I’ve written a little bit in the past about loot boxes, keys, battle passes and all of the mechanics in gaming that developers use to try and get you to invest a bit of your hard-earned cash in subtle ways.
It’s understandable that they are trying to make a living. But most of the times, you don’t get a proper ROI and usually will have to buy again and again until you get the items you are looking for. As part of my gaming experience I had the time and funds to try playing at the LeoVegas casino.
This was very different from buying a battle pass or a loot box on ESO or Overwatch for example. Immediately, I got some free spins for the slots games and also a big bonus for my 1st deposit. I actually could play much more than I thought and had the thrill of winning big – had a spin of $50 with a 50 cent bet. Now, I am not saying that casino is better than buying in-game items – but I will cover all the facts related to this topic right away!
There are actual laws in place now, to prevent the exploitation of gamers using casino-like mechanics.
The use of random numbers and predetermined odds to put you in a slot machine kind of scenario.
Loot boxes are the best example of this. And honestly, something I’ve fallen victim to, to a certain extent in the past.
You’re playing your favourite game, in my case, this was Overwatch. And they’ve released all news maps and heroes for free. So what’s a couple of quid to a loot box, to help keep a game you love, running?
Here comes the casino element…….there are some desirable prizes, and the better prizes (in this case, character skins) have lower odds. Well, that first loot box didn’t drop anything good, and I want that limited-time event-only skin.
So a few more quid here and there over a week, and suddenly it adds up! Worse still, I’ve not got what I wanted.
Return on investment
The major problem here, compared to a casino, I’m not getting a chance for a proper return on my money. The prize here isn’t the allure of more money than I’ve put it in. It’s a digital item, in a game that will eventually become obsolete.
Worse still, I’ve bought Overwatch on two, soon to be three platforms, and those purchases don’t carry between them. All of my hours and money put into Overwatch on Xbox don’t count for my Switch version. And when I start on PC, I’ll be starting from scratch again.
This isn’t the case for all games, and developers handle cross-platform accounts differently. But when I look back at digital items I’ve literally gambled on, and spent way more money on that I wanted to. I’d be better off playing for a proper monetary return.
Battle passes kind of get around this problem, but you’re still working against the odds.
If you buy a pass for a game that you play a lot, you’re likely to unlock a lot of that pass, and get loads of the rewards. Cool.
But let’s be fair, unless you have no job and play the same game all the time, you’re not going to claim every reward. So then you see that you have the opportunity to purchase additional levels for in-game currency. The currency costs real money.
Suddenly you’re paying to unlock something you’ve paid for, but gambling your time against the limited time of a battle pass. It’s a rough gamble when you have a life outside of your game.
Better to be up-front?
We’re at a point now where laws are in place in certain countries to ensure that players understand the odds and see things as gambling.
I would honestly rather pay a nominal fee for the item or two that I want, than spin the hidden wheel where the odds are stacked against me. Especially when the reward isn’t actually tangible and real, like it is in a casino.
I’m not a massive gambler, but I like a flutter on horses or to do some slots from time to time. When you win actual money, it seems like you’re getting a better deal, doesn’t it?