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Loot Boxes in Video Games: Are They Eventually Worth It?

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Loot boxes give us a feeling of anticipation and excitement because there is always something we can win. While it may initially feel like eternal Christmas, the truth is that loot boxes are to be paid for – to be honest, some players eventually pay more for the loot boxes than they paid for access to the game.

Also, just because you can always win something with a random loot box doesn’t make your win worth anything by default. The win would have felt much better if you could earn loot boxes with valuable items via game activities. The controversy surrounding loot boxes is that you have to pay without a guarantee of getting any in-game value for your money.

In many games, it doesn’t matter how much you pay because the content of the loot box is always random. It is marketed as “fair,” but you have to buy loot boxes more often, hoping to get that one item. The probability of unlocking each of the items available is not equal because it has been proven by many players that more common items are placed in loot boxes way more frequently than rare items.

This way, paid loot boxes do not guarantee any value at all. Paying money for undefined benefits sounds like a bad idea.

At the time of writing this, loot boxes in video games have become so universally used that some countries have already started to ban them. While many video games introduce loot boxes as an “important in-game feature”, it is not inevitable and is not necessary for playing the game.

Instead, many experts claim that loot boxes not only undermine players’ trust and loyalty and destroy player communities but also lead to games being designed poorly with a focus on squeezing in the loot box mechanics instead of providing quality storytelling. So, is there any real value in loot boxes, besides bringing more money to the publishers?

The Real Value of Loot Boxes

More and more often we can hear the opinion of different experts stating that loot boxes in video games are basically gambling. Players pay to use the probability of landing a valuable in-game item, without being guaranteed any real reward. There is no cumulative effect to those purchases; you are not likely to get better items if you buy more loot boxes over time.

Research already shows that playing with loot boxes actually leads to problem gambling behavior which is even more troubling because video games are popular among children and teenagers who are not aware that they are being deceived into spending more money.


Players get engaged in this loot box hunting so much that, if deprived of the opportunity to buy one, they feel the game is not as exciting as it used to be anymore. This is especially true for games that already tend to build their mechanics and features around revenue-generating features like loot boxes instead of visuals, storytelling, characters, and generally making the game universe function decently.

It is safe to say that online casino gambling can be viewed as more transparent than loot boxes in video games. Any no deposit bonus casino in Canada at least states clearly that winning is not guaranteed. However, video games use this “you win something every time anyway” concept instead, deceiving their players.

Of course, not all video games have loot boxes, or rather, not all video games offer loot box mechanics in such a predatory manner. Being deceiving and addicting, loot boxes already seem pretty disadvantageous from an objective point of view. However, interestingly enough, by now the industry already has enough user feedback from real players to make conclusions about whether the player community is happy with the innovation.

The reality is that the player community is far from happy. Most players are annoyed with constantly being offered to pay extra for a loot box in the middle of the game. Around half of the players consider loot boxes to be a complete waste of money, exactly since the value of the box items cannot be predicted or controlled in any manner.

The Catch of “In-Game Currency”

Speaking about loot box purchases it is important to point out another problem that players are often unaware of due to its completely predatory and deceiving nature.

There are two types of games with loot boxes; some games allow payments for their boxes with real-world currency while others only accept in-game currency.


In other words, you can either pay for the loot box directly using your e-wallet or card, or you have to first buy a bunch of in-game currency (or gems, or whatever is there), and then spend gems to buy the loot box.

The catch here is that the in-game currency is never 1:1 with the real money value. One gem is not equal to one dollar; instead, it is always something like 1:0,83 or anything else, as inconvenient as possible to count straight. As a result, when paying for the loot boxes with in-game currency, players quickly get too lazy or too confused to count what’s the price for the box in real money. This way, they get used to paying more very quickly without even realizing it.

Does it make loot boxes advantageous for players? Definitely not.