Micro-transactions Need Legislation

The Zombie Chimp discusses how micro-transactions, and their predatory implementation in video games, deserve to be examined with legislative scrutiny.

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I agree they need some sort of legislation to keep these companies in check. I don't know about the rest of you but I am surely getting sick of getting nickeled and dimed to death on these full price games

AHall88313d ago

Nah, I'm good on that. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I don't want the government more involved in video games.

bluefox755313d ago

Agreed, but if N4G is any indication, there is a frighteningly high amount of people that do.

Jinger313d ago

N4g isn't even 1% of the total gaming population

bluefox755313d ago

@Jinger sure, but it's still a sample. Small sample sizes certainly have a chance of being unreliable, or unrepresentative of the larger population, but still worrying. Everyone is so quick to say "the government should do something about X", I think that's how it got so big and bloated to begin with.

morganfell313d ago


Gamers can self regulate with their wallets. You can't let the devil in just a little bit, or for only as long as you want. Once he is in that's it. That's why the quote exists, "If you sup with the devil, best use a long spoon."

Maybe certain people grew up in a situation where someone else wiped their butt for them. But this isn't a case where you want an outside entity doing things we are capable of doing ourselves.

Godmars290313d ago

No, they can't.

While consumers are a market block, they've never been a united market block. Some will always say "meh" or just accept bad business practices and the whole thing regarding whaling, refashioning the industry towards serving a minority who had someone to wipe their butts at the cost of the majority who do it themselves, is general bad business.

morganfell313d ago

Have you been asleep the past 3 weeks? Apparently. That was united enough to stop matters to the tune of 3 Billion with a B Dollars. No government, no intervention. Just gamers.

Godmars290313d ago

Except complaining wasn't directly responsible, Disney upset at what the backlash would do to their IP was. EA and the like will continue to monetize games beyond the point of base purchase. They will continue to regard business models and research panels over any entertainment or artistic value. You're a fool to think otherwise.

I get that government regulation is only going to invite moral minded @$$-hats into the mix, at the very least something needs to happen to curtail things so crap like this wont happen again. And it will happen again.

morganfell313d ago (Edited 313d ago )

"Except complaining wasn't directly responsible, Disney upset at what the backlash would do to their IP was."

Disney was upset because gamers blew up. Not because some Congressmen said something. At no point did the government actively do anything. It was the gamers that brought them to their knees...THE GAMERS.

The second regulatory bodies are brought in, the opinions of gamers won't amount to squat. No government listens to consumer wishes in the manner that a company does when it is under consumer fire. Governments do what they personally want and call it "for the good of the people" even though the people do not want it. It happens every day.

The people accomplish things in days or weeks. Governments, if they get something done, take for ever and what they do winds up as a case of the cure being as bad as the disease. Imagine them passing a law and stomping on the rights of gamers in a way impossible to estimate - and it is impossible to estimate. Are you so naive to think a law will state - no loot boxes and that is it. Oh no. How long do you think it would take, if ever, to get such law changed, adjusted, or reversed? Go ahead, screw gamers because that is what will happen when the government is invited to the party.

Godmars290312d ago

And the irony there is that government doesn't generally work because corporations are shoulder deep - if not deeper - into government. Between lobbyist and people who only insist that government doesn't work while wanting to get into government who then make it work less, yeah, we're pretty much screwed. I'm not naive.

Still, you're not doing much better in thinking gamers are having that much effect when there are at least three similar instances of what EA - not all of them done by EA mind you - much less that gamers have been dealing with less for years. From bugs becoming a standard accepted thing to DLC day one and acting as if it didn't effect overall game development. As many have defended as complained about that crap just as many are now.

And right now we are dealing with companies thinking that they're entitled to unlimited profits at the direct cost of game quality and content. We aren't going to stop that because "we" are not a group or a community, we are a market. One that the corporate gaming industry has reduced to formulas that get inserted into titles that often override their basic design which was meant for entertainment. Something needs to be put into place even if it becomes as bad as what it tries to fix. Cause at that point will do something and they will do it for the sake of the market as well as their profits.

morganfell312d ago (Edited 312d ago )

I may not be doing much better but I am doing better period. At least I can see the cause and effect and I understand the danger of letting someone else wipe my butt.

You can call us a market if you want but it doesn't alter the fact one iota. The gamers, who happen to be the market (labels never alter the truth, just make some people that need them feel better) - they are selling games after all duh - moved on the issue and made a difference. They didn't need the government or some appointed government agency or representative. They, the gamers, the consumers (labels do not change the reality of who was responsible) made the difference necessary to affect matters. Government intervention is the nuclear option, a weapon of last resort, and one that wasn't and should not be introduced at this juncture. I can kill a fly with a hammer but I crack the table when I do. Now where am I?

Companies can think all they want about that to which they are entitled. As long as enough, not all, but enough gamers say no - in this case a 3 billion dollar no - then we can handle matters without legislative interference. The government that governs best is the one that governs least. Millennials may want those in power pushing a tit into their mouth because they are used to a life of babysitting but this latest incident proves such nursemaiding to be wholly unnecessary or welcome.

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FITSniper313d ago

Glad there's some sanity left out there.

zombiechimp313d ago

There are certain ideas that form circles, and that just keep revolving. No matter what the legislation is, certain software companies will find new and improved ways of getting more cash out of its customers.

That is not to say that legislation on micro-transactions shouldn't be considered, but it won't stop the problem permanently.

