Loot boxes continue to be targeted by many governments. In some countries, considering measures against games that use these microtransaction mechanics with random rewards, and the United Kingdom has been trying for some time to have loot boxes considered gambling. A new study by researchers at the universities of Plymouth and Wolverhampton does not hesitate to link in a “robustly verified” way that these loot boxes are “structurally and psychologically similar to gambling”, and that they are present in many games accessible to minors.
Loot boxes consist of boxes, virtual envelopes, or the like that are earned through in-game actions and sometimes real money payments. Instead of acquiring a known product beforehand, it is a random object, weapon, or appearance, and depending on its value the odds are more or less slim. FIFA is one of the most controversial games in this regard due to its popularity among young people.
Now a report says that almost 5% of players are responsible for half of the revenue from ‘loot boxes, a mechanic present in many games accessible to young people.
The conclusions of the study are as follows:
- 93% of children who play video games and up to 40% of them opened loot boxes.
- 5 % of the players are responsible for half of the loot box revenues.
- 12 of the 13 studies on this topic have found “ambiguous” connections to problem gambling.
- Young males are the most likely to use loot boxes, and especially those with lower education.
The study points out that many players feel psychologically pushed to buy these loot boxes for fear of losing exclusive items for a limited time or special offers. There is a 5% that is key in this business, they are the so-called “whales”, who can spend $100 a month on loot boxes and are not necessarily affluent users.