This summer GRN member Dr. Tom Brock will be joining Dr. Mark Johnson and others at the University of Alberta to research the relationship between video games and gambling practices.

‘Skin betting’ and ‘loot boxes’ are two example of a new trend in games design called ‘online real money gameplay’ that disguise gambling practices as video gameplay experiences. The research will involve interviewing games designers, analysing game mechanics, and undertaking a ‘state-of-the-art’ policy analysis to examine the motivation and impact of designers’ choices for the future of the gaming industry.

Funding has been provided by Manchester Met, Alberta’s Health Service, and Gambling Research Exchange Ontario. This project will survey industry experts to discuss the local, national and international challenges of regulation and the possibility of a step-change in games design, publishing and marketing strategies.