How Video Game Designers Use Gambling Elements to Keep Players Engaged
The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, December 7, 2023

How Video Game Designers Use Gambling Elements to Keep Players Engaged
Discover how video game designers employ gambling elements strategically.

You might be ready to claim a bonus or want to enjoy some time playing. Regardless of the case, it’s time for you to learn what’s behind the gaming industry to keep you engaged. In this article, you’ll know everything you need to make sure you’re safe.

Stimulated Video Games
Many video games are fun and harmless. However, studies have shown a link between playing and gambling.

Young players can progress from gaming to gambling even if they don’t plan to. Although you may be able to keep your finances in check and make sure you’re not spending more than you should, teenagers and children don’t have the same capacity when it comes to controlling their impulses. Therefore, it could become a problem.

Studies conducted worldwide have proven that many young gamers eventually become irresponsible gamblers. In many cases, it’s because games have gambling elements that keep them engaged. Here are some examples:

Social Casino Games
These are some of the most famous ones. You can have a casino-like experience, but instead of paying money, you use in-game currency to play.

In most cases, you’re able to get points or special features when you play social casino games. However, on some occasions, you may have to pay to unlock certain options.

Virtual Goods
Many games have gained fame because once you’re able to get specific virtual goods (for example, skins or objects), you can trade them for real money.

Even though you don’t do this when gambling, the mechanics behind it make the two very similar. You’re getting real money for playing, and if you keep spending time on the game, you’ll get more.

Loot Boxes
These are boxes you can buy or win while playing. What’s inside them is very much like gambling because it’s chance-based.

Sometimes, you may have to pay real currency to get loot boxes. If you’re not careful, you might end up spending a lot more money than you intended.

The Spending Problem
Gaming companies have incorporated many gambling techniques to keep their players engaged. However, they also rely on behavioral psychology to make a profit.

Developers use behavioral psychology strategies to stimulate gamers into buying things. Therefore, players could be at risk.

Even though some people believe that risks could diminish if they don’t spend much time playing, that’s not the case. On the contrary, there is no relationship between how long you’re gaming and the amount of money you spend.

Oftentimes, it’s more about how vulnerable you are to certain stimuli. You need to make sure you’re protecting yourself and your children from accidentally spending more than you meant to.

In most cases, you’ll notice that gamblers and gamers don’t meet all the criteria for addiction. However, this doesn’t mean you’re not engaging in problematic behaviors.

If you’re spending too much time playing or have spent significant amounts of money on different games, you might be at risk.

While you’re gaming, you’ll often see prompts that encourage you to spend a little money. They’re called ‘micro-transactions,’ and they might allow you to access certain features you would otherwise not enjoy.

If you’re gaming for a few hours, micro-transactions can add up, and you might end up with an expensive credit card bill.

Children and teenagers are even more vulnerable because they often can’t control their impulses. There’s a famous interview of Jack Black saying that his son spent $3000 accidentally while playing, for example. He said that companies took advantage of young minds to make a profit.

People with a history of problematic gambling can also be at risk if they’re gaming because they’ll get frequent stimuli that prompt them to spend a little money.

Generally, you should learn to protect yourself and your loved ones while playing. You can enjoy a few gaming sessions without putting your assets at risk.

You Don’t Need to Spend Hours Playing to Be a Spender
Unfortunately, as the article mentioned, you don’t need to be fully ‘addicted’ to gaming to be a spender. You can just play for a few hours and engage in problematic behaviors, ending up with numerous bills to pay.

Persuasive game designs target specific players. They’re aimed at those who are most vulnerable, in other words, teenagers, children, and problematic gamblers.

Moreover, free-to-play games often have many of these tactics because developers need to make a profit.

According to research, you’ll often get ads or prompts while playing, which make you believe that if you don’t spend money, you won’t be able to advance in the game. It’s often a lie. In many cases, games are not transparent regarding effectiveness.

Sometimes Things Can Accidentally Go Out of Hand
The gaming industry has taken some aspects out of gambling to improve user experience and keep players interested.

However, developers also rely on psychological tactics to target vulnerable people, who might be at risk of developing problematic spending behaviors.

Without meaning to, things can get out of hand. Therefore, you should always protect yourself, your assets, and your loved ones.

How to Protect Vulnerable Players
You might be at risk or know someone else who is. Regardless of the case, you deserve to be safe.

Following specific tips could allow you to stay safe while you’re playing. Firstly, you need to know the kind of prompts you’ll see to get you to spend money. Oftentimes, you’ll notice popup windows saying that it’s your ‘last chance’ to get a loot box, your ‘one-of-a-kind opportunity’ to advance in the game, etc.

Don’t let your mind trick you - you probably don’t need any of that to improve. You can have just as much fun without spending a dime.

At the same time, remember that playing less does not decrease your vulnerability. Therefore, the key is to be aware of the tactics that games will use to get you to spend money.

Lastly, try to have fun! After all, both gaming and gambling are about entertainment. You can enjoy a fantastic experience if you’re careful.

Final Thoughts
The gaming industry relies on gambling techniques to keep players interested. Even though that’s an advantage because it helps make the experience more entertaining, it could also put you at risk of overspending. Therefore, make sure you’re keeping yourself and your assets safe.

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