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    Are loot boxes a new big gaming problem

    Loot boxes aren’t required to play the games during which they seem, but their contents could be quite appealing to a teenager. Obtaining a ‘legendary skin’ from a Fortnite loot box may be considered a major prestige signal. In FIFA, loot boxes may be used to unlock exceptional footballers. But this is a lottery, and very few games show how frequently the more valuable goods are won.

    Many games employ psychological strategies adopted from the gambling industry in order to ‘nudge’ players to continue spending money. Our research discovered that younger children were particularly susceptible.

    There are many studies that explain what loot boxes are and how they relate to the problem of gambling.

    What studies have shown?

    While scholarly study on the links between gaming and gambling has not shown that loot boxes (a relatively new idea) create addiction, academics are concerned enough to advise care. A brief internet search uncovers horrible stories of individuals being addicted to loot boxes and spending hundreds of pounds attempting – and failing – to obtain the stuff they want.

    According to a new study published in International Gambling Studies, individuals with gambling disorders and compulsive gamers spend more money on loot boxes than their peers.

    Loot boxes are virtual treasure chests—a randomly generated video game feature obtained by players

    to customize characters or weaponry. These components may affect game progress or are just intended to convey status. In 2021, loot box income will exceed online casino revenue of US$3.2 billion.

    The study, titled Meta-analysis of the relationship between problem gambling, excessive gaming, and loot box spending, looked into whether virtual items obtained in video games via loot boxes are purchased disproportionately by those that have a drug gambling and excessive gaming symptoms.

    With the growing popularity of gaming, it is believed that research into new mechanisms of monetization that do not presently meet, or have not yet been categorized as meeting, current lawful definitions of restricted activities (such as gambling) is crucial to ensuring best practice, appropriate access.

    It is estimated that around 5% of gamers (over 230 million users) will purchase loot boxes by 2025. The bulk of these speculative payments is made by mobile gamers, which is not unexpected given that most “free-to-play” games are commercialized. Battle passes and DLC for consoles, on the other hand, promise attractive marketplaces, according to the research.

    Current investigations look at these links (problem gambling and excessive gambling) individually, there is the possibility of a combination of additive risk that has not been detected.

     

    While these relationships have been validated, the direction of causality has not.

    Further investigations find statistically significant and clinically essential associations, which should be helpful to other researchers, consumers, parents, and lawmakers.

    “Many nations have enacted or are working on potential loot box laws to limit the disadvantage that persons at high risk may face. My study seeks to assist consumers and decision-makers in weighing empirical data and making informed decisions.”

    Gambling addiction

    As stated, new technology might create new chances for gambling and, as a result, the emergence of problem gambling. Because of the parallels between loot boxes and gambling, there is fear that loot boxes may operate as a “gateway” to other gambling behaviors, resulting in compulsive gambling among gamers.

    Problem gambling is defined as a disordered and excessive engagement in gambling activities that is so severe that the gambler suffers significant negative repercussions in their personal, familial, financial, and professional lives. Problem gamblers, for example, may wager more than they can afford to lose; lie to family members to conceal their gambling; feel helpless to stop gambling, and borrow money to continue gambling. Problem gambling is connected to significant negative social and health-related effects and more evident financial implications such as credit card debt, bank loans, illicit debts with bookies, and bankruptcy.

    There are a lot of Arguments for a relationship between loot box expenditure and problem gambling . Problem gambling is regarded to be the result of gaming’s initial availability. If loot boxes are sufficiently close to gambling that they may be considered “psychologically comparable,” then it is possible that the presence of loot boxes leads to later problem gambling: Individuals spend money on loot boxes, which leads to classical and operant conditioning processes. This eventually leads to biased cognitive schemas and the emergence of problem gambling.

    However, it is crucial to emphasize that any linkages found in the literature between problem gambling and loot box spending may indicate a completely different causal relationship. Because loot boxes and gambling are similar, disordered and excessive spending on gambling activities among problem gamblers may transfer to disordered and excessive spending on loot boxes. Thus, loot box spending may be associated with problem gambling, not because loot boxes create problem gambling, but because problem gamblers spend more money on loot boxes. However, this probable causative association raises further regulatory concerns about whether video games should encourage and capitalize on problem gamblers’ self-destructive behavior.

    This year alone, loot boxes might generate up to $30 billion. The societal cost of this profit is unknown, and further research is needed to identify the precise nature of the linkages between loot box expenditures and problem gambling. The findings in this study demonstrate that, regardless of the features of loot boxes, if players spend money for them, they are associated with problem gambling somehow. It is unclear if this correlation indicates a circumstance in which loot boxes physically generate problem gambling or a condition in which problem gamblers spend much more money on loot boxes.

     

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