Opening Pandora’s loot box: Weak links with gambling and player opinions on probability disclosures in China

Leon Y. Xiao, Tullia C. Fraser, Philip W.S. Newall

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Paid loot boxes are quasi-gambling monetisation methods in video games that provide the player with randomised rewards of varying in-game and, potentially, real-world value (Nielsen and Grabarczyk, 2019). Loot boxes are prevalent in video games internationally (Zendle et al., 2020), and are more prevalent in the People’s Republic of China (the PRC)1 than in the UK (Xiao et al., 2021). Loot box purchasing has been found to be positively correlated with problem gambling in 15 previous studies in Western countries, including the US (Zendle and Cairns, 2019), the UK (Wardle and Zendle, 2021), Germany (von Meduna et al., 2020), Denmark (Kristiansen and Severin, 2019), and Australasia (Drummond et al., 2020), and internationally in general (Close et al., 2021). However, it is not known whether the same positive correlation can be found in non-Western countries, as cultural differences have been identified as a factor which affects gambling behaviours (Raylu and Oei, 2004). Many countries are grappling with how best to regulate loot boxes, including non-Western countries, e.g., Brazil (Dealessandri, 2021). As the existing literature is based on ‘Western Educated Industrialized Rich and Democratic (WEIRD)’ samples, it is desirable to attempt to replicate this correlation in non-Western countries to broaden the literature and inform forthcoming regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) International Conference 2022: Bringing Worlds Together
PublisherDigital Games Research Association (DiGRA)
Publication dateJul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


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