The debate over whether or not loot boxes are a type of gambling just saw the scales tip in favor of gambling. Around the world, different countries have held different opinions on whether or not the video game additions should be considered gambling, but the scales have been fairly evenly balanced—until now. A recent study has determined that there is a “clear link” between gambling and loot boxes.
The study was conducted by researchers with the University of British Columbia (UBC). It found, according to the study’s authors, undeniable proof that gamers who regularly purchase loot boxes are more inclined to ignore gambling addiction and shrug it off as a non-issue.
In order to perform the study, the researchers solicited the help of 257 individuals, who were put into two groups. The first group contained 144 online gamers from the U.S. and the second, 113 undergraduate students.
All participants were given a questionnaire that included entries regarding loot boxes. The answers given by the participants were tallied and then compared against what is considered to be basic criteria used to determine problem gambling. In accordance with that comparison, the majority of those who had participated in the study believe that loot boxes are a form of gambling.
A majority of the participants acknowledged that they were gambling when use loot boxes. 49.3% of the gamer group and 60.3% of the undergraduate group added that they would spend cash for the same loot box activities.
While gambling proponents are going to lash onto these statistics like a Rottweiler to a T-bone, they will most likely leave out some of the other facts the study uncovered. For example, the undergraduate group was found to have a “lower risk percentage” for problem gambling and that the average amount spent each month on loot boxes was only $17.50. That’s only four visits to Starbucks.
The UBC researchers would like to see more studies conducted. This certainly isn’t a bad idea, given that there is virtually no evidence to scientifically support loot boxes as a form of gambling. Even if it were, there is no evidence to suggest that it could be addictive. Unless a link is conclusively found, loot boxes should be left alone.