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Loot Boxes Are Surprisingly Popular Here

Loot boxes: for some players, they're bad news. As a recent study revealed, loot boxes are commonly linked to gambling addiction, which is problematic for gamers who may struggle with such an affliction. For a number of other players, they're a frustrating way for companies to make money off of consumers. If so many gamers have negative views and feelings toward loot boxes, how is it that gaming companies are able to thrive off this business model? There must be some people who like this form of microtransaction.

As it turns out, not only are loot boxes accepted by some consumers, but there's a part of the world where they are surprisingly popular.

According to a survey of over 1000 UK citizens, which was conducted on behalf of WePC, 33% of gamers in the UK are making microtransaction purchases on a weekly basis or more. The report also revealed that during the months of July, August, and September of last year, 1.2 billion pounds (approximately $1.7 billion USD, courtesy of Google Finance and Morningstar) of Activision Blizzard's earnings came from microtransactions. The latest research into the matter shows that the profitability of this type of business practice is projected to continue growing at a fairly astonishing rate in the UK.

The UK consumer on loot boxes

Of course, the sheer revenue doesn't necessarily reflect consumer opinions. So, how do UK gamers view microtransactions and loot boxes overall? As the survey reports, a surprising 30% believe that they improve video games, compared to the meager 14% that felt the opposite was true.

What's interesting about these findings is that loot boxes have previously been considered akin to gambling by English government officials, leading to ongoing discussions of stricter regulations. Even though many UK consumers approve of microtransactions, the survey also shows that most gamers in the country think that there should be some form of regulation over loot boxes. 

More research will be needed to see how other parts of the world view microtransactions and loot boxes. If a majority of gamers truly enjoy such an experience, it could embolden companies to provide even more pay-to-win opportunities. And unfortunately for gamers who fully stand against loot boxes, this business practice doesn't look to be going away any time soon. Big companies like EA have made an absurd amount of money from microtransactions, so it only makes sense that consumers are likely to see more loot boxes in the future.