Explaining the Gacha Game craze
by Ashley Robinson

You may have seen people on social media talking about the release of a Japanese single player role playing fighting game (that was a mouthfull), Genshin Impact. It follows the usual cast of anime characters with oversized swords and magical abilities fighting monsters and saving the world. There’s a chance you’re interested in the stylized artwork or maybe this holds no interest for you what so ever, but it does bring with it a new genre to western gamers. If you aren’t familiar with the term Gacha, you may be confused by the mechanics of Genshin Impact, or other titles that work in a similar way.

First of all, the Gacha itself. A Gacha machine is a form of gambling – every time you put money into it, you get a prize. The good prizes are mixed in with the bad prizes, so you’re guaranteed to pull something every time you put money in. This might sound familiar if you’ve used loot boxes, but we’ll get back to that.

You might have seen some in an arcade

The way this is implemented in the Gacha games is simple yet addicting. In Genshin Impact, you have a roster of characters, all ranging in abilities and power levels. Rolling the Gacha, or ‘Dreams’, will give the player a bunch of useless in game junk and, if you’re lucky, a character. The useless junk will be used to level up your weapons and trinkets while duplicate characters level up their copy. This means it’s impossible not to get stronger when using the gacha system.

Often, the Gacha roll system is possible to open without spending any money. These games are usually shipped as free to play, with the expectation that you’ll spend money every now and then to use the Gacha system in place as a form of subscription, in order to stay competitive with other players. Depending on your own morals, this might be perfectly fine or akin to stealing from children. Either way, it’s hard not to think of Loot boxes. CSGO crates, for example, will more than often reward you with a rubbish skin worth under three pence. The allure to opening these is the coveted special item – knives or gloves that can be worth hundreds of pounds.

Hopefully you know better understand the Gacha mechanic used in some Japanese games. What do you think, justified or evil? Let us know on Twitter!