Video Game Microtransactions & Loot Boxes - An Empirical Study on the Effectiveness of Social Responsibility Measures

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The business model of video games has undergone radical change in recent years. Many of today’s video game companies no longer earn their money with the game itself, but rather with the sale of game content within the game. One of the most popular forms of these so-called microtransactions are loot boxes, packages with game content of random value. Apart from paving the way for gambling, many researchers also see the danger of overspending as a result of impulsive purchases, especially for young people. This led to the demand for more consumer and youth protection, both through legislation and social responsibility action taken by video game developers. By conducting an online experiment with 267 participants, two proposals for potential measures of responsible action were examined for their effectiveness: the price display in a real currency instead of the display in a virtual currency, and a two-step purchase process. With that, this study represents one of the first experimental approaches to investigate the psychological aspects of video game microtransactions. The results show that the price display in a real currency leads to a higher spending awareness, but also higher spending in comparison to the price display in a virtual currency.
Translated title of the contributionMikrotransaktionen und Beutekisten in Videospielen - eine empirische Studie über die Wirksamkeit von Maßnahmen zur sozialen Verantwortung
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGamification and Social Networks : in Education
EditorsUgur Bakan, Sheri Berkeley
Number of pages34
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherMacro World Publishing
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)978-625-00-0106-6
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Business psychology - Learning Environments, Education, Social Responsibility, Computer Gaming and Animation