Power of Difference Assessment System; Gacha Games as a Safe Form of Entertainment

Xue, David, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Ibrahim, Ahmed, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Baritaud, Catherine, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

Understanding the controversy around topics like gacha games requires a thorough understanding of people and how they view the world. The technical research focuses on the Power of Difference Assessment System created for TheSum, a non-profit organization in Charlottesville, VA. This research was undertaken to create a system that could help users understand, accept, and celebrate differences while gaining a deeper understanding on how people’s bias affect their views of others. The STS research focuses on determining if gacha games are a safe form of entertainment from a legal perspective. This research was undertaken to provide clarity from a perspective of the controversial topic that gacha games are dangerous. These two topics are loosely connected through the necessity of understanding how the different backgrounds of people affect how they view the world.
Working on the Power of Difference Assessment System for TheSum is very important due to their emphasis on understanding people. In order to help their customers, they need to be able to receive and interpret useful data from this assessment system. By working with them, a deeper understanding about what is considered useful information for analyzing a person’s beliefs can be gained. To do this, the first thing the technical team did was to extract requirements from the customer by looking at artefacts such as the current workflow of their system and the current assessment TheSum was using to test people. Through these requirements, the team built prototypes so the customer could give feedback. The team organized tasks for the project through GitHub where team members could work on issues in separate branches and review other members’ code.
The result of this technical project was a major improvement over the previous system. Previously, the customer had to manually create the results pdf for a user. Now the system will automatically generate the results for a user. Another improvement was in the user interface as the previous web assessment had a poor design. The new assessment also has improved administrative control and scalability that allows for better growth for the company. Through this technical project, the team has a better understanding of the relationship between a person’s background and their views.
The topic for the STS research paper is gacha games as a safe form of entertainment. This topic aims to understand the controversy around gacha games being dangerous by understanding different view points from various groups. The research question that this topic focuses on is determining what is the legal perspective on this issue. The purpose of the question is to give the reader a new perspective to view this controversy. The main method taken to approach this question is using a document analysis approach to looks at laws and investigations from different countries around the world. A second method to approach this question was using a different study that focuses on classifying games based on the best international practices.
From the two research methods used, the results found that gacha games are a safe form of entertainment from a legal perspective. From the document analysis approach, it found that gacha games were mostly harmless since the rewards did not have monetary value. It also found that in countries that banned gacha games due to a few offending gacha games, the offending gacha games were not actually gacha games due to a secondary feature in the games that allowed trading. The different study classification also found gacha games to not be as dangerous as gambling the reward from playing a gacha game does not have any monetary value.
Between the two research topics, an important aspect to conclude research on them was understanding the context behind a person’s belief. In the technical research, failing to understand how a person’s demographic affected their beliefs would have caused the project to fail. While in the STS research, failing to understand the context behind gacha game bans would have led to an incomplete conclusion. By looking at the context of a situation and coming up with clear understanding of the situation, controversies like gacha games being dangerous become easier to resolve.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Social Construction of Technology (SCOT), Gacha Games, Loot Box, Document Analysis, Power of Difference Assessment (PDA)

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisor: Ahmed Ibrahim
STS Advisor: Catherine Baritaud
Technical Team Members: Peter Felland, Amelia Hampford, Nuzaba Nuzhat, Sam Shankman, Connor Yager, Carl Zhang, William Zheng

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