Before I continue, I want to preface that I *love* gacha games. I play Arknights every day and I’ve bought a few crates in TF2 and Overwatch before. I think they can be incredibly fun and can be responsible entertainment, for adults, that is. Unfortunately a lot of these games are accessible to children and companies need to take responsibility for that.
Loot crates / mystery boxes / etc have a lot of names, but they aren’t really called by what they are, which is gambling. I don’t really have much experience with gambling addictions and child psychology, but I’m not the only one with this opinion, either. With headlines like “Number of child gamblers quadruples in just two years” it’s pretty alarming to see the problem they create for families across the world.
I am not talking about the free loot boxes, just to say. My problem lies with the ones that use real currency (translated to in-game currency) to unlock mystery items.
Any gamer you would talk to, would also agree that gaming is just better off without real currency surprise loot elements. In general, games that are very ‘pay to win’ create a large divide in the community of free2players and paywhales. I don’t have a problem with games that include such things, but I think they can be very dangerous in children who already have struggles coping to feel like they fit in IRL and now online, too.
Just because it is difficult to prevent kids from playing gambling games doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try. Parents are pretty knowledgeable about the ESRB and ratings, and if a game gets an AO / adult only rating, it’s essentially considered very hard to get sales. This is very clear if you look at the controversy around GTA V and the AO rating they fought very hard to avoid.
I personally feel like that legal pressure ALONE would force the hands of many game development studios to consider more ‘creative’ alternatives than tricking people out of their hard earned money in order to unlock virtual content they’ve technically already paid for and have downloaded in their game files.
Dear video game companies: please stop marketing loot systems with real currency to children. If in-game loot purchases need to be made by an adult in the child’s life, the game shouldn’t be aimed at a child to begin with. It’s predatory and it needs to stop.
I’d love to hear any supporting / disagreeing opinions below if you feel like it! Thanks for reading.