You probably have heard the term “Gacha game” thrown around more and more. Whether you know what it means or not, you are here for a reason more likely than not: To learn more about them.
Well, worry not, we are here to explain not only what Gacha games are but also why they matter, why you might enjoy them, share some of the best titles, and more!
Mobile gaming has experienced exponential growth over the past years, surpassing PC and console gaming to become the top-grossing gaming segment.
While this achievement has surprised some experts in the industry and gamers who traditionally underestimated mobile gaming, this success was really just a matter of time.
As technology advances, smartphones and mobile devices offer increasingly powerful features that make quality gaming a real possibility. Long are the days when mobile gaming was limited to games like Snake or the eventual hit “Creatures of the Deep ”.
Today, mobile gamers can play high-quality titles like Wild Rift, Call of Duty, Genchin Impact, and PUBG, leading to an increasing number of gamers and non-gamers joining the space.
This rise in popularity has created a cycle in which popular game studios are now interested in catering to the needs of mobile gamers, further increasing the number of people joining.
However, there is a specific segment of the mobile game market that has benefited from and led this growth more than any other: Gacha games. This type of game has not only captivated millions of people around the world but also allowed developers of all levels to make their ideas a reality.
Let’s start with the basics: what is a Gacha game?
What Are Gacha Games?
You can think of Gacha games as a gamified version of the traditional Gashapon vending machine popular in Japan and all around the world.
If you don’t know what a Gachapon is, it is because you might know these as capsule toys or similar names.
This type of toy has been around for more than 50 years all around the world, providing kids (and adults) with all sorts of fun by combining uncertainty and the toy itself.
If you have ever used a Gachapon vending machine, you are familiar with the ritual: Put the coin, rotate the lever, see your capsule roll down, feel the uncertainty, open it, see your reward, and play with it.
Whether you are a super fan of this type or not, it is impossible to deny it is not an exhilarating and interesting experience. This is why many developers have opted to base their games on this mechanic, offering players a new aspect to enjoy when playing them.
Now, if you are a gamer, you might now be thinking that “Gacha game” is just a term to describe games using Loot Boxes. This is not the case.
Are Gacha Games Loot Boxes?
Loot Boxes have become one of the most popular, yet controversial, mechanics in the world of gaming.
No matter if you are in games like Animal Crossings: Pocket Camp, League of Legends, PUGB, or Fifa, you surely have interacted with them at some point.
Over the years, this mechanic has become increasingly controversial due to being considered “predatory” and “gambling”, making ripples across the media and the industry.
When you think of games like “Star Wars: Battlefront II”’, which sparked controversy due to its particular use of Loot Boxes, you will find that Lootboxes are not integral to the experience. This means that players are not in the game due to their interest in the mechanic.
These games also tend to either limit their Loot Boxes to cosmetic changes or use them as a honeypot by including overpowered in-game items in them to lure players.
Gacha games, on the other hand, make Gachas an integral part of their core gameplay. If you take Genshin Impact as an example, all players receive the same characters to play with.
However, players have the chance to expand their roster by getting Gachas without differentiating on their level, aspect, or nature. This also applies to other in-game assets in the game with one important condition: All of the rewards are permanent.
Another aspect of Gacha Games is that a stamina system will usually be in place to limit your progression.
Players will use stamina as they interact with certain parts of the game, with especially rewarding mechanics requiring more stamina than the others.
While some players find this restrictive at first, long-time players report it helps remove excessive grinding in games like “Granblue Fantasy”.
Gacha games also rely heavily on the concept of “rarity”, with most games offering different rarities of the same asset which differentiate from each other based on their drop rate and attributes.
This is not the case with most loot boxes in games like Overwatch, League of Legends, etc. Gachas have an additional benefit, tho, most of them won’t reward you with the same in-game asset twice!
All in all, comparing loot boxes with squares is similar to comparing a rectangle to a square: All Gachas are Loot Boxes of sorts but not all Loot Boxes are Gacha. The distinction comes from how ingrained the mechanic is in the game, the nature of the rewards, and player expectations.
Why Do Players Like Gacha Games?
Not all players like Gacha games. This is clear from reading any discussion about the topic on Reddit, Discord Servers, forums, and other sites.
More often than not, players will associate Gachas with the concept of “Pay-to-Win”, which is despised by most of the community.
However, there is an increasing number of players who enjoy the Gacha mechanic and actively look for games containing it.
This makes describing what makes Gacha games popular among players a difficult task as the reasons can be as varied as the players who enjoy them.
That being said, the biggest reason might be the rarity of the assets. When rarity is involved, communities of collectors focused on obtaining all available assets will emerge, no matter the industry.
Think of games like Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, or Yu-Gi-oh!… These card games have strong communities that have been around for decades. These players buy a sealed package of cards without knowing what they will get.
Not only does no one say they are gambling but some of these cards get valued and sold for millions of dollars. The rarity of the cards and the fact that collectors are looking for them make the experience of opening booster packs exciting for players.
Just like trading card games, Gacha games offer a level of rarity and collectivity to their players that no other type of game can provide.
