Catching the Unlikely Gambler: How and Why Gacha Games Appeal to High Conscientious Consumers

  • Jingyi ZHANG (Speaker)

Activity: Talks or PresentationsOther Invited Talks or Presentations


Gacha games, often featuring Japanese anime-style characters and designs, are characterized by their eponymous gacha mechanism, wherein players obtain random virtual items using in game currency purchasable with real-world money. While scoring significant market success, gacha games are frequently likened to gambling by critics due to their chance-based purchase system. Despite this gambling-like feature, here we identify a paradoxical attraction of gacha games for individuals high in conscientiousness, a trait typically linked to self-discipline and gambling aversion. Through five behavioral experiments involving actual gacha game players, we consistently found that higher conscientiousness correlates with increased gacha game engagement, as captured by the acquisition of in-game items, spending, and intentions for future gacha pulls. We further discovered that this is because gacha pulls are typically viewed as avenues for achievement rather than a form of gambling, hereby appealing to conscientious consumers. Our findings also rule out the alternative explanation that conscientious players are drawn to the order and structure embodied in in-game items. Taken together, this research reveals an unexpected personality trait predicting gacha game engagement, challenging conventional views of conscientiousness as a deterrent to indulgence and overspending. In so doing, we enhance the field’s understanding of consumer perception and behavior in this unique game genre. Additionally, this study helps identify populations vulnerable to gacha games, offering insights for policymaking.
Period19 Apr 2024
Event titlePostgraduate Seminar Series
Event typePublic Lecture