Hi everybody! Thanksgiving is almost here! I’m getting exciting. Can’t wait for turkey and gravy. I also have an exciting announcement for you!! I will now be making vlogs! Yes, VLOGS! That means you get to listen to me babble out nonsense, on camera, five days a week. We’ll get to know each other better, you’ll get to laugh at my talking mistakes, I’ll respond to your comments on camera. It’s going to be a blast. So, five days a week I’ll be coming out with a vlog, but also one day a week I’ll continue a gaming deal/free game written blog for you guys. I just couldn’t take that away from all of us. I enjoy them as much as you all do, probably more.
IMAGE FROM TUBULAR INSIGHTS
The last part of this news is that there will be weekly giveaways! Ahh! That should be starting next week. Saljack Enterprises and I are giving you guys money to have to suffer through my face–haha. Really though, $25 Amazon gift cards–be prepared!! The details of that will be shared soon.
Let me finish out this announcement to ask you all to voice your opinions! Leave comments about your thoughts on the vlogs. What you want to see, what you don’t want to see, questions for me that you want to be answered, and whatever pops into your mind. I want to make videos you are interested in so let me know these things! Expect to see gaming lifestyle topics and gaming news just like you have for my written blogs. I will also start spicing things up with things that weren’t feasible in written form. Like board game reviews (where I’ll show you the physical game), and maybe even some makeup videos–cosplay, or even non-cosplay if you are interested.
Okay, now on to today’s topic: Children and In-Game Purchases. Uh-oh! Yes, this topic came to me from the recent Star Wars Battlefront 2 drama. Some of the last bad PR news articles coming out were accusing EA of encouraging child gambling. That made me think about the whole in-game purchases overall in regards to children.
First, I want to point out parents have some responsibility here. That is, to set up built-in functions that block in-game purchases. However, even when parent’s do that it’s sometimes not enough. I’ve heard stories of kids taking their parent’s cards to buy online subscriptions for Xbox or to make in-game purchases. I even read about a teenager who kept stealing their parent’s card over and over to continue making purchases and the parents regularly having to get new cards. At that point, I think the parents have their fair share of the blame. Take the games away from the kid at that point! Get him a “dumb phone”–is that the opposite of a smartphone?
IMAGE FROM FISHER-PRICE
However, there is a bigger problem. That is, the games being marketed to children. There are good game developers who make phone and tablet games for children that aren’t trying to manipulate your child into in-app purchases. Then there are the baddies. The ones throwing every tactic at a child to get them to want to spend money. There are games that encourage earning bonuses but make actually earning them in the game frustrating with lack of success. That’s when they offer the bonuses for a small purchase. There are games that set up fake ongoing tournaments against pretend players. There are games that even do tons of pop-ups asking to make in-app purchases. “Get this awesome character” and etc.
There is no holding back in these games drive for money. Ten years ago, in-app purchases didn’t exist. Now it’s a 30 billion a year business.
Most of us don’t make in-game purchases. We remember not paying for things in-game. We also know it’s a rip-off. That isn’t to say we haven’t made purchases here, and there when we really think it’s worth it. If I find a particularly great free game that gives me the full experience without paying then I’m not unwilling to spend a little money on some extra features. It’s not something I do frequently…okay, I’ve only done it once. What I’m saying is it’s okay if you do spend money in-game. However, the majority of us do not. That doesn’t really matter for the business of in-game purchases. Only a small percentage of purchasers are needed for it to be profitable. I wonder who these companies think of as good targets…kids, maybe?
IMAGE FROM POSH TIGER
What makes kid’s games trying to score in game purchases so bad, is that children don’t really understand why it’s bad. They don’t understand worth. Paying a few of their parent’s dollars for something cool they want in a game is a simple thing for them. They want it, end of story. There don’t understand these purchases are a waste of money. They don’t get that the tournaments in their games are fake. They don’t understand the difference between a cosmetic purchase and a game-changing purchase.
I think it’s a low blow to strike at young kids for in-game purchases. Not that exploiting kids for money is a new thing. I think kids are considered expensive simply because of all the things companies offer for parent’s to buy them. From over-priced baby “gymnastics” to a line of Paw Patrol play sets ranging up to and over $100, and now even buying their favorite character from a game that already costs $60 and plays on a machine that costs $400. What makes in-game purchases insidious is that it’s a place where the parents can be left in the dark. Also, they are going straight to the child, offering them something free and then trying to manipulate them to spend money directly.