VIRTUAL GOODS & MICROTRANSACTIONS
Virtual goods are the items purchased in a video game using microtransactions.
What are virtual goods?
Virtual goods are items that can be purchased or won within a video game.
They either improve the gameplay (e.g. a more powerful gun) or change the aesthetic of the game (e.g. the look of a gun)
Some virtual goods can be bought and sold on online marketplaces for real money.
Aside from their in-game use, virtual goods can be used to gamble or bet.
The most expensive virtual item ever sold was the Club Neverdie in the game Entropia Universe. Club Neverdie is popular night club and was sold for $635,000 USD
Why you should be concerned
VIRTUAL GOODS CAN BE USED TO GAMBLE OR BET.
THEY CAN INTRODUCE CHILDREN TO GAMBLING
THEY ARE NOT REGULATED.
THEY ARE BIG BUSINESS.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?
- Discuss the risks of gaming with your child and encourage your child to reach out for help when needed.
- Don’t give your children access to your passwords. Know which games are downloaded and played.
- Have a play of the game yourself. You’ll quickly work out if the game is appropriate or not.
- Monitor your credit cards and look for unaccounted expenses
- Ask your child how they can best balance screen-time and real life activities. It empowers them to do the right thing.
- Let game developers and government know that you expect games to be designed safely.
WHAT CAN THE GOVERNMENT DO?
- Introduce regulation that ensures that minors are not engaging in predatory lootbox mechanics.
- Fund Education Campaigns so children are aware of the risks of gambling and how they can infiltrate video games.
- Run an awareness campaign about how gambling is found in video games.
- Introduce clear consumer protection guidelines so children do not run the risk of normalising gambling.
- Provide ethical frameworks to the video game industry and engage them into long-term, supportive and collaborative conversations about safety online.
RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE
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