Here is my response:
Many video games utilize gambling strategies to reward gamers, for instance, kill boss and receive a random drop. These random drops can be rare items that have real monetary value, sometimes thousands of dollars. Gamers place incredible worth on rare drops in the game as it requires extensive time to acquire these rare items. Gamers will kill the same boss and run the same dungeons over and over again to attain valuable loot. While there is skill involved, there is also a lot of chance because the random drops of "legendary items" occur very seldomly (i.e. less than 1% drops). If video game design is similar to games of chance seen in casinos, then would it not make sense that certain individuals can develop impulse disorders with video games, similar to people who become addicted to gambling? People are stating they want to be "professional gamers" and make a living selling their accounts, virtual items, and virtual gold! The most popular games are the MMORPGs, having tens of millions of players, and all employ the above variable reward strategies similar to slot machines.
I am speaking from personal experience of selling and buying virtual items from games like Diablo on eBay. My Windforce bow was worth about $200 on eBay and when I saw the drop, the excitement and rush from seeing the legendary bow drop after killing the boss was intense and incredible! The feeling and rush are VERY similar to winning a jackpot at the casinos.
My colleagues have sold their World of Warcraft and Diablo accounts for $5000 to $10,000+. The more valuable items (which are obtained in random-reward style similar to slots) are associated with the accounts, the more they are worth. In fact, World of Warcraft generates over $100 million in black market sales for virtual gold, currency used in game to purchase these valuable, virtual items.
Numerous video games are more similar to gambling than the author realizes; thus, as a recovered addicted gamer, I respectfully disagree with the statement that Video Games are NOT similar to gambling. Many video games are designed with gambling strategies, and thus, people can develop "video game addiction" similar to "gambling addiction".
Andrew Doan, MD, PhD