KARHULAHTI Veli-Matti's profile
avatar

KARHULAHTI Veli-Matti

  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Humanities, Medical Sciences, Social sciences
  • recommender

Recommendations:  3

Reviews:  0

Areas of expertise
Philosophy, psychology, media, technology, qualitative, meta-science

Recommendations:  3

14 Nov 2022
STAGE 2
(Go to stage 1)
article picture

Breaking Ban: Belgium’s ineffective gambling law regulation of video game loot boxes

Loot boxes remain prevalent in Belgium despite their “ban”

Recommended by based on reviews by Andrew Moshirnia, Joseph Macey and Jason Chin
Several countries currently struggle to legally interpret and deal with loot boxes, i.e. gambling-like mechanisms that have become common especially in contemporary videogame design. One of the few countries to take a clear regulation stance is Belgium, which officially announced that they interpret paid loot boxes as games of chance that violate their Gaming and Betting Act and can thus be criminally prosecuted (Naessens 2018). This announcement four years ago laid the basis for a unique social experiment where companies offering loot boxes in Belgium had to decide whether to modify their games, exit the market, or continue to monetize with loot boxes. In the present study, Xiao (2022) investigated the outcomes of this experiment both via hypotheses testing and exploratory analysis.
 
Using the 100 highest-grossing iPhone games in Belgium as data and applying comprehensive qualitative mechanical analysis to each title, Xiao (2022) tested three preregistered hypotheses regarding loot box prevalence. None of the hypotheses were confirmed: the prevalence rate of loot boxes in the Belgian App Store was not null but extremely high (82.0%), also among mobile games designed for minors (54.2–80.2%), and significantly more compared to global standards when assessed by a binomial test (p<.001). Corroborating a fourth hypothesis, Xiao was also able to access various UK loot boxes in Belgium. In exploratory research, Xiao received a confirmation from the Belgian Gaming Commission that even “simulated gambling games” (that do not yield monetary wins) also legally constitute gambling in Belgium.
 
The results are the first to describe outcomes of ban-driven loot box regulation globally. Despite Belgium’s clear statement that “paid loot boxes must be removed from the video games in order to comply with the Belgian Gaming and Betting Act” (Naessens 2018, p. 16), almost all highest-grossing iPhone games in the Belgian App Store keep offering them. The finding is important especially for the legal authorities around the world who are currently assessing their own positions in potential regulation: simple statements are unlikely to have immediate effects on international companies in local markets. On the other hand, it remains unknown how these companies have interpreted the statement and what are their distinct reasons for continuing to offer loot boxes in the Belgian App Store. It would be important in future research to investigate the companies’ perspectives.
 
This study (Xiao 2022) is important also from a meta-scientific perspective. It paves the way for Registered Reports in new disciplines and methods, and involves an exceptional field experiment that was carefully documented with open data and materials. Three external experts reviewed the Stage 2 manuscript twice, based on which the recommender awarded a positive recommendation.
 

URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/5mxp6

Level of bias control achieved: Level 6. No part of the data or evidence that was used to answer the research question existed prior to Stage 1 in-principle acceptance.

List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:

 

References
 
1. Naessens, P. (2018) Research Report on Loot Boxes [English Translation]. Belgian Gaming Commission. URL: https://www.gamingcommission.be/sites/default/files/2021-08/onderzoeksrapport-loot-boxen-Engels-publicatie.pdf
 
2. Xiao, L.Y. (2022) Breaking Ban: Belgium’s ineffective gambling law regulation of video game loot boxes. Stage 2 Registered Report, acceptance of Version 2 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/hnd7w 
05 Aug 2022
STAGE 1
toto

Through the lens of Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD): experiences of a late diagnosis

Developmental Coordination Disorder Diagnosis as Part of Evolving Self-Concepts

Recommended by based on reviews by moin syed, Gill Waters and Catherine Purcell
Although developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder with an estimated prevalence of up to 6% in children (APA, 2013), many DCD diagnoses are not made before late adulthood. Receiving a neurodevelopmental disorder diagnosis has been found adding to people’s self-concepts, for instance, with autism spectrum disorder (Tan, 2018), but it is not well known if and how such events unfold in late DCD diagnoses. In this Stage 1 Registered Report, Topor et al. (2022) present a careful plan to qualitatively investigate the lived experiences of individuals with a late DCD diagnosis in order to map out the variety of emotional responses to diagnoses and their effects on self-concepts.

Topor et al. (2022) will carry out 10–15 semi-structured interviews with participants who received a DCD diagnosis at the age of 30 or after. They commit to realist epistemology when utilizing thematic analysis; namely, instructions have been preregistered for two separate analysts who will code the transcript data independently. At the same time, the methodology involves reflexive components. The authors have prepared strong positionality statements through which their analyses will be carried out with post-analysis reflections to be written at Stage 2. The coding process will explicitly involve a data analysis log that pursues interpretive transparency. The data and materials will be shared, which adds to the work's value in the context of open qualitative psychology in general.   
 
