Former EA executive Peter Moore says Ultimate Team Lootboxes are closer to “Surprise and Delight” than gambling. So I decided to take a look at the origins and history of these “Surprise and Delight” mechanics. This includes publishers and developers hiring psychologists, neuroscientists, and marketing experts to add as many addictive elements to their loot box systems as possible. And implementing what video game designers call it the “Skinner Box mechanics” Skinner Box Mechanics in video games trains you the player to come back by some sort of reward loop.
The best way I can explain it is like a rat that needs to pull a lever, and when the level is pulled the rat gets a treat. The rat would learn that pushing the lever more frequently would mean more food, and push it more and more. Eventually, the food reward is reduced, but the rat will continue pulling the lever expecting more food. And that is how these loot boxes work. It’s literally operating conditioning in a nutshell.