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


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.