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So-called “lootboxes,” have recently developed into a quasi-standard for online gaming. Lootboxes are digital single-use containers, containing random items, which can be used to change the appearance of a player’s online persona or to progress faster through the game. Lootboxes are awarded for specific achievements (e.g., playing a certain number of hours) inclining players to play many hours and take on increasingly difficult tasks. Through the lens of gamification, lootboxes offer a new approach to shape user motivation and behavior. In this study, an online experiment with 414 participants was conducted to investigate the potential of lootboxes as a gamification element. Two lootbox designs were tested against awarding badges and a control treatment (no gamification) in a non-game context. Our results indicate that lootboxes, containing changes to the nature of a task (e.g., making it easier), show great potential to motivate users and increase performance.



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