Jinger313d ago

Agreed. If consumers really dont ljke the practice then why are MT purchases rising and rising? Obviously there is a massive market that feels they are fine.

Like any free market item, if the consumer doesn't like it... don't f-ing buy it. Simple as that. We don't need big brother dictating publishers and developers on how to handle their games.

rainslacker313d ago

I'm not too keen on it, but at the same time, the companies don't seem to listen to what many complain about, so maybe there needs to be a different approach.

As it stands now, I'm not concerned, but looking at it as a slippery slope, I also don't want to be complaining about the government overstepping it's bounds using this gambling thing as some sort of stepping stone. There is a limit which I believe is acceptable, the government isn't there yet,some game publishers have been past that point for a while now.

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FITSniper313d ago (Edited 313d ago )

No they don't. They need people to not use them if they don't like them. I abhor them for pay to win aspects so I don't purchase them. Developers only make them because people buy them. Parents shouldn't give their kids a game with them and give them access to their credit card.

I have a feeling that the next generation of consoles is going to have some ability at the console level for parents to block microtransactions. Granted it's easy for them to block them by not inputting their card info onto the kids account.

Jinger313d ago

It's pretty simple... you make any purchases require a password input. Consoles do this, phones do this... it's a common feature in child lock features. I dont feel bad at all for the people who let their 5 year old rack up a $500 bill on Minecraft.

How about you parent and pay attention to what your kid is doing? Nooo can't do that, instead let's get the government involved.

Princess_Pilfer313d ago

That's not how that works.

1: They're deliberately playing on gambling addictions that exsist and creating the conditions for them in succeptable people where they don't exsist. That needs to stop, yesterday.

2: No. The make them because regardless of how many people don't buy the game or don't buy the microtransactions, they know they can get *enough* people hooked on the things to garuntee a profit, even if it's a less extreme profit than they were hoping for. So they're going to keep doing it, until such a time as it becomes more profitable to not do it (read: probably never,) or until they're legally not allowed to do it.

And in the mean time, they're destroying lives by deliberately creating gambling addicts, and destroying otherwise great games.

Gh05t313d ago

I,m sorry but how long have slot machine games been available for phones where you can spend money to buy fake coins? Forgive me if your sudden "save the children" speeches seem a little convenient.

You didnt care until it impacted what YOU want. These mechanics have been in games for a long time, you are only upset because they have found a way to profit from it but in reality they have been preying on this for decades.

No one cared before it landed in a game they wanted. I dont really believe anyone cares now. If they did Sticker machines, toy machines, trading card games, sealed mini figurines, Happy Meals with random "collectible" toys, all aimed DIRECTLY at children would be a problem. But all people are talking about is "my games." You dont really give a crap about the actual "gambling" problem you care because you dont want to pay to win. I dont blame you but at least I can call it out for what it is and dont hide behind "Will no one think of the children?" to do it.

The GOVERNMENT doesnt belong in my private moral choices. Let people make bad choices that is what being human is all about CHOICES! You cant baby proof life and it would be a bad life if we could.

Princess_Pilfer312d ago

Maybe, just maybe, don't put words in my mouth? Cus these mechanics don't belong in *any* games outside casinos. Period.

Also, You point to me the place in my post where I said "children". Go ahead, I'll wait.

Gambling isn't a moral choice. The government *absolutely* belongs in regulating overtly predatory busniess practices, just like the regulate regular gambling, and prevent companies from lying about what their product does, and a whole host of other consumer protections.

Gh05t313d ago

Translation: People are to stupid, undisciplined, and weak that we (read people who know better than you) need to protect them from themselves with government action.

"... whom in many cases are children or young adults who don’t quite grasp the economics of the big picture."

It is the onus of the parents to monitor a child's actions. Not to mention at what point does a child have the money to actually spend on these things? Last time I checked there were only two ways to buy MT one is using a gift card that is purchased in store. The other is a credit card. One of these a child can do but would then only be able to spend what cash they have (again relatively small amount) the other requires FRAUD which is already illegal.

My point being that although the MT may be in a game that children can play they should almost never even have the ability to buy them unless they stole something or were given the money to spend as they see fit. In which case again the onus of the parents to teach their children to spend money responsibly.

If you want this problem to stop then STOP BUYING THE GAMES AND MT's. It is really that simple. But stop using the "Think of the children" as the excuse. You know the same reason people want violence in video games to be removed. Its a bad excuse for parents not doing taking responsibility.

Jinger313d ago

Or if you share a console with a kid... require a password input before they can make purchases with your credit card. That is if you even save your credit card info on your console.

It's simple

rainslacker313d ago (Edited 313d ago )

While I'm all for more parental supervision and what not, you act like every minor is somehow poor and completely reliant on their parents to provide every bit of money they make. However, as early as 14 in most states, it is possible for a minor to get a job, and by 16 most minors do have a job of some sort. They aren't great jobs, but they tend to have an excessive amount of disposable income since they are unlikely to have other bills.

By the time I was 15, I was employed for 2 years, and was responsible for all of my console and software purchases outside the gifts from christmas and birthday. I would easily spend thousands a year to get that stuff. I probably would have spent more if I worked more.

Gh05t313d ago

Yeah that is where this line comes into play.

"In which case again the onus of the parents to teach their children to spend money responsibly."

rainslacker312d ago

I misread that line it seemed that you were implying they didn't earn the money themselves.

But yeah, the responsibility is on the parents, but at the same time, we know that parents aren't always responsible.

In any case, gambling is for 21 and over, so there is a 3 year gap there where they don't have to have parental supervision.

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