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.


ExoMiner - Idle Miner Adventure ExoMiner - Idle Miner Adventure
"There are multiple lootboxes that can be acquired by a rare currency acquired mostly by spending real-world money"

Bingo! Absolute Bingo Games Bingo! Absolute Bingo Games
"There is a slot machine game that you can access at any time, where you can spin to the point where you have nothing left. (I've never done that.)"

Tiny Tower Tiny Tower
"There is more and more of this, but it's couched in in-game currencies that you can only get by grinding or being on constantly or spending real money."

War and Order War and Order
"Certain locked behind chests. Game modes and mini games that replicate slot machines"

The Simpsons™: Tapped Out The Simpsons™: Tapped Out
""mystery boxes" are purchased with premium currency,"

Stick War: Legacy Stick War: Legacy
"While random chests can be earned by getting 20 stars (1-3 earned each level), they can also be bought."

Peridot Peridot
"Pay in-game currency that costs real world money in order to access additional genetic traits which are otherwise inaccessible when breeding your Peridots"

Warhammer 40,000: Tacticus Warhammer 40,000: Tacticus
"rng pulls"

IdleOn - Idle MMO IdleOn - Idle MMO

The Sims™ FreePlay The Sims™ FreePlay
"the 'life point lotus' is the only example of real world money gambling, but there are two other 'plants' you can buy to gamble on: 'social point flower' which costs life points (premium currency) and the 'simoleon sprout,' though it uses the common currency rather than either premium one."