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Unethical Practices in Gacha

Gachapons stacked nicely in two rows

In recent years, the gaming industry has seen exponential growth, evolving from a niche hobby to a multi-billion-dollar global phenomenon. Alongside this growth, however, there has been a troubling rise in unethical practices by some of the industry's biggest corporations. One such practice that has garnered significant controversy is the manipulation of in-game item probabilities and the dissemination of false information to customers.

What is Gacha?

Gacha refers to a monetization mechanism often found in mobile games and some online games, where players can spend virtual or real currency to receive a random in-game item. The term "gacha" is derived from the Japanese word "gachapon", which are vending machines in Japan that dispense capsule toys at random. In the context of games, gacha systems are analogous to loot boxes or randomized item drops.

Scandals abound

While these unethical practices have only been uncovered this year, there were preceding cases since 2016. One of the most famous one being GranBlue Fantasy falsely advertising their gacha rates, leading to player spending over $6000 in one night. There are also alleged cases of the probabilities being dynamically adjusted for certain players, and the use of vague language misleading players. These examples do not help with the perception that gacha is an exploitative monetization strategy.

It is highly disappointing that such unethical practices are carried out by big gaming corporations. They willingly breached the trust of their players and exploit them for greater profit margins. It is imperative that regulators like the Korean FTC clamp down on such practices and ensure safe and healthy gaming environments for all.


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