Are new gaming trends introducing Gambling to children?

It’s a simple enough question to answer, Do new gaming systems like loot crates introduce kids to the concept and mechanics of gambling?

Jumping back to yesterdays post I thought I would ask the question is gambling being fed by stealth to a generation of kids coming down the line. If you are in the dark as a parent games are now offering a purchase to upgrade your “player” experience. purchase a “loot crate” or some other package for real money without knowing exactly what you are getting or how it will enhance your player or gaming experience. IF you do not do this you risk playing at the bottom tier of the gaming ladder and as such risk losing quite often.  Kids being kids will then talk in the playground about having an item or upgrade and thus forcing the child to ask can they buy the upgrades until they surpass or match the “friends” achievements.

David G. Schwartz is the director of the University of Nevada Las Vegas’s Center for Gaming Research and the author of numerous books on the history of gambling. He offered his thoughts as an individual researcher and stressed that he did not speak for his organization.

“For something to be considered gambling, the classic definition [is] risking something of value on an unknown outcome in hope of getting a payoff,” he said. “With a loot box, it’s pretty much that.”

The problem is that being computer games either mobile or console kids are being introduced to a world where gambling in this form is becoming the norm and as such when they get older will still look to get that “win” to keep them hooked.

Look at Fifa Ultimate Player packs, hundreds if not thousands could be spent on these packs to enhance your team of players. you have zero ideas of what player you will get in a pack only that you “may” get the ones you want or need. On the odd occasion you get a small win, just enough to get you in the frame of mind of try again for the next win, its the same temp high from a small win on the slot machines hoping for the jackpot, enough return to get you hooked and coming back for more.

Les Bernal, national director of Stop Predatory Gambling, which researches the gambling industry in the US and advocates for regulations to prevent gambling addiction, agreed. “These game publishers are blatantly exploiting minors, viewing them as an easy way to boost profits,” he said, Les continues “Young people are more susceptible to gambling problems. They’re at a point in their development where being exposed to commercial gambling has a devastating impact.”

Gaming publisher EA will argue that a loot box system is not a form of gambling as players will “always” get a return on the purchase of the loot box, take note that you may already have every single item in said box and as such you got nothing, kinda like a spin of the slot machine getting a row of items that stop on the payout line but don’t constitute a payout… you got something right! just not what you wanted or needed…

As part of this post and a radio interview, I have reached out to PEGI “Pan European Game Infomation” that rates games in the EU and as noted Rates Fifa18 for example a “3” for feedback on if we may see warnings on games such as Fifa18 that this has an in-game purchase engine that is built on a gambling model as there is no known return for your purchase? PEGI does have a Gambling rating. I wonder how hard EA would fight to not have that rating on its box…

I think we need to look at 4 key questions

  1. Companies need to be transparent about the cost of loot boxes openly
  2. Is it right that minors have access to these in-game purchases
  3. Do gaming companies need to introduce parental lock outs for minors to prevent loot boxes being avaible
  4. Do gambling mechaincs belong in console and video games?

Star Wars Battle Front 2 a game that heaveily employed this mechanic currently on the site MetaCritic has a .9 rating out of 10 with an OVERWHEALIMG Dislike from over 7300 gamers.

User Review

I usually despise people that review games before they come out, but EA is ruining this game so badly I have to protest too. They have basically installed a free to play model game, unless you have no life and play this all day for a year you wont be able to unlock anything without spending money. I expect this environment in free to play cell phone games like Clash of Clans but I don’t expect this from a game I already have to pay 59.99 for. They need to take out all micro transactions. Ones that affect aesthetics could be acceptable even but don’t base the entire game unlocks around it. I was dying to play this game however I will join everyone else and boycott it in hopes it sends a message to EA prevent this behavior.

Micropayments, waste 10+ hours grinding or pay real money. Do not buy these kind of games to let them die

The Working Dad

The Working Dad

The Working Dad is a regular guy called Darren, Working as a senior manager for a leading NGO I have two kids and happily married. This is my blog about the life and times of being a dad today..
The Working Dad

Latest posts by The Working Dad (see all)