ABOVE: Wild Bedrosian is pictured here in a rare Gacha outfit she spent L$8,000 to acquire and when asked, she said she’d have kept going to obtain it. This photo was taken by Inka Mexicola.
We were curious what others had to say about Gacha and wanted to gain as true a sampling as possible. So … we sent out an anonymous survey (blind survey) to many players of gacha’s and designers who create the products that go in those adorable little machines.
I always had a question about gachas: what do people think about it.
Less than 2 years ago, I didn’t know what gacha was and when I learned about The Arcade, I ran, not walked, to get there and… OMG! It was just like when I was young, playing games in arcades! The difference now being, that I get a little gift each time I pay the machine — WOW! For sure I wanted the rare item. I consistently played until I would get it. After that, it was off to the next machine to do the same, until I played them all. Shame on me! I spent L$15,000 that visit. Sometimes I would spend more, sometimes less each time I went and I began to wonder if other people are like me, or, was there something wrong with me?!? I had to know, so I began to ask around.
The world of Gacha became, in time, a huge market, expanding to include yard-sales where people resold their duplicates and unwanted items. Some of these yard-sales have over 250 tables or more. When I take a peek in one group, I have to count the members by the thousands.
Ok, so now we have an idea how popular Gacha is and I haven’t even brought up the events themselves where sometimes it takes days just to find room on the sim enter the event.
By the time I had to compete this article, 21 people had responded to my blind survey, what a luck! I wish I had more, but let’s go with what this group thinks as a sampling.
When asked if they think they are addicted to Gacha: half of the respondents consider themselves addicted and play gacha daily. The other half say they are not but they mention the machines are addictive. One person told me he/she she plays gacha based entirely on his/her budget. (I wish I could do that!) One person said that he/she would pay up to L$3,000 for an item he/she really wants.
So, what are they doing with the hundreds of items they get after each event? OMG, I try to resell mine but without success…. maybe I should follow their advice. Most of them simply give them away as gifts. Other’s try to resell them, but I wonder if they can make money out of it. I was almost sure of the response. Most of the players are not making money out of gacha resales. A few of them that I consider lucky, however, can get their money back when reselling. I also got a response that made me wish I were them: “No. I have over L$3 million – I dont need to make any money – this is what I do for fun.” Should I believe this? Three million lindens! Get your vibe on in 2015 with Nu Vibez and Roleplay Guide. Oh boy! I just don’t want to convert it into real life money.
Maybe I could buy a real life car with that?
Ohhh I love this next question! Why are you playing gacha? Most of them are because of the great items they can get in the gacha machines or they tell me that it’s the only way to get some of the items they really want. Sometimes the response was that the trill of gambling makes them happy. One answer surprised me: he/she is playing because they’re bored. For my part, I wonder, why go to a gacha event then when there is so much to do on SL?!?
Are we able to stop playing gacha? Most of them say they are. One said that if there was another way to get the item they wanted, other than the gacha machine, he/she would simply buy it. But then again, isn’t that what the gacha yard-sales are for! Here’s a funny response: ”yes because they make me angry”.
Can people be in serious trouble because of gacha? One respondent feels this is an emphatic yes and said, “I have been saying for a long time that I think gacha is just like gambling and many people probably have more trouble than they will admit or realize.” On the opposite side, one respondent said to me: “That’s a stupid Question. Gacha no more causes addiction than beer CAUSES alcoholism.”
Some players confirm that they would like to have help with this gacha addiction problem. “Yes. I know people that have gone into thousands and thousands of credit card debt due to their gacha addiction.” Another person asked, “Is there some support for gambling, because thats basically what it is when you play a machine. You’re gambling that you will get the item or items you want.” And yet another shared, “There are resources outside of SL for gambling addiction – these should be used too. But it might help to have resources in SL too.”
I wonder, are there any addiction specialists or psychologists in Second Life who might like to help those who want it?
Most of the people say they have no problem skipping a gacha event when asked, stating “I go to every event. It’s a machine that I will choose to play or not based on its merit. If I have no interest in the products, then I do not bother.” Another person said: “Most of the time I like to go to yard-sales to find gacha stuff, because on a machine it’s too easy to lose track of what you spent or to spend too much trying to get a rare.” One person who can’t avoid gacha events said: “Currently…no [problem skipping]. But I know I have mental health issues currently and gacha creates the false sense of achievement I currently need.” From this, we can see it’s not a pleasure for everyone to play gacha.
What about the designers who fill those oh-so-tempting Gacha Machines? What is their opinion about gacha?
Here are the answers to our second blind survey.
Is gacha consuming a lot of time you otherwise would use to work on new items for your main store?
“Events in general are removing a lot of time on work for new items in my main store. In fact, I don’t do much in terms of main store releases because customers prefer to shop events.”
Another designer said: “No, not a problem. I have very few gachas a year.”
Is making gacha items worth it for you? Does it bring you more or less money than regular sales from your store?
“It depends on what I make and where I release it. But personally, I don’t feel like it is worth my time because it ends up being very stressful and time consuming in general. Sometimes I’ll make more than a regular release, sometimes I will not.
Even if it makes more than a regular release, in terms of time in vs. pay out, it probably is about the same. Instead of one gacha, I could do 2-3 releases and make whatever I made on the gacha (provided it is popular, I’ve done gachas that don’t do as well as my regular releases).”
One designer said that its really worth it to make gacha items and that it gives him/her more money than a regular release in his/her main store.
Another designer said: “Not sure, we are still figuring that out – but it does take a lot of our time to make one gacha set. […] As a designer – I’m still not sure if we will be doing gachas often – it takes much much more of our time than regular items and we are yet not sure if that is worth it.”
Does gacha help you to have your store known by more customers?
“I don’t know, possibly. I don’t think it’s key, unless you’re in something like The Arcade.“
Please share your opinion about gacha with our readers.
“I think the gachas have flooded the grid with stuff. Stuff that can’t really be re-sold anymore. If I make a hard gacha, which I’m sure most people do (multiple rares, lots of commons, sets of different things), it will take me a huge amount of time and I don’t think it’s necessarily worth it.
Overall, I hope people begin to stop playing so there are less gacha-centric events and less demand. I feel like the low price point devalues the time spent on the machine itself and consumers are starting to expect to get whatever the common is for L$50 or L$75. So they’re [gatchas] probably hurting regular sales in general.
Additionally, the overall belief is that gachas in a gacha event will make a ton. So event prices are starting to skyrocket for gacha events and other events as well. I’m sure there are people in these events that barely make the entry fee back, especially when there are over 100+ gachas to choose from. At the end of the day, the customer might be addicted, but it’s the maker who’s getting the short end of the stick on both ends. High entry fees, high time investment, low rate of return, slowing regular sales, lowering overall prices on regular releases, and disinterest in paying ‘full price’ for most items is where all this craziness has got us.”
Another designer stated: “I feel customers are satisfied with gacha as long as seeing their reactions and its large sales.”
And finally, the last designer quoted told us: “I am ambivalent around gachas, I wish I could sell both a gacha version and the whole set copy no trans, so people that don’t like gachas could also get the things.”
Regardless of what any of us thinks or believes about this amazing phenomenon, one thing is for sure, there are A LOT of people playing and a lot of designers creating. Just like gacha of the real world, which started in the 1960’s and is still going strong, as long as their are rewards, their will be those willing to sink their hard earned money in!