After paying so much for the latest release, seeing that video game developers have embedded money-making strategies in their releases isn’t just annoying. Microtransactions like buying loot boxes and in-game currency monetize gameplay, doing more harm than good. Find out why below.
1. Loot Boxes Are a Gateway to Gambling
Microtransaction’s biggest opponents are linking loot boxes to online gambling. That’s because many loot boxes are a game of chance. You don’t know exactly what you’re going to get before you buy it.
For those on the hunt for a specific weapon, costume, or even player, these sealed mystery boxes can be too much to resist. You can wind up spending a lot of money gambling on getting what you want.
According to research out of Plymouth and Wolverhamptom universities, the fear of missing out on what’s inside can push people to risk real money on boxes that may not contain anything worthwhile. The report also suggests it encourages gambling behaviors in children that could follow them into adulthood.
Politicians around the world are introducing legislation that would regulate these microtransactions to protect unsuspecting gamers. One consumer advocate in Texas even goes so far as to compare microtransactions to casino slot machines. They argue loot boxes should be illegal under Texas gambling laws as a result.
2. It’s Easy to Get in Over Your Head
There are countless stories about children who unintentionally (or uncaringly) use their parents’ credit cards to spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on in-game purchases.
Many children don’t realize their in-game spending will follow them into real life. Unfortunately, reality comes calling when their parent’s credit card statement arrives. By then, mom or dad will see the long list of charges tying up their credit limit.
Although adults should know better, they aren’t immune to microtransactions either. If you aren’t carefully tracking each loot box you buy, you can forget just how much money you’ve spent.
Like any runaway spending, overindulging in microtransactions can max out your credit and lead you to dip into savings. This puts you in a vulnerable position, especially if you run into an emergency expense.
Just think about it. With your credit card and savings out of the picture, how will you cover a sudden repair to your car or medical expense? If you live in Texas, online installment loans may stand in for your credit card emergencies. There are even installment loans online in Texas that may be available with bad credit, offering convenient access to cash loans over the phone.
Will every person buying loot boxes eventually have to use a Texas installment loan? No, but anyone buying too many loot boxes may have to cut costs when they’re living above their means.
3. Pay-to-Play Alters Gameplay
Lastly, microtransactions alter the game for non-paying players. While some games only ever allow frivolous or cosmetic items to be purchased through microtransactions, not all developers are on the same page. Free mobile games are especially bad for this.
So-called “freemium”, these games are free to download but require in-game purchases to progress through the game.
Let’s face it — when certain players, shortcuts, or loot are sealed behind a paywall, you’re not getting the full experience. And that sucks. Knowing you’re missing out can easily push you to buy something you didn’t plan on purchasing.
Gaming monetization can interfere with gameplay, lead players to overspend, and may be encouraging gambling behaviors. With the microtransaction market expected to grow to $67.6 billion this year, microtransactions are great for developers but bad for gamers.
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