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Loot Box, Problematic Gaming, Addiction, Gambling, Advertising

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Mobile games featuring the loot-box design are associated with gambling because of the uncertainty in the value of the purchase and the propensity for gamers to keep spending. Role-playing games (RPGs) have been associated with gaming disorders because of the addictiveness and immersion experienced by gamers. Advertisers have capitalized on this gaming trend by having gamers watch advertisements, often in return for earning in-game currency. In this study, we explored the intersection of role-playing and loot-box mobile gaming, in particular examining the association with gaming disorders and ad watching and the role of game spending. An online survey was conducted (n = 595) in which we recruited participants who play four popular loot-box RPGs on their mobile devices. In line with previous research, we found similarities between these players and those with disordered gaming and an association with increased game and gaming involvement. We found that different spending habits based on gamer classifications have unexpected associations with the willingness of gamers to watch ads. Our results have implications for loot-box gamers, game designers, and advertisers, as we believe that addicted loot-box gamers, because of the association between loot-box games and gambling, may be experiencing a form of morbidity and that these gamers may be more susceptible to such addictions.

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Journal of Gambling Issues, v. 46, p. 62-81

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