The Negative Impact Of Loot-Boxes: Could It Be Enough To Stop Developers Using Them?

The Negative Impact Of Loot-Boxes: Could It Be Enough To Stop Developers Using Them?

Loot boxes have had a vast amount of negative press in recent months as more and more young people are faced with this new way to play. With a current estimated market of £20 billion worldwide, this new way to play has certainly been capitalised on by mainstream developers. But with recent psychological study and increased regulation, could this be the end of there use within gaming? In this article, we will be looking at the negative impact of loot boxes and how they could be linked to gambling. 

What Are Loot Boxes? 

For those that are new to what loot boxes are, it is a virtual treasure chest with a number of in-game items. This can be purchased within a game store and can feature skins, upgrades and a number of other cool items that you can use to get ahead in a game. But with a number of gamers spending small fortunes on these in-game treasure chests, has the Loot Box culture gone too far? Or is this just a clever way for game developers to generate more money from their leading titles? 

What Change Have Loot Boxes Bought To Gaming?

Over the years, the business model within the gaming industry has morphed. Long gone are the days where gamers bought a game for a set price and had to pay no more. Now the business model has changed to encourage the gamer to spend as much money as possible. Though it is not a problem for many hardcore gamers, that have seen this before in a number of main console titles such as the many star trek games in the franchise and Fortnite. However, that can be affecting younger generations as the similarities between gambling and loot boxes become alarmingly similar.  These findings have therefore bought about alarming changes in gaming development as more and more manufacturers begin to take advantage of loot boxes in their games as well as creating a number of titles under a franchise to increase the number of sales from a specific game franchise. It, therefore, begs the question of just how similar the purchasing of loot boxes is to traditional gambling found in Star Trek The Next Generation slot titles and other online gambling platforms. As research continues, the similarities are being identified between these leading titles and online gambling. 

Loot Boxes And The Dopamine System 

One of the biggest issues surrounding loot boxes and the Younger generation of gamers is their addictive nature. This is because the dopamine system thrives on uncertainty. When you purchase a loot box or a pack, this releases dopamine, this feeling can then become addictive as you strive to get some of the best items from the loot boxes. If this is left unattended, this can lead to a vast amount of money being spent. This, therefore, aligns with the behavioural patterns of gambling. Therefore, there are many that are looking for tighter regulations on the use of loot boxes within gaming as well as increased education on the effects of loot boxes and their use within games that specifically target younger audiences.

Could Regulations Be A Sign Of What Is To Come? 

In recent months, the Royal Society for Public health has called for the video games industry to remove gambling elements from those that target youngers. This is after the results of a recent survey concluded that of the 1,100 young people that we asked 90% of them though that loot boxes were normal for their age group. That is a worrying statistic for those between the ages of 11-24 as this is a time where it is easy to be influenced by this game of chance. With this at the for the front of a number of future regulations, this is set to change the gaming industry in the future as gamers are calling for fewer micro-transactions and better gameplay overall. 

With this in mind, there are a number of reasons why popular game developers are reverting back to traditional gameplay and away from micro-transactions and loot boxes, but could this be enough to prevent their use entirely moving forward? 

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