“It’s the Attraction of Winning That Draws You In”—A Qualitative Investigation of Reasons and Facilitators for Videogame Loot Box Engagement in UK Gamers

Laura Louise Nicklin, Stuart Gordon Spicer, James  Close, Jonathan Parke, Oliver Smith, Thomas Raymen, Helen Lloyd, Joanne  Lloyd*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Excessive engagement with (increasingly prevalent) loot boxes within games has consistently been linked with disordered gambling and/or gaming. The importance of recognising and managing potential risks associated with loot box involvement means understanding contributing factors is a pressing research priority. Given that motivations for gaming and gambling have been informative in understanding risky engagement with those behaviours, this qualitative study investigated motivations for buying loot boxes, through in-depth interviews with 28 gamers from across the UK. A reflexive thematic analysis categorised reasons for buying into seven “themes”; opening experience; value of box contents; game-related elements; social influences; emotive/impulsive influences; fear of missing out; triggers/facilitators. These themes are described in detail and discussed in relation to the existing literature and motivation theories. This study contributes to understanding ways in which digital items within loot boxes can be highly valued by purchasers, informing the debate around parallels with gambling. Findings that certain motivations were disproportionately endorsed by participants with symptoms of problematic gambling has potential implications for policy and warrants further study.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2103
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Volume10
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2021

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