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Gaming is a Gamble: How Xbox is Taking Inspiration from the Casino World

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“Six Flawed Arguments for Loot Boxes” (CC BY 2.0) by marcoverch

If you’re an Xbox owner and you’ve not been drawn into the debate over loot boxes, then are you really an Xbox fan? Sure, it’s possible to be a player and not get involved in the discussions, but it can’t have escaped your notice that in-game features in classics such as Overwatch have been making headlines recently. For those not in the know, loot boxes is a paid for in-game feature that allows you to purchase a chest, open it and receive a random bonus. With everything from new outfits and weaponry to power-ups available, loot boxes have become big business. However, given that you never know what you’re going to get, there has been some debate as to whether they’re a form of gambling.

Indeed, when you play an online slot machine, you know the price you have to pay and what you can win, but the prize is never certain. Whatever side of the argument you fall on, one thing is obvious: loot boxes have become a major part of the industry. According to the latest reports, Microsoft and Xbox will be adding more features to the Achievements system, including loot boxes for avatars. While the full details of how these new features will work haven’t been confirmed, the idea that idea of bonuses and rewards is clearly at the heart of the system. With Xbox pushing this new dynamic, the obvious question becomes: what’s prompted the rise of bonuses and loot boxes?

The answer, it seems, comes from another corner of the gaming industry. Since online casinos went live in the late nineties, operators have been using loyalty schemes as a way of incentivizing players. In fact, such is the prominence of the rewards that third-party platforms have been set-up to collate and rate the best deals. By visiting Canadian casino review website Bonus.ca, a novice casino player can get an overview of the types of offers available as well as an insight into how various kickbacks stack up against each other. In general terms, the average online casino player can claim bonus credits when they make a deposit, when they play certain games and based on the number of bets they make. When you look at the introduction of loot boxes, we can see a certain amount of inspiration from the casino industry.

Of course, we know that Microsoft and Xbox have embraced aspects of the betting industry in the past. A quick look through the gaming catalogue reveals 22 free-play slot games. Embodying all the fun of the reel-filled games without the financial element, these slots are a direct result of online casino gaming’s rise in popularity. Indeed, with the stats showing the industry is now worth upwards of $50 billion, it’s clear that online casino sites are doing something right. With Xbox looking to create more engagement and participation, the evolution of the Achievement system seems inevitable. Will it get to the point where third-party sites are required to help players find the best deals? At this stage, no. However, the rise of loot boxes is certainly a sign that the industry is changing and that could lead to more incentive innovations over the next few years.

TXH
TXH
TXH loves nothing more than kicking back at the end of the day, controller in hand, shooting the hell out of strangers via Xbox Live.

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