Hacking, Potential Gacha Regulation and Video Games helping with Depression

GTA6 Hacker Sentenced


Arion Kurtaj, a member of the international hacker group Lapsus$ has been sentenced after a cyber attack on Rockstar Games in 2022 which led to the leaking of about 90 videos of footage from the unreleased GTA6.


The hack in question was made while Kurtaj was on bail in police custody for prior hacking using an Amazon Firestick, his hotel TV and a mobile phone as his laptop was confiscated at the time.


Due to his continued intent to return to hacking as soon as he is able and the high risk to the public because of this he will be confined to a secure hospital for life, unless regarded by doctors to be no longer a threat.




China Cracking Down on Gacha Mechanics?


New laws have been proposed by the Chinese Government to reduce consumer spending in online games and to combat predatory practices.  This would include implementing a spending limit and prohibiting incentives such as daily log-in bonuses or rewards for using real money for the first time.  In addition the laws would require studios to have “reasonable” drop rates in lootbox and gacha mechanics.


After this proposal was announced the share prices of Tencent and NetEase (two of the largest gaming companies in China) fell 16% and 25% respectively.


In response to this the regulator said that “it will study the industry’s reaction and improve the draft rules,”  so it remains to be seen what changes to the regulations will be made and how they will be implemented.




Video Games Help with Depression?


A study undertaken in Germany and published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, titled Effects of a video game intervention on symptoms, training motivation, and visuo-spatial memory in depression has shown that, using Super Mario Odyssey as an intervention for a period of the 6 week trial resulted in more significant reduction of depression symptoms than of those participants who underwent standard treatment or used a cognitive training computer program.


The study aimed to investigate whether playing video games could help people with the cognitive deficits associated with Major Depressive Disorder, specifically mood, training motivation and visuo-spatial memory functions (that is, the ability to retain and process an object’s identity and spatial location).


The participants of the study were 46 individuals who have been diagnosed with depression and who do not frequently play video games in their leisure time.  The participants in the video game group were shown to have a significant decrease of depressive symptoms as well as higher levels of motivation to perform the training.


This is following a study published in 2020, Trauma, treatment and Tetris: video gaming increases hippocampal volume in male patients with combat-related post traumatic stress disorder, where in addition to therapy participants played Tetris for 60 minutes a day resulting in reductions of the symptoms of PTSD, depression and anxiety.