Gaming Mode Vs Gambling Style, a psychology of online entertainment

gaming mode

With the advent of new technologies and especially the ability to communicate, play and bet online, it is necessary to question the consequences of these new possibilities, on issues such as pathological gambling or behavioral addictions. PressGambling is particularly focusing in this article, in the links that can exist between the practice of video games: gaming mode and the practice of gambling in this context of hyperconnectivity in online entertainment.

Borders between Gaming mode and Gambling style

Before digital technology, people practiced gambling only in specific places according to the local laws. Mainly casinos, clubs, bars… It was the same with video games popularized since the 80s. It was practiced for example in arcades or at home. Sometimes these two activities rub shoulders, but the regulations in force allowed control on the users, and there was no possibility to play remotely online via internet.

Currently, the democratized access to the Internet can play indifferently to video games or money games. Whatever the device: Desk, Tablets or Mobiles. And this at all hours of the day. Anonymously and with a theoretically unlimited number of users. From then on, the issues become more complex. Also, multiple questions around possible problems and risks, or new opportunities emerge. PressGambling aims to review the most significant elements in online entertainment, of the potential links between gaming mode and gambling style.

Communicating vessels in online entertainment

If access is through the same media, is there a risk of communicating vessels between gaming mode and gambling style? More specifically, will practicing almost universal video games lead to gambling and the development of pathological gamblers?

– “Gamify” the Gambling


A human being with a keen interest in the game in all its forms! It has become interesting for other areas of activity to try to adopt the codes to solicit attention or motivate results. We can call this principle: “gamification”. It is clear that online casinos and operators in the gambling industry see a major interest in “gamification.” In particular by making the appearance of gambling as close as possible to that of video games. We thus see appearing gambling designs very similar to video games in vogue. This process certainly reflects the idea of attracting video game players, a massive pool of potential customers, to gambling. This interest extends beyond gaming, and concepts like social gambling aim to recreate the look and excitement of social networks like Facebook. An attempt to implement a massively multiplayer role-playing game based on gambling also illustrates this evolution in online entertainment.

This interest from gambling providers is not new. As one of the critical factors in maintaining the player’s interest in continuing to bet and spend money is the illusion of gambling. Control artificially, increase the impression that the player controls his winnings while the latter remain random. For example, by creating on slot machines the possibility to choose between doubling his winnings at the risk of losing everything,

This is the impression to control risk-taking while the probability of winning remains unchanged regardless of the choice of players. We, therefore, understand the interest of gambling style wanting to look like video games intended and often linked to the address of the players. Finally, one point to raise is related to the loss of popularity of land-based gambling sites in general. And this is in favor of the opportunity to play online which is more accessible and more anonymous.

– “Gamblify” the Gaming

gaming mode

Conversely, the video game industry, mainly with the advent of so-called “free to play” games particularly favorite on tablets and laptops, adopts game mechanisms that are similar to gambling style. Indeed, for a free game installation is profitable, it is necessary to offer players purchases package, namely that during the game, the player can by spending real money increase this or that feature or cross difficulties. Competition and economic realities mainly dictate this new mode of purchase and consumption of video games. If the game is not free at the base, it will not be showy and downloadable by a sufficient number of users. And if it has a fixed price, the gains of developers will be low. While in free games, a large number of users try them and even if a minority spends real money, those who do it can pay huge sums.

Many quality video game developers criticize also this model. They prefer to offer a complete product at a higher price. But without additional purchases. There are questions, then, about how developers will encourage players to spend money. These Gaming Mode strategies are comparable to the methods used to increase gamers’ spending.

Use of virtual currency

In casinos, money is turned into a token. So it is easier for an individual to “spend chips” than real money. The same phenomenon with credit cards that lead to larger expenses than when buying cash. The games use the same strategy where the virtual currency. “Smurfberries” for example in the game of Smurfs on a mobile platform. The exchange rate is deliberately, and everything is done so that the player loses the notion of spending real money. And generally, the purchases of this virtual currency are made by a click connected to the credit card.

Opacify expenses

As in gambling, where it is carefully avoided to explicitly show the accumulated losses of the players, the sums spent by the games are never represented on the screen. A mechanism called “Kompu Gacha” has been banned in some games in Asia. It proposes infinite paying combinations to increase the power of the players. For example, in a dragon fighting game, the green dragon costs one dollar. And if you combine two green dragons, you get a stronger red dragon and so on. In the end, the “golden dragon” has been the combination of a multitude of purchases, and players of gaming mode lose the notion of the total amount spent.

