Have you heard of gacha games yet?
The craze that started off in Japan is now spreading all over the world. Whether you have a mobile device, console or PC, you can join in and play. Gacha games are available everywhere and are suitable for all different demographics. If it sounds like “gotcha,” it might be it bears no relation. However, they do tend to get a grip on players with the addictive nature of the games (as we’ll explain below).
If you’re new to these, let’s dive into what they are and how they’ve grown so dramatically in recent years.
What Is Considered A Gacha Game?
To start off, let’s explain what gacha means. Gacha relates to Gachapon, which was an old-school Japanese vending machine. The machine would dispense plastic toys that were very popular for their time.
Nowadays, it means something a little different. A gacha game needs to have a certain system that allows you to claim an in-game asset through a draw. If that’s part of the mechanics of the game, then it would, in fact, be considered gacha.
There are other exceptions to this as well, such as if the game has a loot box due to it being similar to a lottery. Sometimes, gacha mechanics aren’t really all that focal to the game itself. It could just be something in the background that’s used rather than being centered as the premise of the game you’re playing.
Lastly, most gacha games will have a points system, which indicates where you are in your progression. Basically, you aren’t going to be able to keep doing things in the game to reap immediate benefits – you will need to reach a certain level of progress before you can start to see results again.
What Has Made Gacha Games So Popular?
Gacha games have drastically risen over the years since the genre’s introduction, and there are a few reasons for that. To start, there’s a daily reward that people get addicted to. Just kind of like when you open up Instagram to see what’s there or TikTok to see what’s new, you get rewarded for logging into gacha games daily.
People love tapping the app to open a box or revealing a scratch-off. For example, if you’re opening loot boxes in a specific game, you are constantly excited to see what is inside the box that you were given. The same goes for toy vending machines, as you are just hoping for a great reward at the end.
Solid gameplay elements mixed with these emotions that come with gacha games have made them tremendously rewarding for the people who play them.
What Are Some Popular Gacha Games?
There is rampant debate about what the best gacha games are at the moment. We’re not going to delve too deeply into that, but we’ll go over some popular ones.
The first would be Genshin Impact. Genshin Impact is a role-playing game filled with anime-style action. They pulled in roughly $3 billion in profits in just one year since its launch to the public, so you can see that people love to play and spend in that game. No other game has been able to bring in that much revenue in its first year.
Another game that you might know is Fate/Grand Order. This is a combat-based game where players take turns, like a traditional RPG. In 2018, this was the sixth-highest ranked mobile game in terms of revenue, and it continues to be among the tops of the market.
Some other popular games that people love include Raid: Shadow Legends, Pokemon Masters EX, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, and Epic Seven.
Is Gacha Considered A Form Of Gambling?
One of the hottest topics of conversation relating to these games is whether they’re a form of gambling.
The truth is that there isn’t a concrete answer to this, because many people see it in different ways. For the most part, think of gacha as just a game where you spend money and are rewarded with in-game prizes like weapons or character skins. However, the reason many view this as gambling is because these in-game prizes actually have value and in some cases can be sold to make money. So, you might be investing to play to specifically make money – as we’ve seen in other games.
However, this isn’t really gambling. In many of these games, you get a prize regardless, even if you don’t like the reward you get. You’re not playing a slot machine or betting on sports.
There used to be a mechanic in Japan called Kompu gacha, or “complete gacha,” which would allow players to grind rewards and combine them for a far larger grand prize. Because some players didn’t technically get rewards all the time as they prepared to get to the larger prize, it flirted with the line of gambling far too much for it to stand. That was when the Japanese Consumer Affairs Agency was forced to step in and ban that mechanic to stop it from being used.
When it becomes a coordinated effort and there’s big money to be made, that’s when some of this can be viewed as gambling. Generally speaking, it’s just basic video gaming.
Are Gacha Games Safe For Kids?
A lot of parents worry about whether gacha games are suitable for their kids to be able to play and have fun without getting addicted. The way that these games are played makes it seem like kids shouldn’t play them. The main reason is not so much the gambling aspect of it but the addiction to rewards. Do you want your kids to be stuck on their phones daily? Many already have problems putting their mobile devices down, so getting young kids hooked on this doesn’t help. It also teaches them that they’ll get rewarded by playing, so they’ll keep coming back.
If your kids understand discipline and only play from time to time, it’s probably harmless, just like any other form of gaming. As a parent, you just want to try to limit the negative effects that your children have with these games.
Think of it as a game that needs to be played responsibly – set time and monetary limits. You can also turn off the purchases that require real-world money, to avoid blowing a bunch of cash that they or you weren’t expecting.
You can take the opportunity to bond with your kids to play these games together with them. You might even find them enjoyable. If one of your kids downloads a type of gacha game, you could download it and play it with them, so that you know exactly what’s happening in the game. That way, you can be better involved and understand their experience.
Overall, they are mostly harmless, but remember that the key to life is everything in moderation. Same goes with gacha games.