Video games are gradually blurring the lines between entertainment and gambling. They are employing the tricks used in casino gambling as random reward schedules, progression systems, limited-time offers, countdown timers, leaderboards, and an initial free-to-play hook, among other tricks that end up turning into a spending spiral.
In this article, we delve into the relationship between video games and casino gambling, exploring how the games subconsciously encourage players to spend more, shedding light on concerns surrounding the same.
Relationship Between Video Games and Casino Gambling
With the rapid popularity of video games, most people have become glued to their devices for hours. According to market researchers from Statista, the video games market generated a revenue of $174.9 billion worldwide in 2020, with mobile games being the significant catalyst in this growth. While video games can be a form of entertainment, that doesn’t seem to be the only thing they are designed to achieve, as most of them are, if anything, milking players’ money out of their pockets.
If not keen, a player may become addicted in the process of gaming, thus getting into a rabbit hole of spending more money time and again. Some video games now use casino gambling tricks to lure players into spending more. But, which of these tricks are being used? They are as discussed below.
Casino Gambling Tricks Used by Video Games to Encourage Players to Spend More
The list below shows the hidden video game mechanics that subtly encourage players to spend more cash.
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1. Virtual Items and Currency
An example of the casino gambling tricks used in video games to lure players into spending more is virtual items which are sold in premium and offered to players to progress through the game. The virtual items or currency require players to spend real money to purchase services or in-game items, which creates a sense of ownership and investment in the video game. As a result, players spend more money in order to maintain their status or progress in the game.
2. Exploiting a Player’s Hot State
Another gambling trick used in video games is what we call “hot state,” an impulsive mood created by game dynamics, encouraging players to spend more. For instance, a player may be given a limited gaming opportunity to spend hard currency to continue gaming or get into the next level of the game. This, if looked at from a logical point of view, creates a sense of urgency, influencing individuals to spend more. Speaking of “hot state,” Torulf Jernstrom, the chief executive of the game developer Tribeflame, outlined hot state as a trick that the mobile games industry could use to part gamers from their money.
3. Offering Free-to-Play Games
The “free-to-play” games are the ones leading the way in terms of video games that are generating huge annual revenues, which is very ironic. For example, according to a report by Super Data, which is a Nielsen subsidiary specializing in digital games, Free-to-play games generated around $87.1 billion in revenue in 2019. But how do such games generate the most revenue, yet they are called “free to play?”. Typical, these games are free to download but require spending of money to unlock particular game features and items. Therefore, the in-game purchases, mostly referred to as microtransactions, are the reason behind the significant revenues of these free-to-play games.
Moreover, the monetizing of basic mechanics and modes whereby some paid games monetize basic features separately and psychological manipulation contributes significantly to forcing players to spend more money to get the full experience. This has led to money laundering in the Australian gaming industry. For instance, in 2019, some Australian casino companies like Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment Group were accused of facilitating money laundering and consorting with criminals. Despite these allegations, no single staff member, board director or even executive of either Star Entertainment Group or Crown Resorts has faced a criminal or civil sanction. But if you want really reliable casinos, then visit www.payid-casinos.com.
In the case of these two casinos, alleged involvement in money laundering and organized crime can be seen as a way to monetize basic modes and mechanics, where the casinos sell the basic features of gambling to players. Their involvement in breaching multiple laws, like money laundering, can also be seen as a form of psychological manipulation where casinos take advantage of players’ way of thinking, making gambling as appealing as possible, hence causing an increase in players’ spending.
4. Use of Leaderboards
Like in online gambling, video games use leaderboards to influence a player’s spending. Normally, leaderboards are used to rank players based on their performance in a game. This creates a sense of competition among players, which then drives players to spend more money to improve their ranking. For instance, a video game like Candy Crush Saga, a single-player puzzle game available on Android and iOS, offers infinite levels. If you lose a round, you must wait 30 minutes to regain a single life.
However, you can always buy life, and the game can be upgraded with paid features in the form of instant health regeneration and power-ups. This makes it possible to rank in the leaderboard, but the downside is that you end up spending more money to get these in-game features and upgrades.
5. Loss Aversion
Video games use loss aversion as a trick to encourage players to spend more money. Loss aversion is the tendency for players to feel more pain from losing than pleasure from gaining. For example, video game developers create scenarios where players risk losing something like a virtual item or currency, which is an investment, thus forcing players to spend more money to avoid losing these things. The more the player tries to not lose their virtual currency or item, the more money they spend.
In summary, video game mechanics operate in a complex interplay, contributing to the influence on player spending. While these mechanics enhance gameplay, they also raise concerns about ethical manipulation and predatory practices. Therefore, it is important to understand how these mechanics work, thus limiting your chances of being lured to spend more than your budget.