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

Minecraft Minecraft
"Promoted multiplayer servers have "loot boxes"."

Fallout Shelter Fallout Shelter
"You can buy lunchboxes, the games equivalent to lootboxes, for real life money to obtain various items of various rarity, including legendary rarity items"

My Talking Tom Friends My Talking Tom Friends
"if you get enough bus tokens, you can select a location and get loot bags and get 5 items, though you can get a paid membership to get 6"

Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel
"THIS IS A CARD GAMES, YOU OPEN PACKS. There is a crafting system but you still want to get a lot of your cards through packs."

Talking Tom Hero Dash Talking Tom Hero Dash
"there are 3 tiers of loot boxes, regular, super, and ultra. this is also paired with anchoring tricks. you can get one without paying, but ads will kill your brain cells 10% of the time, the other 90% was meant to be shown to kids and was evaluated, and keep in mind that you have to wait 2.5 hours for said loot box otherwise"

AFK Journey AFK Journey
"As this is a Gacha game you can spend money to get more “recruit’s” which gives you a random chance of getting a variety of hero’s."

Tower War - Tactical Conquest Tower War - Tactical Conquest
"The rewards from rolls seem to be pre-determined. I only received a Unique soldier after about 15-20 rolls, when the chance getting something Unique or rarer is said to be about 20%(precisely 21.875%). The other way to get good units is by paying large sums of money(even 60$ for Legendary)."

Invasion: Modern Empire Invasion: Modern Empire
"ghost roulette, captain substitution, advanced summons and plenty more"

Clash Royale Clash Royale
"Chest with a chance to give you what you want"

MONOPOLY GO! MONOPOLY GO!
"Sticker loot boxes, etc."