According to a study, video game reward boxes are addictive and encourage waste of time and money.

PARIS, May 31 (Benin News/EP) –

The bonus packages included in some video games are addictive for players and encourage wasting time and money. Money is among the most vulnerable groupsEspecially in children and young adults.

Location Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) I came to this conclusion after a study whose results were presented in the report Enter Coin: How the Gambling Industry Exploits Consumers with Bonus Funds.

so called loot boxes These are “vague allegations” related to digital video game content that consumers buy with real money.

The contents of these loot or reward chests are random, which means players don’t know what’s inside – usually Perks and items to be used in the game– Until they pay for it.

According to the NCC, these additional and optional content generally have a number of characteristics that you define as follows. dangerous or harmful. On the one hand, they are able to exploit players’ cognitive weaknesses through misleading design, and in order to deceive users into buying them, resellers and distributors resort to strict marketing practices.

Also, these reward chests work with opaque algorithms and biased probabilities, They are able to hide real money payments with virtual currencies.

In order to conduct this research, the Norwegian Consumer Council studied two popular video games, FIFA 22 there The Raid: Shadow Legends. According to this body, “Both games use a wide arsenal of tricks to encourage consumers to spend time and money in the hope of getting a reward, despite the fact that the reward offers little chance of getting it.”

Important source of revenue

This report begins with some data on the number of video game players and the resulting economic impact. Created by the video game industryWhich exceeded 15 billion dollars (about 14 billion euros at the exchange rate) in 2020.

according to European Software Interactive Federation (ISFE), About half of the European Union’s population, about 250 million consumers, play video games, indicating that this sector is a significant force in the entertainment industry.

One of the main developers mentioned in this report is electronic artswhich generated over $1.62 billion in in-game purchases in FIFA 2021, which represents 29% of the company’s total revenue.

Activision Blizzard, Meanwhile, it reported $1.2 billion in revenue from in-game purchases between July and September 2020.

Compared to today’s mainstream video game genres, the study highlights this. The most frequent model is the Fortnite modelWhere players can download and play for free, with the option to receive additional content for payment.

This is it… The so-called “freemium” model: Players download it for free, but end up paying for in-game benefits, avoiding wait times, or getting rid of ads in the free version.

to do, They use real money converted into virtual currencies Which is spent on different contents, which may cause some confusion among the players, as they think that they are investing a certain amount in a more virtual form in reality.

Most video game developers It does not offer any means to sell or trade With other consumers for real money, although there are other means to facilitate these transactions.

However, many of these players don’t know how to do this, so they You end up spending money on these servicesThat encourages dependency and lacks transparency.

In addition, this organization notes that loot boxes It introduces players, especially the younger ones, to game-like mechanics and encourages unlimited consumption.

Case studies: FIFA 22 and RAID SHADOW LEGENDS

CNN wanted to apply their search to reward boxes to two popular video games, FIFA 22 (Available on PC, Xbox and PlayStation) and Raid: Shadow Legends (for iOS and Android).

In the first case, for example, it works with two types of exchange, FIFA Points – a premium currency that can only be purchased with real money – and coins, which are earned through gameplay. With both you can Buy interchangeable containers With other players to get game coins.

Some of these packages are promotional packages with a higher price but promise a higher chance of getting rewards. This allows players You are welcome to purchase them within 24 hours. Because of the competitive nature of this activity.

On the other hand, Shadow Raid Legends, Free mobile game, which has a recommended age for players over 12 years old, according to the PEGI rating system. The main objective of this title is to collect hero characters to use in battles against monsters or face other hero characters.

Obtained from reward chests, which can be collected either by playing the game (by winning each level) or by buy it with real money, With a number of advantages.

To create these purchases, the following operations are performed system “porridge”, That is, motivating players to spend real money to get virtual currency and the ability to exchange it for items or reach certain levels.

While it is true that the game does not include third party advertisements, it does have a number of them. Pop-up ads Offer rewards to buy gems and keep playing.

In addition, it has the following features notification system Which alerts other players when another player gets a hero from the reward chest, which may encourage other users to spend money in the game.

Suggestions to end this problem

After outlining the risks to video game consumers from offering reward boxes in their service catalogs, SCC has made a number of proposals to the industry, regulators, and political officials responsible for their control.

First, the SCC asserts that video game companies should do so Misleading designs should be banned It can affect consumers. It also considers that they must ensure that their decisions are not influenced at the expense of consumers through the design and operation of the game, as well Accurate representation of cash costs Represents the virtual currencies used during the games.

In addition, it states that games accessible to minors should not offer bonus boxes or other additional content for real money, and certainly not Mechanisms that encourage winning Simply by paying a certain amount of money.

The NCC also specifies that in cases where computational decision making is used to influence consumer behaviour, the consumer must be informed in detail.

This information should include simple, understandable language about the algorithms used to achieve this and the factors they use to modify player behaviour.

Finally, he points out that the authorities responsible for regulating this industry, as well as those responsible for protecting consumers of these products, You must guarantee the rights of the players and preventing developers and suppliers from taking advantage of their vulnerabilities.

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