What Aspects of Gacha Games Keep the Players Engaged?
Abstract: Numerous papers examine the relationship between gacha mechanics and gambling, however, few enquire about what attracts players to gacha games. This is the focus of this thesis, asking players, from their perspective, what are the elements of gacha games that keep them engaged. It also queries why, after having stopped playing gacha games for a period of time, players return to these games. Data was gathered through semi-structured interviews with five players who play gacha games at least 20 hours a week and who took a break from these games for at least one month. Results indicate that players are initially attracted to gacha games due to their aesthetic and that players value narrative elements associated with the games and the gacha characters. Interestingly, the gacha mechanic itself was not pointed out as the reason for engaging with the game, rather it is used as a means to acquire a desired ingame item. Nonetheless, strong emotional attachment is associated with successful and unsuccessful pulls; a low amount of pulls to acquire a desired character or item is described as a strong joyful memory, whereas not being able to acquire the desired gacha character or item despite a large number of pulls is associated with intense frustration and sadness. Collectionism was pointed out by players as a motivation for acquiring gacha items, with players placing a higher value on items they need to complete their collection rather than necessarily on high-rated game items. The results also indicate that burnout can occur when a game stops or slows the release of new content, eventually leading players to stop playing that game.
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