Gambling in games has existed for numerous years before today. Most likely, a vast majority of parents reading this right now have been impacted by it at least one point in time. There is a common theme with gambling and overt-transactions in games that have caused parents to complain in masses over the years; their kids either are asking for micro-transaction purchases too much, or like many reports and instances, their children have taken their parent’s credit cards and put their parents in debt, even as far as thousands of dollars in debt. These problems were so bad, that multiple game companies have been brought to court directly and multiple law changes have been proposed.
The problem seen is – that laws shouldn’t necessarily need to be proposed. Children gambling is already illegal, and what is defined as gambling is simply a game of chance especially when transactions are made. This is – already by definition and in legal documentation, illegal, but gaming companies have circumvented this in very peculiar ways; peculiar, because it’s amazing how they circumvented it at all – claiming that they make the game fun; which doesn’t argue that it isn’t, and EA comparing it to a Kender egg, again not arguing that it isn’t.
It is very plausible to suggest that these companies have circumvented this for so long, because they are able to afford a very organized legal team from the money they amassed from said micro-transactions, which is a multi-million industry. It is unethical by law that this continues to be allowed in every form every continuous second.
Now you know that there are risks, what you should look out for is vast, there are so many examples of gambling in games and overall games that are over-loaded with micro-transactions, that I simply cannot list everything here for you, but I will mention some key big players in the past and today to help you look out. As a general rule, check the names of the companies and look out when your kids are asking for transactions that are overly expensive, and asking for cheaper transactions frequently.
A good place to start is by showing you a list of games with lootboxes and urging you to search for more lists – and to look out for your kids playing these games if it concerns you, as kids really can be pressured into this as shown with it being a major problem, and they are just impressionable, so do not be so hard on them but take charge and blame these gaming companies to put more pressure on them.
Subscriptions are normal including purchasing a game such as on a platform called steam, but make sure subscriptions are not overly expensive as they are normally re-occurring and are a sort of consumable thing, something that runs out and requires replenishment – so be wary of prices and whether or not something is a subscription.
But developers take a lot of time developing something, it takes a lot of effort, which means they need some kind of compensation. It is extremely usual for a complex game to be purchased for this reason, money is time as they say, and they have lives and are just as important as you are. The gambling is not just about lootboxes; it has become so much more. Let me use a popular MMORPG for example, called Runescape. Runescape, a very popular game has been for years a game without extra micro-transactions besides subscriptions until 28 February 2012 when squeal of fortune was introduced.
Since then, the game has been loaded with micro-transactions such as (treasure hunter) and solomon’s store, bonds. Treasure hunter is applicable in this case, because it is a game of chance to receive a better or worse item in the game and is purchasable. For example, a small lamp < large lamp, small cash bag < large cash bag and very vastly different tier of items, which makes it applicable to gambling in this case. A great other example, is Grand theft Auto, where it included its own casino. This was banned in over 50 countries!
But in the case of you being concerned about your money, gambling isn’t the only problem. When the game is overloaded with so much transactions, people very much so including impressionable kids are often times buying them, and Runescape is just one of those games now. A good look at an old game in history that was similar to this, was Habbo Hotel which sparked a very bag reputation for itself. Virtually everything was micro-transaction controlled. To help prevent your kids from cashing out a lot of your money, try sticking with games that are one-time purchases, such as going to steam and purchasing a game from there, as almost all don’t include micro-transactions and there are really amazing and fun games on there – it is generally the biggest online platform to go to, or in the case of console as with computer, avoid the titles mentioned in the loot-box list above and that have what I mentioned. Console paid games usually never have micro-transactions either.
All of this is not me saying that all games are innately bad outside of excess micro-transactions. Quite the contrary, let me propose something very important and use the before mentioned MMORPG, Runescape for example. Runescape teaches children a very lot of important things more than many might think, even more so than some education in said important things. The game runs on an entire economy. This economy runs on real-life economical mechanics and isn’t entirely made up, has a lot of realism to it fundamentally.
People in this game are supposed to purchase different items as they progress through the game for various reasons and access these items through a controlled market called, “grand exchange” where they will buy items through in-game gold which you can achieve for free. – and there are thousands of items, 39,000 to be exact. This controlled market experiences crashes, inflation and overall price balancing which is all caused by things that are shown in real world – from players hoarding items and flooding the market to cause inflation, where this has actually happened in the real-world in different countries, to items crashing after coming into the market in over-surplus by players either flooding the market with those items they hoarded or a sudden spike in players achieving those items through in-game use.
Even before that controlled market was introduced into the game, inflation and so on was established by the players. These are things a very young child will not understand, and even a lot of people that are of older age were not taught these things well in some education – but they are virtually forced to understand and many people have become business savvy for this one reason whether it’s in-game or real life. And many of these people play this game for years. Years of experiencing what is essentially a stock market simulator when it comes to that very important part of the game. The results of that in many people, are obviously going to be positive.
On this MMORPG, you play with other people, thousands of other players. You type to speak to each player directly. These players, more than often go on to correct said players, very often. This almost creates muscle memory of typing and overall creates a better understanding of general grammar. And an important lesson that this game teaches others, is that there are people out there who want to take your money. On this game gold is very important. so much so that it is sold for real life money in thousands. People are scammed on this game so much to the point where you can almost say every single player on the game has at one point experienced someone trying to steal their items, the things they had in their game.
People were always out to take from others forcefully, and to a kid this means a lot, because those items are really important and hard to achieve in the game, which makes those accomplishments feel worth it. But when someone steals from you in this game, and it truly hurts, it feels soul-sinking almost every time, you are definitely if not every single time going to learn from that. And it is better that happens with in-game currency that means nothing in the grand scheme of life, than real-life money later on.
Summary; Create a boarder between games and excess micro-transactions to your kids