Loot box gambling addiction risk versus responsible computing: a systematic review
Keywords:loot boxes, microtransactions, systematic review, video games, gambling
There are many ways to monetize video games: from the simple direct purchase to the system of “games as a service”. There are, however, forms of monetization that show strong indications of being detrimental to consumers, such as the so-called “loot boxes” that are offered during gameplay. No study so far has categorically proven whether or not loot boxes cause a dependency or lead to gambling addiction, therefore this study seeks to perform a systematic literature review to determine which studies and experiments were performed, in order to: 1) determine the harmful effects of loot box consumption; 2) compare the results found in these studies; 3) identify gaps in the methodology applied to suggest further research that might lead to stronger conclusions and 4) check if there are studies in the field of responsible computing of articles that aim to minimize the harmful effects of loot box in humans. These studies could be useful in, for example, supporting the drafting of regulatory legislation for the use of microtransactions in video games, and consumer protection and the need to research computational algorithms to try to reduce potential addictive effects generated by loot boxes, which is part of responsible computing. In this study, although this systematic review shows that these studies still do not prove that loot boxes lead to gambling addiction, they do show that there is a correlation between them and there is still a need for more studies in the field of computing area dedicated to the research of algorithms that seek to minimize the potentially harmful effects of loot box in humans.
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