The Problem with Large Video Game Corporations.

For years, large video game corporations have gotten away with anything they want.  Video games have been increasing in popularity, especially in a time like we are living in today where human interaction is limited.  For those seeking social interaction, the games become a source of friendship and provide the opportunity to meet new people through online games.  For others, they provide a good way to pass the time by playing by yourself. The result of this popularity has led money hungry and greedy corporations to profit off of consumers in very sneaky and subtle ways. One way they manipulate gamers and “navigate” the laws of our countries is to add loot boxes to their games. Loot boxes are in game items that can give an avatar different skins or outfits or they can be other cool in-game gear that varies from game to game. These “loot boxes” manipulate players by making it seem that they earn earn these opportunities through the progression of the game. As a result, players can only “earn” a loot box every few days that they play. By nature, humans want instant gratification, so players give into the temptation to spend their real dollars to buy in-game currency that will let them buy loot boxes. The downside is that players are not guaranteed a good item from the boxes. This causes the player to spend more money to get a good item. This becomes a vicious cycle especially when a player can only get good weapon or item through theses boxes.

Loot boxes are just part of the problem. A new study suggests that a number of similar practices in video games, such as token wagering, real-money gaming, and social casino spending, are significantly linked to problem gambling. Author of the study, Dr. David Zendle from the Department of Computer Science at the University of York, said: “These findings suggest that the relationship between gaming and problem gambling is more complex than many people think. When we go beyond loot boxes, we can see that there are multiple novel practices in gaming that incorporate elements of gambling. All of them are linked to problem gambling, and all seem prevalent. This may pose an important public health risk. Further research is urgently needed.”

Students at LCA are well aware of this problem. Matthew Potter, 12, believes that, “I have spent way more money on video games than I ever thought I would.” This is not just hurting parents’ pockets but even the kids are noticing. I asked Justan Borth the Spiritual Life Director at Lexington Christian Academy and he said, “There is a clear moral problem to how they are manipulating unsuspecting kids and adults alike.” Large video game corporations must be stopped because they can put these items into video games without any repercussions from any laws or  law enforcement.