Gambling / Loot Boxes

Spending real money to play a game of chance for a reward.

Some games contain forms of gambling. This is when you can spend real money to play a game of chance with the hope for a reward that is worth more than the money you put in. Gambling is a form of addiction, so this is a very powerful way to get people hooked on a game. In fact, it's so powerful that some governments around the world are putting laws in place to limit how much games can do this.

A Loot Box is a very common form of gambling that is found in modern games. Players purchase Loot Boxes using money or premium currency and when they open the box they get a random chance at getting an item. Valuable items are less likely to appear than regular items, and the number and quality of the items can be variable. Randomizing the rewards gives players an incentive to keep trying until they get the prize they want.

There are several psychological tricks that game developers can employ to make the gambling more powerful. The "Gambler's Fallacy" is a tendency for players to think that past events can affect the future probability of an event occurring. For example, if you have opened 10 Loot Boxes without success, you may mistakenly believe that the 11th Loot Box has a higher chance of breaking your dry spell and having something valuable inside of it. In reality, the odds are always the same and game developers may disguise this fact or suggest otherwise.

Another trick that is sometimes used is the "Hot-Hand Fallacy". This is the mistaken belief that a streak of luck will continue, when in fact the odds never change. The game may emphasize your successes and deemphasize your failures to make you feel like you are luckier than normal. This plays into a natural Optimism Bias that most people have.

Some people are also susceptible to Apophenia, which is tendency to see patterns or relationships between unrelated things. For example, suppose a game allows you to purchase multiple Loot Boxes at once. Someone may mistakenly notice that they get better rewards when they purchase Loot Boxes in multiples of three. Maybe this held true for a few times, but in reality the odds are always the same.


Examples

WWE SuperCard – Multiplayer Card Battle Game WWE SuperCard – Multiplayer Card Battle Game
"The shop is all loot boxes."

Legend of the phoenix Legend of the phoenix
"Regalia has a 2000 ingot box which gives random brocades. Wheel spins gives random items In limited time events, for instance New Years, you pick random boxes to find matching New Years posters that yield a random number of points."

Plants vs. Zombies™ Plants vs. Zombies™
"Sprouts, which give you a random plant for your zen garden."

Girls' Frontline Girls' Frontline
"It's a gacha game - everything from the characters to skins to furniture are random chance. Characters and equipment use contracts, while skins and furniture use "tokens". Both can be earned slowly for free, but can also be purchased in order to save lots of time. Obtaining a particular skin or full furniture set is nearly impossible to do without paying unless you are very lucky."

Tap Tap Fish - AbyssRium Tap Tap Fish - AbyssRium
"Lucky spinning wheel gives you a random reward, spend money to increase your chances of winning something good."

Off The Road - OTR Open World Driving Off The Road - OTR Open World Driving
"Can purchase card packs with money"

Head Ball 2 Head Ball 2
"Loot boxes in the name of "card packs""

Call of Duty®: Mobile Call of Duty®: Mobile
"Lots of loot boxes everywhere, and they only contain skins."

LEGO® Legacy: Heroes Unboxed LEGO® Legacy: Heroes Unboxed
"There are multiple purchasable "goody bags" promising a set amount of gear, tiles, and coins."

Hay Day Hay Day
"spend gems which require real money"