Former Developer of Neverwinter: There Is a Strong Link Between Free to Play and Gambling

Former Developer of Neverwinter: There Is a Strong Link Between Free to Play and Gambling

With an intervention that raised many criticisms among Twitch users, the former digital artist of Neverwinter, Xavier Coelho-Kostolny, wanted to warn video game fans of the “danger” of free to play using Loot Boxes for finance.

As illustrated by the designer who reports that he is currently working on a “super-secret” project by Insomniac Games (someone said Marvel’s Spider-Man 2?), Companies in the sector would leverage on the self-deception techniques that characterize the gambling industry.

“Many systems that are at the basis of F2P (the so-called free to play games, that are free downloadable games but with a substantial internal store for optional microtransactions, ed) are taken directly from the gambling industry,” Xavier begins first to emphasize how “the Loot Boxes are a familiar topic for many people, but they are often discussed by looking at them from the wrong side” .

According to the digital artist of Insomniac Games, in fact, “most players complain about how annoying they are, but few people consider how damaging they are. First, try to understand what a Cash Register represents in a wider area than free to play: a Loot Box is a package that opens and has a chance of winning with a certain number of cosmetic prizes and gameplay changes within it. This remuneration structure is taken directly from casino gambling, in particular from the Slot Machines. In fact, most of the winning percentages and feedback systems of the Loot Box derive from the design of the slot machines”.

The examples brought by Xavier to support his thesis are many: according to him, in fact, it is no coincidence that many free to play video games, both on consoles and on PCs and mobile systems, are united by “pay-to-win” logic rather marked, from the low initial investment required to the players, from the presence of sounds that increase the excitement and the waiting for the opening of the prize coffers and from the extremely low probability with which it is possible to receive rare level loot.