++++Some+forms+of+monetization+differ+from+the+loot+box+system.+One+way+is+through+%22editions%22+most+commonly+seen+in+free+to+play+games.+They+usually+are+sold+for+a+fraction+of+the+games+price%2C+in+addition+to+the+base+price%2C+and+offer+benefits+or+exclusive+content.+

Brandon Ramirez / El Paisano Media

Xbox Some forms of monetization differ from the loot box system. One way is through “editions” most commonly seen in free to play games. They usually are sold for a fraction of the games price, in addition to the base price, and offer benefits or exclusive content.

A recent study carried out by the universities of Plymouth and Wolverhampton found a direct link between loot boxes and gambling. The study found “ that relationships between loot box engagement and problem gambling have been robustly verified”. This comes after years of public outcry at the severity of loot box integration. Gaming communities took particular issue with the prevalence of loot boxes in games aimed towards wide audiences or children, and games that allowed for players to cash out with real money. 

Motivations for Purchase

The study looked at what motivates players to purchase loot boxes. It noted the lack of previous studies of this topic. The study found that the reasons behind purchasing loot boxes overlap, “motivations include both social interactions (such as gaining status and approval, or as part of a group experience) and game-related motivations (such as improving performance, aesthetics or gameplay experience).” The study noted that feelings like the fear of missing out could propagate purchasing loot boxes. This fear stems from social and financial pressures. 

Beyond social reasoning the study also found that players are encouraged by other well-known psychological techniques. These include giving away locked loot boxes for free and charging for keys, and obfuscation of cost via in-game currency. They also highlight that the value of loot box items can go beyond monetary value,” prized items in loot boxes can hold significant social or psychological capital.” The study notes that game developers have talked about using tactics like loot boxes as ways to increase a game’s monetization.

Console and PC games have begun to follow the trends introduced by mobile games. They also began to monetize the single player experience. As a result, some companies offering “time savers” to make it easier to attain in game items. Consequently, coming with complaints of artificial difficulty from players. The trend of hyper-monetization has been something many have been concerned about. Gamers, near universally, have applauded the UK’s efforts to crack down on the more detrimental and dangerous forms of monetization. 

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