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What Is Gacha? Its Appeal And Others Explained

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What Is Gacha?

Gacha usually takes the form of a video game that implements the gacha (toy vending machine) mechanic. With the gacha vending machine, you pick a certain unit from the crowds of toys in the machine. Once you take the item and catch it from the gacha vending machine, that is when you finally know what item you have gotten. 

Like with playing games of chance on online platforms such as Bet88, you never know what you are going to get with gacha. 

As more and more people start the pleasure of gaming on their phones, more games will be taking up real-estate on your phone’s home screen every year. In the online phone game industry, gacha games is one of the highest-growing genres. Most gacha games come from Japan and Asia. Most gacha games share in-game currency schemes. 

Other gacha games that are popular include Fate Grand Order, Genshin Impact, Arknights, and Azur Lane

The Gacha Model

The Gacha Model

Most of the implementers of the Gacha model are free-to-play (F2P) mobile games. The gacha game model usage began during the early 2010s, particularly in Japan. The gacha model is used by most of the highest-grossing mobile games in Japan. It has become an integral part of Japanese mobile game culture.

  • Rolling/Pulling. Gacha games have collectible units. These units consist usually of characters or weapons. You can obtain these units through the gacha mechanic – through rolling or pulling. You can pull individually, or pull in a batch of 10. 
  • Pity. Some gacha games have a pity. Others, however, do not. For example, the Fate Grand Order pity system does not carry from one banner to another, and there is no guaranteed SSR (Super Super Rare) unit. Mihoyo’s gacha games, Honkai Impact, and Genshin Impact, have pity systems. Honkai Impact has a pity of 100 while the limited character banner on Genshin Impact has a guaranteed 5* within 90 pulls. 
  • Banners. The “pools” of available items (characters, loot, cards, etc) that players can “roll” on are the banners on the gacha game. Banners can be either permanent or temporary. Time-limited banners boost the availability of a very rare unit (character and weapon). Usually, the characters and weapons that are time-limited tend to be stronger and produce higher damage outputs compared to characters and weapons available on the permanent banners. 

How Does Gacha Work?

Gacha games have commonalities with collectible card games (CCGs). Like CCGs, the items you can obtain from a gacha roll or spin directly affects how you play and your game progress, especially in a gacha mobile video game. Both collectible card gamers and gacha gamers spend large amounts of money on perfecting their collections and collecting their individual units, whether it is a gacha character or a collectible card. 

In a gacha game like Genshin Impact and Tower of Fantasy, there is an in-game currency system. For a certain amount of in-game currency, you get a corresponding pull.

For example, in Genshin Impact, the in-game currency is the primogem. A ratio of 160 primogems amounts to 1 roll, while 1600 primogems can give you a batch of 10 pulls. These ten pulls usually feature 4-star characters. Whenever you make a roll or pull, in the case of Genshin Impact, you gamble. 

The most common units in a gacha video game are the 3-star items, followed by 4- star items and characters. The rarest unit in the game is the 5-star characters and weapons. In Genshin Impact, the 5-star units are the standard 5-star characters, standard 5-star weapons, and the event-limited 5-star weapon and character units. 

Compared to the standard 5-star selection in characters and weapons, event-limited characters and weapons considerably deal more damage and provide more value for the pull. 

What Makes Gacha Appealing?

Gacha is an appealing experience. The aspects of the gacha experience that make it appealing are: 

