What Are Gacha Games, and Why Are They So Popular?


Video games have forged a unique presence in the entertainment world, finding their place on gaming consoles, PC, and even smartphones. But smartphones seem to be the preferred home of a more unique form of game, the gacha game.

Many countries such as Japan, China, and some parts of Europe have become aware of the addictive nature of gacha games and have taken steps to monitor them, banning some forms of gacha games completely. But why? What are these gacha games, and what is it that makes them so popular?

What Are Gacha Games?

Gacha games are games that tempt you into spending real-world money in return for random rewards, which will vary in both quality and worth. Sometimes you may get something that is worth the price you paid for it. In most cases, the reward is worth very little. Unfortunately, the chances of actually “winning” in a gacha game are extremely slim.

Genshin Impact wish gacha game mechanics

The extent of a game’s gacha mechanics varies from title to title. Some games, referred to as complete gacha games, require players to collect an entire set of rewards to continue. This forces the player into spending money if they want to move forward in their game. These types of gacha games are arguably the most damaging and have even been banned in countries like Japan.

Other gacha games, such as Genshin Impact, for example, are fully playable without having to spend any money. Genshin Impact’s gacha mechanics mainly allow the player to receive different weapons or characters and don’t impact the main story events at all. Genshin Impact is one of the many free mobile games that you can play and enjoy without paying a single cent. But as optional its gacha mechanics are, they still prove to be tempting to players, especially younger ones.

Person playing mobile game

Gacha games have found much more success in terms of revenue than even any of the best PS5 games that sell for $60 to $70 apiece. Genshin Impact, for example, made over two billion dollars in revenue in its first year alone, according to Sensor Tower. This is because the moreish nature of gacha mechanics combined with live-service models keeps gamers hooked on the same game for much longer than usual.

Where Did the Name “Gacha Game” Come From?

The name “gacha” comes from a type of vending machine that originated in Japan but has since become widely popular all over the world. Have you ever been walking through a mall and seen one of those machines that have a selection of different characters or toys inside round plastic cases? Those are gachapon, or gashapon machines. You put in a coin and receive a random item in return.

View into gachapon store in japan

This is almost exactly how these mechanics work in gacha games. The player has no control over what they will be receiving in return for their money, and often the chances of winning one of the more valuable rewards are not made clear to the player before they play.

One of the reasons why gacha games are so popular is because these incredible rewards seem so easily attainable for players. The strongest character in the game could be yours with just one more roll of the dice. This removes the element of skill that is usually required in a game to collect the best rewards. Anyone can be a pro if they spend enough money.

Many gacha games are also just incredibly fun in their own right. This hooks players from the start and makes them more likely to spend money on the chance to win new skins or a character that they’ve always wanted on their team. This becomes especially true if they have spent the last 30 hours building their party and are met with a massive difficulty jump that requires either months of grinding or payment to overcome.

Person Playing PUBG Mobile on Smartphone

Winning in any game is fun, and getting an amazing reward for just a dollar or two gives players a thrill that keeps them coming back to continue experiencing that high.

When you combine these mechanics with the pay-to-win structure that many mobile games feature, the temptation to spend more money grows even stronger. It is undoubtedly the addictive nature of these gacha mechanics that can be attributed to their massive popularity and success.

Are Gacha Games a Form of Gambling?

To gamble is to wager money in the hopes of winning something of higher value in a game of chance. That describes gacha game’s mechanics to a T. So when it really comes down to it, gacha game mechanics are just another form of online gambling.

There isn’t much difference between sitting at a slot machine and putting a coin in to have a chance at winning the jackpot or paying for in-game currency to try your chances at winning an amazing weapon or character.

Slot machines in a dimly lit casino

Actually, there is one big difference between those two scenarios. One requires you to be of legal age, and the other doesn’t. The reason why you have to be of age to participate in gambling is that children are easily persuaded and impressionable, and the act of gambling can be debilitatingly addictive.

Gacha game’s striking similarity to gambling is the reason why many countries have made steps to limit or monitor those elements in games.

To Gacha, or Not to Gacha

People love the excitement of winning a rare or ultra-rare item in a gacha game, especially when it’s an epic weapon or a rare skin that can be equipped to easily flaunt your success to other players. When you combine these mechanics with a base game that is also extremely fun, you have a recipe for something incredibly popular.

With all that being said, there are still plenty of gacha games that can be played without feeling pressured to spend any of your hard-earned cash. Gacha games aren’t bad or evil by any means, but perhaps their gambling-esque mechanics are something you want to be a little more aware of before you or a loved one inadvertently sink hundreds of dollars on a “free” game.


Source link

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: