“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

Nicklin, Laura Louise, Gordon Spicer, Stuart, Close, James, Parke, Jonathan, Smith, Oliver, Raymen, Thomas, Lloyd, Helen and Lloyd, Joanne (2021) “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. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 10 (10). p. 2103. ISSN 2077-0383

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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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This research was funded by a research grant from GambleAware, with J.C. being further supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) South West Peninsula. The funding organisation had no role in the design or conduct of the study or the collection, management, analysis, or interpretation of the data or the preparation, review, or approval of the paper.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Loot boxes; video-gaming; motivations; motives; microtransactions; gambling; addiction; qualitative; monetisation.
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
L400 Social Policy
L500 Social Work
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 13 May 2021 13:45
Last Modified: 24 Sep 2021 09:55
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/46161

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