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Loot Boxes: What You Need to Know

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Loot Boxes

Loot Boxes In Gaming:

What You Need to Know.

Big Announcement: Here is the first blog written by our technical writing intern Richele Greenhill. She is joining us from Augusta University, in Augusta, Georgia. Welcome aboard Richele!

John Winstanley CEO FortSafety

86% of parents believed playing games aimed at people aged 18 or over would have no influence on their children but 62% of parents ended up trying to take games back from their kids after they noticed a problem.

NHS

Parents, do you know what is in the games you buy your children?

Loot boxes are not only in games for individuals aged 18 and over but in games considered suitable for everyone. But before we discuss this, we must first ask. . .

What are Loot Boxes?

Loot boxes are randomized in-game rewards of increasing rarity with the best rewards having a less than one percent chance of dropping. Top rewards can ease difficulty as well as provide an advantage over other players. While loot boxes can be purchased using in-game currency, they can also be purchased using real world money. Additionally, in-game rewards can be exchanged for real world money using external websites.

Example of Loot Boxes Opening:

Progression System: a system used for tracking progress over multiple sessions in order to move the game forward.

Games that include loot boxes have features that are designed to induce addiction by manipulating the behaviors and thoughts of your child.

Manipulation Techniques

Games with loot boxes have a compromised progression system. A progression system is a system used for tracking progress over multiple sessions in order to move the game forward. The progression system may be slowed down, have a point in the game where it is impossible to progress, or there is an abrupt increase in difficultly. This is meant to frustrate your children into spending money on loot boxes to ease the difficulty. 

These games may use pop-ups to feature in-game offers. This tactic capitalizes on the fear of missing out incentivizing your children to spend money. 

Another tactic these games use is sharing other gamers’ rewards. If a gamer in a game opens a loot box and receives one of the higher tier rewards, this information is broadcasted to other gamers in the game. This leads the other gamers to purchase additional loot boxes. This creates peer pressure incentivizing your children to spend money on loot boxes.

These games come with real life consequences. These games have the potential to create gambling addictions in children. This is supported by research conducted by the NHS and an article published by Royal Society Open Science. These games can lead to financial ruin. There are multiple new stories published describing children who have empty their parents’ bank account on loot boxes in videogames along with personal testimonies from individuals who suffer from gambling and shopping addictions.

Practical Solutions:   

So, how do you prevent games with loot boxes ending up in the hands of your children?

  • It is important to be able to recognize games that have loot boxes. You can find this out by playing the games yourselves or researching the game online.
  • You should utilize the parental controls available on PlayStation and Xbox or at least be familiar with them.
  • The email for the account your child plays on should be one you can access.
  • I recommend not saving your credit card on the gaming account. This does not mean you cannot use your credit card on the account. It means do not save it on the account for future use.
  • Most importantly, you should talk to your child about loot boxes. Sometimes, children do not realize they are spending real world money or that they are being exploited by gaming companies.
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