According to research, loot boxes, video game features utilized by over 40% of total youngsters, show strong ties to problem gambling and should be regulated as gambling products. Many online games make use of loot boxes. They have been criticized for adopting predatory tactics to entice gamers to spend money while playing. Loot boxes and compulsive gambling have been linked by several studies. According to other studies, more than three-quarters of youngsters believe that online games aim to get you to spend the most money possible, and over half feel that online games are only entertaining when you spend money.
Researchers examined research on the behavior of gamers who spend money on loot boxes, which enable users to spend money on random in-game items that can boost players’ progress or improve the look of characters without knowing what they would receive. They were physically and mentally similar to gambling, according to the survey, and are employed by roughly half of all youngsters who play video games. According to the research, around 5% of loot box consumers make half of the £700 million that video game businesses earn from them each year, with approximately one-third of that group being problem gamblers.
Despite increasing worry about its qualities and increased popularity, loot boxes are still unregulated in the United Kingdom, while countries like Belgium have classified them as gambling items. Below, we are going to explain what loot boxes are, their mechanisms and links to problem gambling.
Loot Boxes Definition
Loot boxes are virtual prize chests that include unidentified objects that can be utilized in video games. They may be acquired throughout gameplay or bought with in-game stuff, digital currencies, or simply with actual cash. They frequently appear as boxes, crates, or card packs. These could be methods of personalizing characters or equipment (so called “skins”). As we mentioned before, these components may have an effect on game progress or are just intended to show rank. A player acquires a “box” inside the game holding a more or less valuable item, a unique skill, or a “skin” modifying the avatar’s virtual look or the color palette of weaponry, in return for a set amount of money. The content of the box is unknown at the time of purchase, but is decided afterwards randomly using a computer algorithm, when the box is opened.
Connections to Gambling Problems
Loot boxes are really not required to play the games they feature in, but their content might be quite enticing to a youngster. Obtaining a legendary skin from a loot box may be an important status symbol, or loot boxes might unlock exceptional items or weapons. However this is a gamble, and few games show how frequently the more valuable goods are acquired. Many games employ gambling-industry psychological methods to encourage users to start spending money. Research discovered that young kids were particularly susceptible. While studies on the connections between gaming and gambling have not shown that loot boxes, which are a relatively new idea, induce addiction, academics are concerned enough to advise care. A web search shows terrible stories of people being addicted to loot boxes and spending hundreds of pounds attempting and failing to obtain the stuff they want.
What about law?
Despite its similarities to a lottery, loot boxes are not considered gambling in the United Kingdom. Up to this point, the UK Gambling Commission has agreed industry claims that loot boxes are not gambling since the objects within are only utilized in the game.
Although Germany was the very first country in the world to include the Rights of Children in the Digital Environment in its legislation, it was not the first to prohibit loot boxes. Some nations, like Belgium, the Netherlands, and China, have chosen a different stance from the United Kingdom and pushed to categorize or ban loot boxes as gambling. Loot boxes were outlawed in Belgium in 2018 after the Belgian Gaming Commission determined that they are classified as games of chance and so subjected to Belgian gaming law. In 2018, the Netherlands similarly outlawed several types of loot boxes.
Critics argue that more must be done, and fast, because there is a strong correlation between loot boxes and compulsive gambling, particularly among young players.
Gamers’ attitudes about loot boxes appear to be influenced by the platform they utilize. Mobile players generally grasp the free-to-play concept and accept loot boxes as a vital money generator for developers. Feelings appear to be impacted by whether gamers play frequently or infrequently. Gamers across platforms agree that loot boxes should be restricted to players above the age of 18. Overall, players appear to prefer treasure boxes as long as they don’t need to spend money on them.
What Could Parents Do to Help?
Parents need to be aware that their children are frequently under pressure to spend money on loot boxes. If your child has been introduced to loot boxes, discuss why they believe they are being expected to spend money without knowing what they will receive in exchange. Purchasing a loot box occasionally will not lead to compulsive gambling. The issue arises when the tendency goes out of hand. Make an effort to be engaged and informed of your child’s expenditures. Ensure that your credit card information is not kept on any gaming system. A child may be persuaded to buy a new skin for their avatar or a new weapon camouflage, or just click the incorrect button and make an unintentional transaction. Be careful about having payment options attached to their account