Surprisingly, not every rare in-game asset will be overpowered or represent an advantage over other players, sometimes its rareness is enough to make players want them in their collection.
While most people tend to associate Gacha games with paying, this is far from the truth. Sure, Gacha game players will have the chance to pay for Gachas using microtransactions as this is a method of monetization too.
However, most of these games offer log-in bonuses, offers, rewards, and quests that allow players to acquire Gachas without paying. The more skilled a player is, the easier a player will be able to take advantage of them.
Gacha Games also characterize themselves as having captivating stories. While this is not limited in any way to these types of games, the fact that Gacha Games allow players to progress their characters brings another layer of complexity.
Another frequently cited reason for players loving Gacha games is that these are some of the most frequently updated games out there. Developers are constantly pushing content and balancing to ensure players have access to new content to get excited about.
Other than these reasons, Gacha game players have the same reason to love them as any gamer can love their favorite games: Diversity. While Gacha games have in common their reliance on Gachas as a core mechanic, they are as varied as any other sector in the gaming industry.
What Type of Gacha Games are There?
With Gachas being a core mechanic of these types of games, many different types of Gachas have emerged over the years. Sure, every game might add its own twist to it but in essence, you could divide them into types following the same principles. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Kompu Gacha stands for “complete Gacha” and consists of the collection of specific prizes to earn a more valuable reward. This means that in the case of an RPG, you might need to find multiple pieces of a specific armor in order to get the corresponding (and rarer) weapon associated with it.
This type of Gacha has received increasing criticism over time , even being banned in Japan. This is not only because it is the closest to gambling but also because many players find it extremely addictive, leading to developers monetizing heavily on it.
Think of all the rewards you could get in a game as being contained in a box. Once you remove a reward from the box, you can get it out again: This is how Box Gachas work.
By having a finite number of rewards, players will see the chances of getting other rewards to increase as they claim other rewards.
This is a favorite among many players as they can predict the chances of getting a reward more easily. This increased transparency has also led many developers to have it as a recurrent Gacha in their games, especially for limited-time events.
Just as the name suggests, this type of Gacha offers better rewards as they progress. These rewards can be more valuable in terms that the player receives a higher volume of them or they are rarer but in any case, the player benefits from it.
Progress can be either through the game or through the spin session, which means that players need to find the best strategy to take advantage of them.
Similar to the “passes” in western video games, Sugoruke Gachas allows players to progress through them to earn rewards. However, as these are based on traditional Japanese board games, players will roll dice or get a random number that will let them progress through the board or path.
The reward will be determined by where the player lands, which means players might get exactly what they wanted or might miss it. This brings an additional level of excitement to rolling, with the fairness that rewards will get better as the player progresses.
This type of Gacha rewards players for not rolling their Gacha one at a time but by doing it consecutively. The player will often be awarded some kind of points when using their Gachas which can then be used for a rare scratch card with exclusive or more valuable rewards.
As these points will often be lost when the pulling session ends, players will try to pull as many Gachas as possible to maximize their return.
You probably already have an idea of how this one works. As developers are aware of just how frustrating pulling Gachas without getting a good reward can be, they will guarantee rewards of a certain rarity after a certain amount of pulls. This ensures not only that players will know what their chances are at certain pools but also decrease frustration.
The Best Gacha Games
In the world of gaming, saying that a title is “the best” in any given list is sure to spark controversy. As such, this is not intended to be a definitive guide at all but just a list of some of the games we consider to be the best. Whether you agree or not, it will depend on your specific likes.
These are 5 of our favorite Gacha games:
From the moment it became available to players in the west, Genshin Impact was an instant success. With stunning art reminiscent of” Zelda: Breath of the Wild”, an immersive story, and exciting mechanics, this game is a perfect fit for anyone who can appreciate a good RPG. If exploration, combat, collection, and anime, this might be the game for you.
If you love the “old RPG” feel, this gacha game might be for you. With good and fun gameplay (and no PVP), players who are looking to have a good time without any rush will find themselves right at home. The story in this game is captivating but can be quite long, which means you might want to stay away if you are the sort of player who skips cutscenes and text.
This game is all about non-ending action full of battleships and anime girls. The game has one of the friendliest and biggest communities out there, with the gameplay not falling behind. This “side-scrolling shoot ’em up” game will surely keep you on your toes and wanting to get better.
Dragon Ball Legends
Dragon Ball, should I say more? Most people are familiar with Dragon Ball and as such, you probably know what to expect of this game. This game is all about team composition, strategy making, and skill.
While this game has been criticized as being pay-to-win, we found that skill certainly plays a bigger role than most people seem to realize. If you are looking to take a fresh take on fighting, turn-based, and card games, this is a title you might want to try.
This game has been around for years but it still doesn’t fail to attract more users. With a challenging and rewarding end-game, great music, incredible art, and tons of strategy, you are sure not to get bored with this game.
Arknights is a fresh take on the tower defense genre that was popular long ago, however, it brings the quality to a new level. If you are looking for a game all about tactics that don’t chip your time away, this is the game for you.