- Of the 93% of children who play video games, up to 40% have opened loot boxes
- About 5% of players generate half of all box revenue
- Twelve of 13 studies on the topic have established “unambiguous” links to problem gambling behavior.
- Young men are the most likely to use loot boxes – a young age and lower education level correlates with increased use
The study also found that many games use a “psychological boost” that encourages those who buy loot boxes in an attempt to instill fear of missing out on items or limited time offers.
“Many players assign discrete financial values to the contents of the loot boxes – based on the purchase or resale price – suggesting that many loot boxes meet existing criteria for the regulation of the game,” wrote the authors.
As for the 5% of those who generate half of the total income for the boxes – sometimes referred to as whales – they can spend over £ 70 or $ 100 a month on those loot boxes. The problem is that these are not necessarily rich people, but those who may have gambling problems.“Our research therefore shows that game developers, unwittingly or not, seem to generate disproportionate profits out of the coffers of individuals at risk (these will likely include both people with gambling problems or problematic video game models). ) – but no wealthy players. », He concludes.
These “at-risk individuals” contribute disproportionately to loot box income and these practices are believed to fuel the dangers of gambling.
When it comes to possible solutions, the report recommends that loot boxes be included in game labeling and age ratings, that the odds of winning specific items be clearly stated, that spending limits be set, etc.For more on loot boxes, check out our look at how these microtransactions can lead to addiction that can destroy lives, The ESRB’s announcement on its new rating labels for loot boxes, and how Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony are working on a new Loot Chest Likelihood Policy.
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