The study will help us better understand the process of receiving (late) DCD diagnoses and, specifically, how the emotional aftermath is potentially related to one’s evolving self-concept. In addition to making a clear contribution to cumulative scientific knowledge, the findings can be useful for professionals working with DCD-diagnosed individuals as well as for the development of related support services. The Registered Report format allowed the research design to be reviewed in three rounds before data collection. Initially, three experts representing developmental psychology and DCD reviewed the Stage 1 manuscript, after which the recommender carried out two iterations with further requested revisions. This was followed by in-principle acceptance.
 
URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/67h3f
 
Level of bias control achieved: Level 6. No part of the data or evidence that will be used to answer the research question yet exists and no part will be generated until after IPA. 
 
List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:
 
 
References
 
1. APA (2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 5th ed, American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC.

2. Tan, C. D. (2018). “I'm a normal autistic person, not an abnormal neurotypical”: Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis as biographical illumination.” Social Science & Medicine, 197, 161-167.
 
3. Topor, M., Armstrong, G., Gentle, J. (2022). Through the lens of Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD): experiences of a late diagnosis, in principle acceptance of Version 4 by Peer Community in Registered Reports. https://osf.io/67h3f
07 Apr 2022
STAGE 1
toto

Breaking Ban: Assessing the effectiveness of Belgium’s gambling law regulation of video game loot boxes

Has the “ban” of loot boxes eliminated them from Belgian mobile games?

Recommended by based on reviews by Andrew Moshirnia, Joseph Macey and Jason Chin
Paid loot boxes, i.e. randomised monetization methods that are similar to lottery-type gambling, have become prominent features of contemporary gaming (e.g., Macey & Bujić, 2022). Because the design structures of loot boxes vary and the value of their virtual rewards is not always clear-cut, many countries now struggle how to deal with them legally and in practice (see Drummond et al., 2020). Belgium is one of the few countries that have officially interpreted loot box monetization to widely belong under gambling regulation. Mobile games that monetize with paid loot boxes in Belgium should thus apply for a gambling license, and companies should generally not offer paid loot boxes to local underage players at all.
 
In this Stage 1 Registered Report, Xiao (2022) has constructed a careful plan for testing whether the “ban” in Belgium has made the local mobile game market distinct in terms of paid loot boxes. The work builds on a rapidly accumulating literature and evolving methods (e.g., Xiao et al., 2021). The author will carry out a systematic qualitative investigation of the country’s top 100 (iPhone) mobile games to investigate whether paid loot box design components have indeed been removed from the products -- and if not, whether related game companies operate with a required gambling license. Additionally, Xiao (2022) will assess Belgium’s overall paid loot box prevalence in comparison to other countries and carry out a field experiment to test whether players can easily circumvent the local regulation by transporting or downloading different versions of software.
 
The study will produce valuable evidence regarding the effectiveness of loot box regulation in general, and more specifically, the results should be of utmost interest to Belgian legal authorities. To ensure the transparency and validity of the chosen methods as well as upcoming interpretations, the registered report format allowed the research design to be reviewed in three rounds before data collection. Three experts, representing the fields of law and gaming, reviewed the Stage 1 manuscript twice and agreed upon the acceptance of all details. Finally, the recommender carried out a third iteration with further requested revisions, which was followed by in-principle acceptance. 
 

URL to the preregistered Stage 1 protocol: https://osf.io/5mxp6

Level of bias control achieved: Level 6. No part of the data or evidence that will be used to answer the research question yet exists and no part will be generated until after IPA.

List of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals:

References

  • Drummond, A., Sauer, J. D., Hall, L. C., Zendle, D., & Loudon, M. R. (2020). Why loot boxes could be regulated as gambling. Nature Human Behaviour, 4(10), 986-988.
  • Macey, J., & Bujić, M. (2022). "The Talk of the Town: Community Perspectiveson Loot Boxes." In Ruotsalainen et al. (eds), Modes of Esports Engagement in Overwatch (pp. 199-223). Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Xiao, L. (2022) “Breaking Ban: Assessing the effectiveness of Belgium’s gambling law regulation of loot boxes.” Stage 1 Registered Report, in principle acceptance of Version 5 by Peer Community in Registered Reports.
  • Xiao, L. Y., Henderson, L. L., Yang, Y., & Newall, P. W. (2021). Gaming the system: suboptimal compliance with loot box probability disclosure regulations in China. Behavioural Public Policy, 1-27.
avatar

KARHULAHTI Veli-Matti

  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Humanities, Medical Sciences, Social sciences
  • recommender

Recommendations:  3

Reviews:  0

Areas of expertise
Philosophy, psychology, media, technology, qualitative, meta-science