Gacha chests in free games have come under criticism in recent years, particularly for enticing kids with gambling strategies. It is said that it causes real waves of gambling addiction and is responsible for losing a lot of money. Can you really compare the mechanics of a game of this kind to the danger of gambling addiction from casinos and the like? What are the ways to protect players?
Attempts have been made in several places to separate the definition of gambling from other activities. The comparison between casino games and stock trading is well known. When we trade the stock market, we are betting on the outcome of an unspecified event. Putting money or similar values at risk in order to get back a higher value with the correct outcome of the operation with an uncertain outcome is exactly the description of gambling.
Many traders feel attacked by comparison. In their eyes, they are not acting out of luck, but rather they learn to read price movements and, thanks to a lot of research and analysis, make good decisions about their investments.
But even with a lot of knowledge in the background, as we can see from the current crypto and NFT movements, the results in the market are not always 100% predictable. But traders are not entirely wrong. In fact, the experience and tools one has learned are critical to the probability of failure or winning.
The same applies to games like poker and blackjack. Here too, players benefit if they develop and learn knowledge and strategies and thus can improve their chances of winning. Of course, results are rare here, too. So the comparison between what counts as gambling and what isn’t is somewhat vague from the start and often in the eye of the beholder.
Is there gambling in video games?
Online gaming and gambling are state controlled and regulated in many countries, including Germany. We attach special importance to protecting children and young people from uncontrolled access to games of chance. However, there are always cases when game mechanics with an addictive, gambling-like factor get into the hands of children without any problems.
This is especially true for games that are free but have a loot system or a gacha chest that you can spend money on if you want. Since we spend money to get a randomly selected item, you can also use the gambling comparison here. Whoever gets the item they want suffers from increased dopamine and this can lead to addiction.
The principle of gacha comes from the analog world. It is based on the famous slot machines in Japan, which are equipped with reels full of collectible shapes. If you want to own all the consecutive numbers, you should hope to get one in the next step that you haven’t drawn yet.
Game developer Konami saw this as a profit model that they could also offer in video games. The first example of this kind is the mobile game Dragon Collection from 2010. This RPG dungeon crawler contains card games elements and the lottery offers particularly powerful playing cards.
Das Problem, was am Ende 2002 auch dazu geführt hat diese Art des Gacha in Spielen zu verbieten: Um eine gute Karte zu erhalten, musste man bei diesen Lotterien nicht die Karte selbst ziehen, sondern genau die richtigen Zutaten sp, äteren selbie s ability. This reduces the likelihood of getting it and increases the money you have to spend on lottery tickets.
In order for game providers to continue to make money using this method, they have made various changes to the principle. This includes information about the content that can be extracted and how high the odds are in each case. In addition, there are more and more loot chests that contain purely decorative items and do not contribute to success in the game.
The legal status of gambling in video games
Many governments are looking into the impact of gacha mechanics in games, particularly with a focus on protecting children and young people. However, since the method is not considered gambling in case law, since the items that can be won have no intrinsic monetary value, there are still problems.
Most gaming authorities have announced that they intend to regulate loot boxes and are working to do so. However, by far the most popular solution is to raise the ratings of games using gacha mechanics and mark them as a cost trap.
Gacha’s mechanics make it necessary to spend money to get an item. Since the results are random, you may have to spend money several times to get the item of your choice. Processes of this kind can affect the release of dopamine in the brain and lead to addiction. This can lead to uncontrolled spending of money, especially with children.
Malicious attempts to make money using gacha mechanics have already been banned. For others, governments of various countries are still working to limit their use. Children’s access to games containing gambling elements should be restricted by giving them a higher age rating.