While it's true that, unlike a slot machine, a loot box will always result in some form of a prize, that doesn't change the fact that the simple act of opening loot boxes is incredibly similar to gambling, and taps into all the same parts of the brain.
"The player is basically working for reward by making a series of responses, but the rewards are delivered unpredictably," Dr. Luke Clark, director at the Center for Gambling Research at the University of British Columbia, told PC Gamer recently.Link "We know that the dopamine system, which is targeted by drugs of abuse, is also very interested in unpredictable rewards. Dopamine cells are most active when there is maximum uncertainty, and the dopamine system responds more to an uncertain reward than the same reward delivered on a predictable basis."
Psychologists call this "variable rate reinforcement." Essentially, the brain kicks into high gear when you're opening a loot box or pulling the lever on a slot machine or opening a Christmas present because the outcome is uncertain or say spinning a prize wheel. This is exciting and, for many people, addictive.
When it comes to video games, the biggest concern is that children and adolescents will end up forming addictive behaviors early on.
"You can call it gambling, you can call it gaming addiction, you can call it whatever you want. The problem is still the same," he says.
[Edited by JohnnyBNL, 10/21/2017 7:07:32 AM]
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