Loot boxes affect the brain like gambling

Loot boxes affect the brain like gambling


More and more these days, video games are
coming with an extra game of chance built
in.
Whether it looks like a crate, a suitcase
or a deck of cards on your screen, the principle
is the same: You can pay real-world money
to collect in-game items through loot boxes.
These boxes reward cosmetics, in-game currencies
or, in some cases that gamers famously find
distasteful, power-ups that give you an advantage
over other players.
It’s all random.
You can “lose” by receiving duplicate or low-quality
items.
And in some cases, you can even cash out whatever
you win for real money again.
That sounds a lot like gambling.
And new research from psychologists in New
Zealand suggests it’s psychologically indistinguishable:
Loot boxes have the same effect on the brain
as a slot machine.
Almost half of the loot box systems studied
fit “all the structural and psychological
criteria” for gambling: People tend to keep
playing because the next payout could be the
big one.
This behavior becomes persistent quickly,
and adolescent gamers are at even more risk
because they don’t have the same impulse control
as mature adults.
These loot boxes are showing up in more games
than ever, too.
Researchers counted more games with some kind
of random reward system released in the last
two years than there were in the decade before.
Some states are now proposing regulations.
At least one senator thinks the Federal Trade
Commission should get involved.
Some European officials have called for a
common set of EU-wide rules.
Game makers publishing in China have to disclose
their loot box reward odds.
Unless the U.S. market gets new laws itself,
the New Zealand researchers recommend more
warning labels or age restrictions for games
that include loot box mechanics.
Because loot boxes probably aren’t going anywhere
— they bring in a lot of extra money for
game developers.
The gaming industry is projected to grow by
about $43 billion in the next few years, and
loot boxes are expected to play a big part
in that increase.

3 thoughts on “Loot boxes affect the brain like gambling”

  1. roblox has a game with gambling, but it isn't called as gambling. Case Collectors is an example. Phantom forces, also has cases where you get special melee weapons by chance or gun skins

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