Make believe that it is about games of skill

This concept is very famous. If at the beginning the gaming skill is a factor of success, later, it is no longer the ability of the player that will allow him to advance. But the money spent! An obvious mechanism in one of the most popular and profitable games: Candy Crush. Another similar tool makes players believe that they are competing fairly with other players. But in fact, only those who have spent the most money are the most advantaged. An analogy would be to imagine a chess game where players should buy all their pieces one by one. Therefore, whoever has acquired only two parts will not make the weight against a complete set of pieces. Some players denounced this gaming mode concept – the “pay to win” – since it often goes against the very spirit of the game.

Time Management

A very simple principle is to impose wait times. Example, in a racing game, cars wear out and take damage. You either have the option to wait and then you have to stop playing for a period, either to pay for the repair and play at once. Recently, an English consumer association denounced this principle by speaking of false advertising. The company (Electonic Arts about the game Dungeon Keeper) offered a free game while according to the players’ opinion, the wait times imposed if the players did not pay were incompatible with a satisfying gaming experience. The European community has communicated the need to regulate free to play gaming mode.

Playing on the fear of losing an asset

The concept of “loss aversion” defines that an individual has a subjective experience much more harmful if it withdraws gain already obtained than if he can not get this gain. In this sense, some so-called free games allow players to gain experience and benefits without paying. Then, after a significant investment of players in time, they are asked to pay to maintain the gains obtained.

These new ways of approaching games open a real question. If they allow those who do not have much time to devote to the game not to feel disadvantaged compared to other players by paying more. They also redefine the principle to play correctly. To pay to progress without really playing according to the rules is it always play? If in the future, the majority of video game players accept the principle of paying to progress and this gaming mode of play becomes the norm, the risk of seeing the video game grow a form of gambling is essential. It is, therefore, crucial to monitor and analyze the behavior of all players. Between Gaming mode and Gambling style, we need to anticipate changes towards increased spending and an increased risk of addiction in online entertainment.

Video games: a history of money

The global video game turnover has long outpaced that of cinema. And the blockbuster gains of the game are in the hundreds of millions. Grand theft auto V has been sold at 32 million copies.

This immense popularity is also obvious in the emergence of the E-sport phenomenon. Competitions between mediatized and paid video game players. The 2014 DOTA 2 final was sold out in an arena of 10,000 spectators in Seattle. And the winning team received more than $ 5 million in bonuses.
This popularity leads bookmakers to offer bets on E-sport competitions. Hence it brings the world of gaming mode and gambling style closer together.

gaming mode

This, of course, raises the question of the potential attraction for players of such games. Either to participate in paid tournaments and whose registration is not free. Or to bet on specific players because they identify with connoisseurs and would think to maximize their luck. The fundamental differences between gaming mode and gambling style.

There is also a desire among significant development studios to implement gambling sequences in games that are not the primary purpose. In the game Far Cry 3, for example, Ubisoft integrated the possibility for the hero to sit at poker tables and make money. The currency is purely virtual and only allows the character to buy equipment in the game. However, this principle will often represent a way for the player to increase his chances of reaching his goal: new weapons, gadgets, armor, etc.

This process then corresponds to a desire to create an atmosphere in which the player will immerse themselves more easily. We can note that the gambling style is then very often in association with dark aspects. Such as delinquency or organized crime. Beyond the possibility of modeling a credible universe, we can ask ourselves the question of whether these game sequences, obeying the real rules of gambling and money like poker, could not serve as a door for entry for gamers to gambling.

What are the issues for prevention and legislation?

Until now, gaming and gambling prevention was different. Mainly because, at the origin, they not aimed at the same audience. Each of these categories criteria was different. Now that the mechanics of play tend to mix, we can question this way of doing prevention.

In our experience, young people don’t really focus on gambling. Indeed they are not the ones who spend real money on video games. They prefer by far the free aspect. But being influential, the temptation to reach another level is high. And if video gaming mode incorporates addictive elements similar to gambling style, the risk of developing behavioral addictions will have to be taken into account.

In short: Gaming Mode Vs Gambling Style

The very rapid evolution of the world of gaming mode and gambling style raises questions and poses multiple challenges. The strong will of gambling developers is to make their products attractive. And also to conquer new customers by bringing them closer to gaming mode.

On the part of video game developers, introducing gambling and progressive payment mechanisms is a way to increase their income. And with the weight of the video game industry, the appearance of phenomena such as E-sport and online bets bring them closer to gambling. All of these elements inevitably have social, legal and public health implications. Hence we must anticipate and take into account rapidly in prevention and care strategies for online entertainment.

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