The hidden intricacy of loot box design: A granular description of random mone-tized reward features

Ballou Nick Gbadamosi Charles Zendle David
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

While loot boxes are frequently treated as a monolithic feature of games by re-searchers and policymakers, loot box implementations are not uniform: the features of loot boxes vary widely from game to game in ways that may have important consequences for player spending and behavior. In this work, we attempt to illustrate the nuance present in loot box implementation in a preliminary Loot Box Features model (LoBoF v0.1). Using our lived experience, a qualitative coding exercise of 141 games, and consultation with an industry professional, we identify 32 categorical features of loot box-like mechanics that might be expected to influence player behavior or spending, which we group into 6 domains: point of purchase, pulling procedure, contents, audiovisual presentation, unpaid engagement, and social. We conclude with a discussion of potential implications of this wide variation in loot box design for researchers, regulators, and players.


We are Alone but not Alone – Exploring Motivations for Paying Others to Playing Video Games Together

Cao Yahui
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

The paid co-playing practice is a form of transaction in which gamers pay co-players to play video games with them, which indicates that gamers as customers demand playing video games with others. The majority of the previous study reveals that social factor is one of the motivations for playing video games, while few research goes deeper to focus on the motivation for playing video games with others especially in the payment transaction. This study adopts digital ethnography with data collecting from online forums to investigate the motivations for using the paid co-playing service to play video games with others. Three motivations were identified as advancing ingaming experience, decreasing emotional cost, and gaining emotional satisfaction. This study provides the foundation to understand the pattern of co-playing in the paid coplaying practices and enriches related research on motivations of social gaming behavior.


What the spectator expects in the game of watching:, materiality, and game consumption through and beyond spectatorship

Coema Dara
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

Understanding streaming platforms as capable of supporting and promoting new languages, trends, and online consumption practices, this article relates game media itself to cultural phenomena and social processes around play-watch activities in game streams on Analyzing the materiality (structure, affordances, socio-technical and economic aspects) of the leading platform in the live streaming market, we carry out a preliminary understanding of how these digital territories influence and harbor experiences of watching and playing games. Addressing the tools and uses of, we present concepts that help us understand practices within the community that transcend watching and modify gaming – the sociability in participatory communities of play (Hamilton et al. 2014), the co-creation in multiplayer entertainment (Shear 2019), and the interactivity and agency in crossplay –, as well as the role of the industry and its neoliberal agenda on shaping game spectatorship and domesticating subversive conducts in the game of watching.


The Consumption of Food at Video Game Events

Law Ying-Ying
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

This paper develops the discussion from a completed ethnographic PhD thesis (Law 2016); it draws on the data gathered from interviews, focus groups and participant observations to consider the consumption of food at video game events. To date, there is still little empirical research conducted on video gamers that attend various video game events; in particular, the relationship between the consumption of food at video game events. Though it was not the intention of the research to explore the consumption of food amongst video gamers, the subsequent analysis of this data highlighted patterns in relation to the consumption of food amongst male and female gamers at video game events. This paper argues that the consumption of food provided a social significance to connect gamers together through ritual practices, such as eating and drinking together – which little has been explored within games studies.


Eliciting Affective Responses Through Sentient Encounters in a Farming Computer Game

Sutherland Lee-Ann
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

Farming computer and video games embed a wide range of emotive and culturally idealised tropes and encounters. In this paper, ‘non-representational’ theory is utilised to assess the mechanisms through which affective responses are elicited in computer gameplay, applied to a case study of Stardew Valley. Analysis focuses on sentience: interactions with in-game livestock and local community members. Game mechanisms incentivise routine, daily interactions with livestock, linking affection expressed by livestock to farm productivity and financial gains and leading to a sense of responsibility for livestock welfare. In contrast, human interactions involve sporadic, discovery and reveal-based encounters. By staging these contrasting ‘worlds of affect’ in-game, Stardew demonstrates how an affectively rich landscape can be created through sentient encounter, and how the ‘work’ of grafting embedded in gameplay yields a range of affective responses.