Less Than 1% Of UK Adults Consider Loot Boxes To Be Gambling - That Needs To Change

Just 0.05% of adults in the UK have named loot boxes as a form of gambling. That is crazy, given the amount of airtime given to them in recent months…

Forever reviled but also an evilly effective source of revenue, loot boxes have been the talk of many gamers, even leading to the death of some titles’ interest - including Star Wars Battlefront 2.

So, what effect has this negative reinforcement of loot boxes had on adults in the UK? Absolutely none. A study by John Slots found 0.05% of them consider these digital grab bags to NOT be a form of gambling. They view everything else that is typically gambling games as a whole (slots, cards, etc) as gambling, but not this sort of game that has appeared within many video games. I guess that’s the trojan horse delivery of it all.

Let’s fully discuss the slight bias you may find in the way this study has been run. From the sounds of it, it seems as if the participants checked certain forms of gambling off a list, which opens that question up to a definition of gambling. This would’ve been more effective if each item was a separate yes/no question. But alas, we have what we have.

And that doesn’t mean the results aren’t telling us a bit of a troubling story. In fact, to add onto that, this UK wide survey also found that Millennials and Gen Z have the least gambling awareness. 11.9% of 18-24 believed that many common games of gambling were actually forms of gambling. Given just how much online gameplay is reliant on them and just how many moments on Twitch surround opening loot boxes, that’s concerning.

What needs to happen? Surprising to some, I don’t think the answer is a flat out ban. I applaud Belgium’s decision to do so, but this restricts an industry whose costs are always on the rise, from making more money. In fact, the answer is only skin deep. The business model should be simple - free gameplay and cosmetic expansions you pay for. This keeps you on the side of the consumer and doesn’t lock games down under grind-based loot box rules. 

Simply put, if you want to make more money from each gamer, it can’t be at the expense of gameplay progression.