Loot Boxes have been deemed “Psychologically Akin to Gambling,” by an Australian study.
Loot Boxes have been a bit of an ‘excepted evil’ for a while now within the gaming industry. The mainstay of the controversy arose around EA’s Battlefront 2, which led to the Belgian Gambling Commission deeming that Loot Boxes are, indeed, gambling.
Now, this revelation split the gaming community down the middle, with those agreeing, and those who thought it was frankly ridiculous. Well, Australia has chimed in now, with a study conducted from 7000 gamers. The results of the study were revealed in an Australian Senate public hearing by Dr. David Zendle, and Dr. Paul Cairns.
“Industry statements typically disassociate loot boxes from gambling,” The transcript report reads “They instead highlight similarities between loot boxes and harmless products like trading cards or Kinder Surprise eggs…
“By contrast, researchers argue that loot boxes share so many formal similarities with other forms of gambling that they meet the ‘psychological criteria’ to be considered gambling themselves. These researchers further suggest that buying loot boxes may therefore lead to problem gambling amongst gamers.”
The report goes on to mention that Loot Boxes share enough characteristics with gambling to “condition gamers to require the excitement associated with gambling, leading to problem gambling.”
Those gamers who were surveyed that suffered from gambling-related issues were found to be more likely to spend money on Loot Boxes. The study reads:
“Spending large amounts of money on loot boxes was associated with problematic levels of spending on other forms of gambling. This is what one would expect if loot boxes psychologically constituted a form of gambling. It is not what one would expect if loot boxes were, instead, psychologically comparable to baseball cards,”
I know I’ve certainly spent my fair share on Loot Boxes over the years, and while it’s never compelled me personally to spend more or branch out into gambling, I can see how those who are more vulnerable to such tendencies could easily be affected. One suggestion is for titles that contain Loot Boxes to be given the age rating required for gambling.
What do you think? Do you agree with the study? Let us know in the comments below.