Because it is not enough to earn enough from selling game apps alone, manufacturers try to pull money out of their customers’ pockets through virtual use. Gaming is increasingly becoming a game of chance – with serious consequences.
Video Games and Gambling – When Does a Game Cross the Line? – Extra Credits
Kensgold is 19 years old and addicted to gambling. However, he does not satisfy his addiction by going to casinos, he plays on the computer. It started with game apps, it went on with video games, at some point he couldn’t do without it – and gambled away all his money.
“When the worst happened, I had two jobs and even considered dropping out of school,” says the gambler. He has verifiably spent $ 10,000 within two years – and all this on micropayments, so-called microtransactions.
The principle is Pay2Win – pay to win – and it’s the best running business model in the industry. All Pay2Win games will then work: downloading the game from the Google and Apple app stores costs nothing, the entry hurdle for new players is very low.
Billions in sales with mini payments
If you want to progress faster in the game, you can buy the progress. In the popular mobile game “Clash of Clans” you can buy virtual jewels that cost real money. Whoever purchases gems in the game pays at least 5.49 euros, an entire virtual box costs a whopping 109.99 euros.
In theory, the use of play money is voluntary, but in practice, you can buy superiority in the game. The players not only pay when buying the game but are always asked to do so, sometimes very bluntly – namely when they want to win. It is no longer a skill, reaction time, a strategy that counts, but your wallet.
The fact that the computer game industry has changed fundamentally can not only be seen from the increasing number of pixels on the screen. The gamblers used to shoot from angular weapons at even more angular opponents, today most games seem almost film-like. What you don’t see, however, is that the industry is currently softening the line between gaming and gambling.
The line to gambling is fading
A study by three researchers from the University of Hamburg. They compared the business models and sales figures of classic lotteries, casinos, and sports betting (on sites like live casino) with those of game apps, browser games, and classic console games.
The result: the distinction between gambling on one side and video game on the other is obsolete. Instead, gambling apps are increasingly found in gaming apps. Classic games of chance increasingly appear like harmless games of skill.
This is also shown by the industry indicators that the researchers evaluated in the study. Sales from the sale of computer and video games have been falling steadily since 2008. At the same time, however, the income from microtransactions in online and browser games is steadily increasing.
With Pay2Win games alone, the providers of apps generated sales of around eight billion euros worldwide in 2016. For 2017, the researchers expect sales to increase by almost 30 percent to more than ten billion euros.