Amelia Wilson 2023-07-10 07:30

Gotcha with Gacha: A Deep Dive into the Wallet-Draining World of Gacha Games

Greetings, fellow mobile gamers! Ever wondered why some people spend virtual fortunes pursuing rare characters in gacha games? I mean, let's be real – who wouldn't want those elusive five-star draws, right? But at what cost? Well, grab your gacha coins and fasten your seat belt, folks. We're about to embark on a thrilling quest to decode the irresistible allure of gacha games. Tread carefully, though - this journey may be as unpredictable as your next gacha pull!

Gacha Games – Playing with Psychology

Gacha games masterfully leverage our psychological quirks to become irresistible attractions.

  • The Thrill of Randomness

According to a study by Derevensky et al., the thrilling uncertainties of gacha mimic the enticing unpredictability of gambling. Like cracking open a mystery box or playing the lottery, you can't resist the impulsive joy of mystery. Child psychologist Derevensky thinks that humans are hardwired to be captivated by random rewards, an enthralling attribute intricately woven into gacha games.

  • The Joy of Collection

Gacha games bank on our innate love of collecting. A study by King and Delfabbro identifies completion impulse as a significant driving factor encouraging players towards in-app purchases. The desire to complete sets, collect a series or just own the 'complete work' is a strong motivating factor – King and Delfabbro revealed in their study.

Money-Where-The-Mouth-Is: The Financial Commitments of Gacha Players

Demographics and income indisputably play a part in the gacha spending extravaganza.

  • Disposable Income and Gacha Spending

A Nielsen surveys found that young adults with sizeable disposable income emerge as the top spenders in mobile gaming, including gacha games.

According to Nielsen surveys, 18-34-year-olds are more likely to make mobile gaming purchases, having more disposable income and a desire for in-game boosts for progression. 

  • Gender and Gacha Spending

Drummond and Sauer's research identified men as the most generous spenders, majorly deriving from competitive multiplayer features seen in several gacha games. Competition offers men the opportunity to validate their skills, proving fertile ground for increased in-game spending, Drummond and Sauer say.

Gacha Craze - Asia Takes the Lead

Where's the gacha craze most prominent, you ask? All fingers point to Asia.

  • Japan and the Birth of Gacha

Traditionally a Japanese phenomenon, gacha games have garnered significant momentum worldwide. Newzoo's report asserts that Japan's mobile gamers spend the most dollars per player, largely on gacha games. According to Newzoo, Japan remains the country with the highest spending per mobile gamer, at $41.50 Yearly.

  • China and South Korea Follow Close

Both China and South Korea have seen massive upsurges in gacha game popularity, indicating the broad appeal of these games in Asia. China is fast catching up with Japan in the gacha game race with the highest number of gacha games in top grossers (Niko Partners).    

The Gacha and Gambling Connection

A significant controversy encircling gacha games is the parallel drawn with gambling. Are these pixel-packed spins of luck gambling in disguise?

Dr. Zendle's research suggests that spending on loot boxes and gacha indulges in games is linked with gambling. Dr.Zendle thinks that there may be a link between the amount that video game players spend on loot boxes and the severity of problem gambling.

In response to the rising concerns over gambling parallels, Japan significantly tightened gacha game regulations in 2012, setting a precedent for other countries.

From luxurious trips and fancy cars, we've now entered an era where players splurge on shiny pixelated waifus! As enchanting as the world of gacha games might seem, it's essential to keep one foot grounded in reality. Remember, fellow gamers, to game responsibly. Enjoy that delightful dopamine rush as you pull a rare character- but draw the line before it pulls out every dollar from your wallet!


  1. Derevensky, J.L., Sklar, A., Gupta, R. & Messerlian, C. (2010). An Empirical Study Examining the Impact of Gambling Advertisements on Adolescent Gambling Attitudes and Behaviors. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 8, 21-34.
  2. King, D., & Delfabbro, P. (2018). Predatory monetization schemes in video games (e.g. 'loot boxes') and internet gaming disorder. Addiction, 113(11), 1967-1969.
  3. Nielsen (2021). Nielsen 360 Gaming Report U.S. [PDF file]. Retrieved from
  4. Drummond, A. & Sauer, J.D., (2018). Video game loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling. Nature Human Behaviour, 2(8), 530-532.
  5. Newzoo Global Mobile Market Report (2021). [PDF file]. Retrieved from
  6. Niko Partners, (2021). The Digital Games Market in China 2021. [Online]. Available at:
  7. Zendle, D., & Cairns, P. (2018). Video game loot boxes are linked to problem gambling: Results of a large-scale survey. PloS one, 13(11), e0206767.

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