Gacha has become an institution of sorts in Second Life. We can no longer call it a “trend” any longer in that for years it has been at the root of many shopping events. Yet still, even after all these years, there are shoppers and creators who express a dislike of Gacha as being somehow a detriment to the experience of shopping, a deterrent to the design process, or a sort of bait to customers that is expressed as unfair. And then profess that “any day now it is going away.”
Gacha is just one part of the shopping experience for sure. Many creators have great success with standard releases and prefer them. Perhaps from a design standpoint it works better for their brand. This is perfectly understandable. Of course, many brands will also cite far greater sales with a Gacha when comparing per item sales in the cumulative. Results that can skew either way are most likely a result of the set having an incentive in cohesion and items properly playing off of each other and inspiring across the board need. A recent survey done at PocketGacha revealed that the most important factor for shoppers in playing a Gacha is diversity within the set. Not how many items. But how diverse they are.
There are many advantages of a Gacha approach for both creators and designers. As well, for some, there are disadvantages. There is no doubt that the days of “I can make anything a Gacha and it will sell” are over. What we have now is a proper settling of this particular platform where the shopper expects and will play only those Gacha that truly resonate. Especially in the case of PocketGacha where the shopper has time and ease with which to reflect on each set and demo in comfort.
With that, Gacha has many tremendous advantages for both Shoppers and Creators:
-Creators have a chance to express their work in much greater detail by creating cohesive items that play off of each other yet each having individual unique value to the shopper. Yes, a top with a simple color change is no longer (or rarely) going to be a massive hit and would probably be served better as a single item purchase. But if you can create a set that tells a story, and one in which each item has practical use alone, creators will reach sales very hard pressed to match in comparison to releasing those items as single purchases. People connect to a story emotionally. Emotions translate to more of a desire to own.
-Creators will argue that making a Gacha is too much work and deadline stressful. What we are learning though is that as amazing as, say, a "famous brand" set was with SO many items, in fact most shoppers are happy with a creative small set that is diverse and unique. According to that aforementioned recent PocketGacha survey a small and beautifully thought out set of 8-10 diverse items is far better than a set of 30 items that are alike or unrelated or overdone in SL. As well, PocketGacha became a monthly format so as to allow rotation of creators, remove the stress of deadlines and to allow them to come and go as inspiration takes hold. We encourage all of our creative partners to “take a break.” As a HUD event we are not concerned with how many creators we have with Gacha each round. Just that they do their best in creating something unique and diverse.
-Some argue Gacha is baiting the buyer to spend more. Well, yes, let’s not sugarcoat it in that of course the essence within Gacha is to be related to “gambling.” Yet it’s not at all a close relationship. Gacha can be easily given to friends in transfer. It can be sold on a resell market. In gambling, you can’t sell your losses or give them away to friends for that matter (we wish!). But with Gacha you can. And for the buyer who wants only one item but has to keep playing to get it and feels baited there are two answers to this: The creator did not make a Gacha that properly had the shopper wanting more than one or two items and the shopper has not appreciated the benefit of perhaps getting the item they really want for less than a single item release would have cost. In the end, no one really loses. Gacha are transfer. Creators who do wonderfully thought out sets sell more.
-Creators might also argue that transfer items are not good for their brand. In fact, it can be argued just the opposite. Transfer items offer an increased exposure for a brand in Marketplace, Gacha resell events, etc. Resellers promote a particular piece in ways that the brand may not be able to. No brand can have a presence in hundreds of sims on their own. With Gacha they do. It is a premise in marketing that exposure to potential buyers is key. While a shopper might buy it from the reseller, that same reseller might have played their Gacha a hundred times and will go back for more after selling. As well that shopper might buy one piece from the set and decide they want additional pieces and go to the creator directly to play. Finally, how many new avatars and returning old ones who were on hiatus have been introduced to latest releases by friends giving them a few transfer items to use as they learn their way around and thus forging a relationship on the creator’s behalf?
-Shoppers will argue that they do not like to play Gacha as it violates issues they have with “gambling.” With that they feel left out for a principle they hold strong. Well, options do exist. In PocketGacha for example with the ability to buy full sets in Copy/Mod that circumnavigate the playing requirement. The Buy Full Set option at PocketGacha also fixes the old complaint from builders that it was expensive and difficult to get multiples of an item that they wished to use in their work. Now they can.
Gacha is evolving. And while there will always be a camp that will never embrace it (both creators and shoppers) it is safe to say that it is here to stay. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. What PocketGacha is doing is attempting to bridge many of these issues into a compromised version for both brands and shoppers. As one avatar recently said in a comment, as meant to be a discredit to PocketGacha, “You are nothing more than Gacha Lite.” That sounds good to us. We like that term. Bridging you the best of both worlds to taste the fun of Gacha but without all the calories. Gacha Lite indeed.