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Gaming Thread, OFT Taking Interest in Microtransactions in Fun Stuff; About time the Office of Fair Trading stepped in to this barely regulated mess of an industry. BBC News - ...
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    CAM
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    OFT Taking Interest in Microtransactions

    About time the Office of Fair Trading stepped in to this barely regulated mess of an industry.

    BBC News - Web game extras get Office of Fair Trading scrutiny

    Pretext for the investigation is the exploitation of children and undue pressure on parents to purchase excessive in-game items.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Yeah glad this is being looked into, the practice is terrible and should be examined.

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    I hope that this will make game designers think about how they show piad for boosts, I fine with them being in the games, I just don't want them shoved dowm my throat every time I go to a menu screen. Maybe have a seprete section or menu for the paid content. (Some may do this already and I'm just always getting the hyper money hungry games)

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    by the same token parents need to think before just handing over devices. If you use itunes cards rather than your credit card they cant spend what isnt on there and to my mind problem solved

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    CAM
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    But kids also have their own devices and in some cases will use their parent's cards anyway or acquire funds through other sources. You can lock down a family computer or tablet as much as you want, but if kids want something bad enough they will find ways to get it.

    Some parents aren't even aware that devices their children have are allowing them to use the Internet unsupervised or that they have circumvented parental control settings on a piece of software (usually by running their own copies off USB keys, etc).

    An app designer on the radio proposed purchase caps or just plain better design as solutions. Do you really need to spend £1000+ on virtual currency in a day?
    Last edited by CAM; 12th April 2013 at 11:51 AM.

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    if parents are daft enough to put their credit cards on a kids tablet im tempted to say they deserve what they get. As i said use prepaid itunes cards never put a credit card number in and they can only spend prepaid cash

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    Of course there is parental responsibility in this but the developer has a responsibility here as well.
    The worst examples of these games are just a cynical exercise in wringing money out of people. Give a game away for free which should really only cost a couple of quid anyway, hamstring it and ask you to pay to actually do anything in the game.

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    aerospacemango's Avatar
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    I know I'll sound like an old PM for this, but........

    Education, education, education!

    With The Simpsons: Tapped Out, my 8 year old wanted to get something fairly big, straight away. I told him to try to get the donuts.

    He went through the process until it came to time to pay. The bill was around $30. I explained to him that every time he wanted to spend more donuts than he has, it would cost REAL money, and that that money would come out of my pocket. This would leave less money for going out on "real world" trips (i.e cinema). My son took this quite well. (Especially as he lives with his Mum)

    I then explained about the young lad that had run up £1500 on an iPad, and how his mummy couldn't afford to pay that. I explained it was the Mummy's fault (IMO) that this had happened and that I would not allow it to happen.

    Job done. Lad knows what he CAN and can't have!
    Last edited by aerospacemango; 12th April 2013 at 03:11 PM.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    @aerospacemango ok that's great, but equally a caring society has a duty to go to the developers and challenge them about why they are indulging in this kind of practice.
    In addition to this the OFT has said that some of these games are actually breaking the law. This unarguably deserves investigation.

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    @sparkeh Agreed....I'm not saying that anything you say is wrong....I'm just relaying my experience, and how I thought it best to confront the situation. It is certainly NOT right that developers can get away with this practice, and until they are pulled up on it, they will continue.

    However, it is still the parental responsibility to keep an eye on what your kids are doing (IMO again!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    The worst examples of these games are just a cynical exercise in wringing money out of people.
    That is the only reason in-app purchases exist. It's pure greed!


    IAPs are designed to extract as much money as possible from players using the same psychological tricks the gambling industry uses. For that reason, perhaps 'freemium' games should be restricted to over 18's?

    Once you find yourself enjoying a game you're going to be more willing to spend your money to continue the experience. Itís (exactly) like gambling: once you get that little bit of a reward, as long as you continue to get some reward youíre going to continue investing your time and energy. Thatís why casinos will often give you free credits, or reward you with a small payout when you're about to quit.

    That first payment reels you in, slaps you on the shoulder and throws you back for more. Once you pay you're more likely to continue to play, so long as new and better rewards are waiting for you. (Source)

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