A gacha game is a type of video game that uses the mechanics of a toy vending machine. In a toy vending machine, you drop a coin or token and then manipulate a crane to pick up a toy. You must drop this toy in a bin to get it. Today, there are many video games that use the same mechanics, some of which we will discuss in a bit.
What is a Gacha?
The word gacha is a variation of “Got you!” In vending machines, people tend to exclaim “Gotcha!” if they succeeded in getting the toy.
In a video game, gacha is primarily used to receive an item at random. This is a variation of the loot box, which serves as a motivation for a player to keep on playing. Gacha games are mostly free-to-play mobile games, and they are really popular in Korea, Japan and China.
In mobile games, a gacha is an item that players would love to own. Examples of these are cards, characters and items of value that are either rare or expensive. The most common method to get one is to spin a wheel or choose from several boxes. After the selection, the wheel or box would reveal the prize of the player.
To get a gacha, a player must either meet some conditions or use the in-game currency. Some items can only be obtained from spinning a wheel or playing the gacha mechanic. Sometimes, no amount of grinding or skill will ever release that character or item—the player has to spend in-game currency to get it.
If the player has no in-game currency, they have the option to buy it with real cash. The sad thing about many gacha games is that the items are random. This business model received controversy before, with many people claiming it is a form of gambling, like roulette or slots that you see in casinos such as GGBet online.
Types of Gacha
There are several types of gacha, but they all share the same principles of the vending machine.
- Complete – you complete a set of common items and merge them to become a rare item.
- Box – you get better items as you play more gacha. What this means is you have to spend more in-game currency.
- Redraw – you can re-try the gacha mechanic if the first one failed to yield favourable results. Some of these rerolls are free, while some require in-game currency.
- Trade – you need to gather several items in a set and then trade that with the computer AI for a better item.
- Consecutive – you spend in-game currency in huge amounts to improve the chances of getting great items. More money spent equals more opportunities to do the gacha round.
- Step-up – your chances of winning rare items increase if you play the gacha round many times.
- Open and closed – a kind of gacha where the player sees the probability of an item. For example, the player sees three cards, two of which have common items, and one has great items. The cards rotate face-down, and the player has to choose one. The choice reveals whether or not the player gets the best item or not.
Gacha Game Examples
Here are some examples of popular gacha games.
- Genshin Impact – a free-to-play game where you explore the world. You can unlock characters and weapons if you use the in-game currency. What’s good about the game is that you can complete it without spending a cent.
- Epic Seven – this is an RPG game that was released back in 2018. It is a turn-based game that has anime-style graphics. The gacha mechanic here is generous: you can boost your character’s equipment and rating with it. The gacha is called a “Summon,” which you use only once per day.
- Pokémon Masters EX – released in 2019, players have to collect Pokémon creatures and upgrade them. They need to fight in Pokémon battels and earn the title of Pokémon Masters League Champion. The gacha mechanic here allows players to get better Pokémon characters. What this means is that as a player, you do not get to start with the best and most favoured Pokémon characters.
Gacha has become a staple of game developers. They found out that it is far better to offer this mechanic to players than a straightforward purchase of an item. The reason being is that the randomness still makes the game “equal” and fair.
However, the same mechanic has drawn flak and criticisms worldwide. It becomes an addicting activity because some players will not stop spending in-game currency until they get the items that they desire. As a result of this addiction, some players spend a ton of money on these games.
Gacha is an exciting game model because of one factor - randomness. People love the feeling of being lucky. However, this was deemed by some legislative bodies to be akin to gambling, without telling the player that they are gambling. Some countries have banned some forms of gacha to protect players from spending a fortune on these games, while some are still contemplating on what steps to take.