“The internet and digital media have resulted in the mainstreaming of certain behaviors once considered to be more deviant or profane. This is a change at the cultural level. For example, gambling is increasingly tolerated and promoted as a positive social activity for adults and even children.” (Chayko, Mary; Superconnected, 2017)
Hi I’m Charlee, and I’m a loot box addict.
Loot boxes, gachapons, lucky pouches, prize crates, etc. – They’re all the same. It’s gambling within the confines of a video game. But, no. I don’t consider myself to have a gambling addiction. Why? Because I don’t really get the same rush in buying bunches of lotto tickets in hopes I succeed some day nor do I feel the need to go blow my cash at a casino’s slot machines. In general, I don’t like making bets with people because I don’t like feeling as if I lost something and gained absolutely nothing in return.
It took me a LONG time to get over it: the need to spend real cash on in-game mystery items to engage in the excitement of maybe getting my hands on rare items. I told myself, “Eh… It’s fine if I don’t get the item I want this time around. At least I still get other lesser items out of the boxes that I can resell for in-game currency. So I still get something out of it.” As a result, I’d just keep buying more and more to fulfill my urges to accumulate virtual prizes. During my teenage years, I’d even go to the effort of tucking away the physical game cards I bought to purchase loot boxes throughout the house where my parents wouldn’t find them. (I threw them out slowly over time, but if I visited their house back in Florida and looked hard enough, there might still be some laying around.) It was as if I were an alcoholic hiding my empty bottles to keep anyone from finding out about my problem. I kept justifying my actions for years, spending almost $2000 on a single game within the span of 5 years.
It took all my online friends leaving for bigger and better things in the game I mentioned in my other post for me to realize that I’m spending money on what amounts to very little in the end, especially if nobody I care about is around to even show my spoils off to. I’ll still let other people purchase loot boxes for me, but I won’t spend the money myself, so it’s rare I even get them nowadays. I’m glad many places around the world are starting to crack down on loot boxes because hopefully other young impressionable people can be saved from the same addiction I formed so many years ago. I think gaming companies just need to find another way to make additional profit. Loot boxes are a predatory practice, and like any other former addict, I’m always fearful that I’ll fall down that spiral once again.