Games News

University of Adelaide finds loot boxes to be predatory gambling

AltChar
A photoshop of the character Predator gambling
Predatory Gambling

It appears that the Dutch have only added more fuel to the anti-loot box fire as University of Adelaide's School of Psychology found loot boxes to constitute predatory gambling, as part of their current study on microtransactions.

This has not come out of the blue either, since Australian investigation into loot boxes is apparently still ongoing. Having said that, the University may actually make things worse for game makers, or should we say predatory dealers.

Senior research associate Dr. Daniel King has said that such "schemes may entice some players to spend more" than they planned. With the added convenience offered by credit cards, they often spend what they can't afford to begin with, since tracking their spending becomes a chore. 

As such, the University thinks that they're a "significant financial risk" to players who are vulnerable to such patterns of behaviour. Players are encouraged to keep buying loot boxes in order to get what they desire. Even if you don't give in immediately, you're bound to buy some sooner or later, what with various limited deals and other incentives.

Needless to say, even though I just have, that's how predatory gambling came to bear the name in the first place. Once you get rid of the shiny wrapping, you're stuck with 'preying on the weak', in spite of what our photoshop above may suggest. Let's just say we're not alien to the concept, wink.

The authorities around the globe have been fine tuning their stances towards loot boxes for a while now, even though the Netherlands and Belgium seem to lead the pack in terms of how seriously they've taken up this task. In fact, Valve have had to shut down trading in Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 - that's how serious the Dutch are.

AltCharA lute, a box and a loot box against a blue background Loot + Box = Loot box.

I'm not a proponent of government regulated gaming industry, quite the contrary, but I have even less love for loot boxes, because they seem like an unfair mechanism for making money. Sure, people will buy them, but it doesn't mean they're good for them.