Research Links Loot Boxes To Gambling Problems

According to a new report from the universities of Plymouth and Wolverhampton, loot boxes “are structurally and psychologically akin to gambling”. The report also said the link between gambling problems and loot boxes is “robustly verified.”

The new research, which was compiled by the GambleAware charity, showed that 40% of children who played video games opened loot boxes. It also showed that 12 out of 13 studies on the topic have established “unambiguous” connections to problem gambling behavior.

“Many gamers do ascribe discrete financial values to loot box contents – based on purchase or resale price – suggesting that many loot boxes meet existing criteria for gambling regulation,” the study’s authors wrote. “Our research, therefore, demonstrates that games developers, unwittingly or not, appear to be generating outsized loot box profits from at-risk individuals (these are likely to include both people with gambling problems or problematic patterns of video gaming) – but not from wealthy gamers.”

A loot box is a “consumable virtual item” that players can redeem in-game for a variety of prizes. The prizes can include features like character customization, new game-changing armor, or new weapons.

(All information was provided by BBC)

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