How gambling mechanics are used increasingly in video games

When you think of modern-day video games, gambling might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but you would be surprised. Most games on Consoles like Xbox or PlayStation have gambling type systems however you cannot win real money in return; you instead get a loot box. You can also find websites where you can play with real money using in-game items to play games like Lottery Games, and Scratch cards online at Increasingly over the years, we have seen more and more instances where gambling mechanics are used in video games. We look to explore those in this article.

Loot Box Systems for cosmetics only through microtransactions

The first known instance of a loot-box system is believed to be an item called “Gachapon ticket” which was introduced in the Japanese version of MapleStory, a side-scrolling MMORPG, in June 2004. Such tickets were sold at the price of 100 Japanese yen per ticket. It has become common in video games to have these systems to gain cosmetic enhancements also known as skins. Known as microtransactions a player could purchase a number of these boxes and when opened it would act like a slot machine granting you a random reward and no guarantees. Player customization on the battlefield has become more and more important in recent years with special items only earnable by purchasing loot boxes gamers have been more willing to be the odds.

Pay to win format with microtransactions

Another form of microtransaction is pay to win. Pay to win means you can complete microtransactions to benefit and enhance yourself in-game. You can purchase items like weapons, faster skill training, or even opened loot boxes with guarantees. It very clears how gambling has influenced the pay to win scheme, the more you put in the more you make. Mobile games are most known for pay to win gameplay however it has crossed over into mainstream console and PC. We believe the pay to win format will grow in the coming years as players always looking to get ahead of the curve.

Legal loot trade and gambling websites for real currency

We believe the most prominent influence gambling has had in the gaming industry is in-game loot gambling websites. CS: GO is a quite common game used for these types of platforms since you can sell your skins online. Players can use in-game items as currency or play with real currency and play online games like roulette and crash. When players make bet within game items like skins and win, they can sell the in-game items on the marketplace which in turn can yield actual cash. As we have already said, the eSports gambling law is only nascent, especially regarding in-game items betting, so technically most such sites are legal. However, whether it is safe to make bets with skins – this is up to you to decide.

In-game gambling with player vs player

Most notably a well-known developer and publisher called Rockstar games have installed actual gambling facilities in-game. Titles like Red Dead Redemption where you can sit at tables and play actually casino card games for in-game currency. Grand Theft Auto V online has an in-game casino where you can find games like roulette, blackjack, craps, and slots machines. While the design by the developer only allows you to strictly win or exchange in-game currency players have found ways to convert it into actual cash. Another common instance in MMOs like World of Warcraft where people congregate in populated areas and use rolling bots to bet in-game currency. Specifically, in WOW gold can be sold through various locations and also even exchanged for tokens in-game which cost real currency. Tokens can be sold, traded, or even used to pay the subscription fee.

Its clear gambling mechanics are increasingly being used in video games. While not always intended by the developer to create gambling economies the players always seem to find away. As we continue our lockdown due to COVID-19 we believe that gaming will take on more gambling mechanics as time passes. We look to developers to make changes in the future which could even allow real gambling inside a virtual world. It will be up to the government to open up these laws in the long run but expect there to be some lobbying soon. We look forward to the possibilities of a virtual MMO where you can gamble legally, however you might miss out on the free alcohol!

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