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Mobile Gaming, Loot Boxes, Social Identity, Qualitative Research, Nostalgia, Final Fantasy

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The present study seeks to understand the 'loot box' gamer--gamers who play games in which real money is spent in order to gamble for the chance at digital game content. Prior research has found loot box gaming associated with problematic gaming behaviors and gambling. This study seeks to understand the players themselves through a case study of players of the loot box game Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. Examined through the lens of Social Identity Theory and Social Comparison Theory, this study examines the phenomenon through two data sets: a survey of participants on the Final Fantasy Brave Exvius subreddit (n=592), and in-depth interviews with attendees at the games international convention (n=21). We find that the communal aspect of the game amplifies the structural orientation to encourage spending and that loot box gamers build their identity in relation to their spending habits and nostalgia for the Final Fantasy series.

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The International Journal of Computer Game Research, v. 21, issue 2

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