‘No way out’: how video games use tricks from gambling to attract big spenders

Mobile phone games and the gambling industry are converging as game developers use psychological tricks to exploit players and encourage them to spend money. The tactics deployed by the mobile gaming industry, which is projected to be worth $100 billion a year, include loss aversion, price anchoring, social proof, and false scarcity. Examples of controversial tactics include exploiting players’ impulsive moods, offering in-game items for free and then threatening to take them away unless players pay, and using random number generators to manipulate outcomes. The overlap between gaming and gambling is raising ethical concerns and calls for regulation within the gaming industry.


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