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Microtransactions Going Down?

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posted on May, 8 2019 @ 08:46 PM
I feel like many of the people who come across discussions like this take what should be the common sense position that it's just video games..... I mean after all as adults the vidya games are something we might fire up from a Facebook link for a few minutes of Bejeweled fun or play on our phones while we wait for a nurse to call us back to the doctor. Our biggest video game hassles usually come in the form of our kids ( or grandkids ) seeming to always want or need some new game to play - and getting visibly disappointed if we don't pony up for the limited edition,figurine included, steelbook digital deluxe gold edition...

Thing is... The vidya games are a hundreds of billions of dollars per year industry patronized by somewhere between 2 and 3 billion people annually.

Those aren't your average numbers for what most folks would see as a hobby. Those aren't even Hollywood numbers. Those are the sorts of numbers one usually sees attached to things like religions.

I'd argue that any time you're dealing with anything that broad spectrum and pervasive... The odds of there being some shady, shady stuff going on regarding it are pretty damned close to 100%.

Here are just two examples of the levels of shady that I'm talking about.

There are more, quite a few more, many equally as troubling.

One that I can't find a link to is a patent for an AI that seems like a real person - synthesized speech and all. The AI is put up against a real human player, a player targeted based upon many factors including their past online and credit card purchases and social media posts ( and quite a few other factors ). The function of the AI is to defeat the human player over and over again in online, competitive play. The human players actions ( timing of button presses, verbal statements etc ) are monitored to gauge how frustrated the human player is. Once the human player reaches a predetermined level of frustration the AI - who the human player believes to be another human player - drops the hammer... "Hey bro. The only reason I'm winning is that I bought this ( insert item purchased via microtransaction here ) and it's OP as Hell. If you buy it you'll win too..."

Again, there are quite a few variations on this theme - though mostly lower tech versions.

If prominent YouTube gamers - people with tens of millions of followers, mostly young ( including children ) play a game on stream... That games sales will massively spike. If that YouTuber uses an item purchased via microtransaction - same effect.

I'm only discussing a couple of specific applications here. Again, there are numerous variations on a theme. Many ways of manipulating the consumer... And, sadly, also deliberately preying upon the vulnerable as well. Impressionable kids, people with addiction issues, people with obsessive tendencies, outcasts, lonely folks... All vulnerable.

It's an issue. A complicated issue that really needs to be considered carefully.

In the singular however, most of the current outrage is over loot boxes specifically and I find it hard to argue in their favor on any level whatsoever. Loot boxes are gambling - period. Unregulated gambling basically in a casino that is largely populated by minors and that doesn't have any staff to keep the gambling addicts from bankrupting themselves.

It's bad juju and I wish the video game market would police themselves on this issue because their refusal to moderate their own greed is going to result in legislative remedies that will remove choice from players about things like whether or not we'd be happy to spend $20 on a new skin.

edit on 5/8/19 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 8 2019 @ 09:51 PM
a reply to: Hefficide

As a parent with an 8-year-old boy, as much as we parent, it's hard to continually say no to him all the time for every game you know his friends are playing. I recall being that kid when I was growing up. On the one hand, it makes it easy to say no because I know I survived that experience perfectly unscathed, but on the other, I also remember how bad I felt having no clue what the other kids were all talking about too.

He has no consoles. He plays games we provide for him on our computer if he wants to play. He occasionally get access to his father's smart phone when we're out and about, but it's all apps chosen by his father. None are microtransaction apps.

My nephews are all sucked into Fortnight. I don't know how my sister affords it.

I'd have a lot less issue with things like loot boxes if they were exclusively something you earned through in game play, but having the option to shell out actual cash for them makes them a dangerous thing especially with kids who already beg and plead for the latest this or that as it is.

posted on May, 8 2019 @ 11:54 PM
a reply to: ketsuko
I think it’s something that should be handled within the industry and not have the government step in. How ever that would mean that some of the AAA game studios (I’ll just pick a random one. Eh... EA) would have to have more than dollar signs in the heads. Instead as of recently they seem to have stopped caring about the players and care more for the bottom line.

posted on May, 8 2019 @ 11:56 PM

originally posted by: Edumakated

originally posted by: ketsuko

We all know that one of the big cancers in triple AAA gaming is the game as service model featuring microtransactions and P2W features. Developers rip out a PvP game with in-game lootboxes players can grind endlessly to try to pay for or simply spend a few bucks to try to get that rare, elusive item that will give them the advantage or skin they want.

