Study: Loot boxes in games are enticing, but they don’t actually manipulate you into spending

The ABC’s latest Four Corners report is an investigation into how video games are “deliberately designed to get people hooked”.

It describes the use of gambling-like “loot boxes” in games, the hotly debated notion of video game addiction and, to a lesser extent, the “predatory techniques” of using user data and AI to increase spending in freemium games (free to play games which are monetized through in-app transactions and advertising).

The process of monetizing and collecting data through video games does require scrutiny, as it can be problematic for some users. But in working out what the harms are, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact video games are enjoyable and valuable for the vast majority.