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Type: Journal article
Title: Video game monetization (e.g., 'loot boxes'): a blueprint for practical social responsibility measures
Author: King, D.
Delfabbro, P.
Citation: International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 2019; 17(1):166-179
Publisher: Springer Nature
Issue Date: 2019
ISSN: 1557-1874
Statement of
Daniel L. King, Paul H. Delfabbro
Abstract: Video games are becoming increasingly monetized with the addition of in-game purchasing options, which has prompted some comparisons of these products to electronic gaming machines. The expansion and sophistication of ‘microtransaction’ options in online games (e.g., ‘loot boxes’) has also led to concerns about vulnerable users (e.g., adolescents) overspending on these schemes. Currently, there are limited regulatory and/or consumer protection frameworks for video game monetization schemes. This conceptual paper explores some potential social responsibility measures for monetized gaming products to stimulate further discussion and developments in this area. Loot boxes are a focus of this discussion given the current debate on their legality, i.e., similarity to electronic gambling machines. Drawing on social responsibility principles and research in the field of gambling studies, we outline some potential measures in the areas of: (1) game design and in-game purchasing system characteristics, (2) transparency and accuracy of game design and features, (3) broad consumer protection measures, and (4) consumer information and industry accountability. It is hoped that this paper will encourage further discussion among academics, regulators, and the industry. An empirical evidence base is needed to inform the design and implementation of countermeasures for monetization schemes that increase risk of gaming-related harm for some users.
Keywords: Video game; loot box; predatory monetization; microtransaction; social responsibility; consumer protection
Rights: © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
DOI: 10.1007/s11469-018-0009-3
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Psychology publications

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