We all know people who've spent hundreds or more on lootboxes because trying to earn them is a painfully grindy experience by design.

So your $60 game rapidly becomes something you've spent several hundred on before too long if you want to be competitive.

And now, governments are looking to put a stop to the practice because it's gambling in games marketed to kids. We know this has been pushed more aggressively in Europe, and on a state level, Hawaii tried to do something but were defeated by games lobbyists. Now it looks like there will be legislation put before the Senate potentially in the near future attempting to regulate the practice, and this is an issue that does have bipartisan support. So it may go somewhere.

I'm of two minds on this.

I think that developer greed has pushed triple AAA games into a rut of punching out these crap games with a microtransaction model. They're killing themselves off. If forced out of the relentless "games as service" model, they might have to diversify into different types of games again and rediscover quality and storytelling and other things that made people want to buy games and play them. Better games might mean less need to rely on gambling as a way of making money.

On the other hand, government involved in the gaming industry is not a good thing anymore than it is when government gets mixed up in anything else.

They wouldn't do it if it didn't work (i.e., idiots willing to pay).

I haven't found it to be a big deal on my Xbox games, but I am a casual player. However, I literally stopped buying mobile games because it seemed like the only way to progress was to buy upgrades.

Govt has no place legislating this.... the free market will sort it out.

I severely disagree, Government's have a responsibility to the people and so especially to the children whom are the future of any nation, it is an addictive practice driven by peer pressure, the fact most kid's these day's spend way too much time in front of a screen ranging from mobiles up to large displays back home and many of these game's being a socializing event for these kid's.
The Psychology of society has changed and government's have to keep pace.

This is a very dirty practice and is exactly as Ketsuko point's out a way to get kid's hooked on a form of Gambling, it's like tha sure thing but at the end of the day win or lose the company does not walk home with most of the money it takes it all.

One of the biggest offenders in this practice driven by Corporate greed is actually EA whom shut down what was going to be perhaps one of the best single player star wars games ever conceived and even went as far as shutting down the game studio whom were years into development of the title - simply because the game was a story driven single player experience in which there was no room to place micro transaction's and which was not designed with multi player or online mechanics.

Other company's have followed suit after seeing the huge profit's that EA was making by getting kid's hooked on micro transaction's such as Ubisoft etc.

Bethesda are not actually as late to the policy though as many think since they have a long standing practice of making downloadable content for there game's, often when most of the content of those supposed expansion's was already included within the main body of the unfinished game for which the DLC is then marketed but since there DLC's can in some cased be almost as big as a new game even if they are an expansion it is a far more forgivable practice but unfortunately they have now gone full micro transaction with there online game's.

Regardless of age restrictions on a game it is almost always kid's that end up playing them, kid's are the prime target of micro transaction's and micro transaction's are most certainly a gateway into gambling as well as a door toward the Rent'a'game model that has long been suggested as a future model - EA once again leading the way with a monthly subscription service with that.

So I am absolutely convinced that Government's DO need to act, this practice targets Kid's, it is a gateway into gambling and worse and the only one's whom have been profiting from this model and in a very big way are the corporations', it is harmful to people so need's to be regulated and even stopped completely by effective government regulation and not some toothless policy or government recommendation that can be ignored or easily bypassed.

posted on May, 9 2019 @ 07:20 AM
a reply to: ketsuko

Great news everyone! I hope gamers will stop bying stupid (SNIP). Maybe we can have great games again someday.

I spent 15 bucks and got Skyrim legendary edition, have been playing that for years now, and every time i plug the ol console in, there are dungeons waiting to be explored and skooma dealers to be purged.

edit on 9-5-2019 by solve because: (no reason given)

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