  • The thrill. When you roll on gacha, you can play to win. For more casual players, they play to “build pity.” With gacha, you do not know what you are getting with every pull you make. More competitive gamers in gacha, especially, metagamers who spend money to pull the latest 5-star units, play and roll to win more, especially in endgame content. 
  • The stakes. Whenever you gamble via rolling or pulling, you sacrifice in-game currency and your pulls for the chance at an event-limited unit you really want. Despite a guaranteed pity system, you could get your desired rare 5-star unit within those 90 pulls. Some players believe in the concept of “building pity” by pulling till a value nearest 90. However, there is a caveat to “building pity”; you are risking the chance that a 5-star unit can spook your pulls as you pull to build pity. 
  • The novelty. With event-limited units especially brand-new releases, getting the unit is a novelty. When you can play co-op with other gamers, you might even flex your new character. Gacha is also a good stress reliever after a long day of working. Right after a long day of working, you can log onto your gacha game and grind to destress. It gives you something to look forward to, especially if you are someone who enjoys grinding in games and is goal-oriented. 
  • Enjoying your inner child. Lastly, gacha is a way that you can enjoy your inner child, especially for those who pay to play. If you really enjoy dressing up your character the same way you enjoyed dressing your dolls while growing up, you can purchase the limited-edition 5-star cosmetic skins for your characters.      

The Current State of Gacha

Criticisms of Gacha 

Gacha has received its fair share of criticisms.  Gacha games, by their very nature, are highly spontaneous and frequently encourage its players to spend money. As a result, gacha makes them one of the most addictive kinds of microtransactions. Some in the industry have referred to them as a form of gambling without a monetary payout. 

Another criticism about gacha is that in nature, it is considered inherently predatory. Almost everything about gacha is built to prey on impulsive desires. Some of the mechanics range from limited “banners” with special rates, to the casino-like simulation through having you buy gems instead of buying pulls directly.

The criticisms about gacha are:

  • Addictive nature – Gacha is designed to make one spend. To win and level up your progress fast (and even instantly) within gacha games, some players prefer to spend money on the game. In endgame content such as Honkai and Genshin’s Abyss, some of the content in the endgame mechanics will favor and be tailored specifically for units that are currently event-limited and are up right now on the gacha banner.

    As a result, the ideal unit you need to use so that you can clear the endgame content has to be the character unit who is on the current event banner. This can lead players to pulling for the character in the hopes that they can clear the endgame content. Gacha games use such mechanics for players to spend money on its gambling aspects, and in the longer term, keep spending.
  • Bad rates – Gacha rates tend to be hit or miss. Other companies tend to be more generous with rates, such as Azur Lane while others like Fate Grand Order do not have a pity. 
  • Comparison to gambling – Similar to gambling, gacha games require you risk in-game currency for winning for a time-limited rare unit or weapon. In addition, gacha and gambling are related to probability. Unlike gambling, however, gacha has a pity system. 
  • Expensive – For instant progress and to keep up with the novelty of having new units in-game, you must pay to play. Another word for paying to play is whale. Whales progress faster in the game compared to those who are free to play and low spenders. However, free to play and low spenders can improve their in-game progress, in the case of Genshin Impact, by doing artifact routes to speed up strengthening their unit characters. 
  • Toxicity – Fandoms can be unpopular due to their toxicity. There are plenty of reasons behind the toxicity, such as differing character opinions, and unwarranted statements about character personal damage and kit. When it comes to new units being released, some key thought opinion leaders can make statements that are misleading about them, and this can attract backlash from members of the community playing the game. 

Playing Gacha Responsibly 

It is possible to enjoy gacha. After all, too much of a good thing can be bad and that applies to gacha. Ways that you can responsibly enjoy in moderation are: 

  • Set a budget limit – Setting a budget limit ensures that you give a small portion of your money to the game. It also prevents you from overspending. With your set budget, you can utilize what you have and use it to pull the unit you most want or need in your game. 
  • Pull within the last 3 days of the banner – When you make rolls in a gacha game, you need in-game currency. Before you can pull your wallet to spend on possible rolls, it is better to wait before the last 3 days of the banner because by that time, you would have accumulated in-game currency to reach a number of pulls. If your pulls can get you your guaranteed and desired unit, then you get to save money. 
  • Take breaks – Tired from grinding? Feeling immense pressure to get the newest 5-star? Then it is time that you take a break. Some gacha games are grindy in nature, which makes an occasional break from it even more important.