UBC Study Reveals That Loot Boxes Resemble Gambling

UBC Study Reveals That Loot Boxes Resemble Gambling
23 Jul 2019

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According to the recent study from the University of British Columbia, popular gaming features in video games look like gambling. Loot boxes actually represent random prizes which can be bought during the gameplay.

Loot boxes firstly appeared in the mid-2000s and were allowing players to obtain rewards or to purchase them with real money. Players are typically not informed about loot box content before they open it.

Study Details

The recent study is showing trends regarding loot boxes purchase. According to the results, about 60.3% of questioned people admitted that they spend money on loot boxes, with over half of them spending $17.50 and about 10% of people spending over $50.

In addition, researchers examined the relationship between gaming engagement with loot boxes and their connection with gambling thoughts. Gamblers are asked to assess themselves with following statements:

“I frequently play games longer than I intend to so I can earn loot boxes” or “I have bought more loot boxes after failing to receive valuable items.”

The questions were:
• Have you played a game with loot boxes?
• Have you opened a loot box within a video game?
• Have you spent time specifically to earn loot boxes?
• Have you bought a loot box or key to unlock one?
• Have you sold a loot box or loot box item?
• Have you profited from loot boxes?
• Approx. Age of first loot box use?
• Approx. Hours spent specifically to earn Loot boxes?

The most positive answers were given to the question number one with about 93.8% in the first study and 97.4% in the second.

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Results of two studies

Researches have conducted two separate studies. According to the first one, about 15.3% of gamblers reported that they spend over three hours on loot boxes while 5.56% people said that they spend over six hours on loot boxes. The second study shows that 15.5% gamblers use to spend three or more hours per week while about 6% surveyed spend six hours per week on loot boxes.

Further on, researchers analyzed the correlation between extreme involvement with loot boxes and problem gambling issues. Overall results display that 79.3% of gamblers feel that loot boxes resemble gambling while 86.2% of them consider that loot boxes are gambling form.

Gabriel Brooks from UBC Centre for gambling research observed:

“Our findings are consistent with voiced concerns that loot boxes overlap with gambling, and support the need for regulators to consider gambling-like mechanisms within video games”.

The study additionally showed that about 90% of surveyed gamblers opened loot boxes in video gaming while more than 50% of them spent some money on these features.

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Craig Silva

Craig is a husband, a father, team leader, travel and food writer, senior youth group coordinator, designer, brander, community builder, volunteer, and social media strategist. Craig likes to travel, go camping, go on road trips, watch movies, build stuff, operate the grill, and sing with his band. Craig is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada. In June 2017, PR firm Cision identified Craig as one of Canada’s top 10 most popular male bloggers in the parents and family space.

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