It’s a sad reality of modern gaming that many titles today have built-in ‘features’ that allow you to spend even more money on what is, for all intents and purposes, gambling mechanics. Be it currencies to accelerate processes or the purchasing of ‘loot boxes‘ for in-game items/skins, while governments around the world continue to debate the subject, it’s no secret that many people are spending (or perhaps more accurately losing) a lot of money to what EA has (laughably) once described as “ethical surprise mechanics”.
One such example was seen only last week when a father found his daughter had spent nearly £5,000 on Roblox microtransactions. In a fresh report via Eurogamer, however, a student from the UK has revealed their story on how they spent £3,000 simply on an addictive purchase of FIFA 20 Ultimate Team packs.
Following an interview with student Jonathan Peniket, he has explained how his addiction to the FUT packs started and then spiralled into a huge £3,000 bill. Citing his belief that it is (or was) an addiction, this is a story well worth reading!
“2017 was the year that changed everything in my life. I was completing my last year of A-levels, with vague plans to go to university. In September my mum was diagnosed with cancer. Everything became about waiting until it would all just be a memory. Waiting until the day that my mum’s treatment would be over, when I’d have finished my exams and we could all appreciate normal life again.
I searched for any way to cope. The buzz of opening packs offered me an escape. Any rational sense of moderation and the value of money that my parents and grandparents had saved for my future began to subside. I felt like I needed the money now, to cope, and that in years to come my future self would somehow understand.
I was spending £30 at a time, then £40, then £50. By the time my card began to block my transactions, I was throwing £80 into the game four or five times a night. A few weeks before my exams, after days of watching people open packs on YouTube whilst my parents thought I was upstairs revising, the moment came when the money ran out. Money that my parents and grandparents had worked for, that had been given to me as savings for my future. I had blown almost £3000.
I was addicted to the buzz of chance when I bought packs. I agree now with what my Dad said that so angered me back in 2012: video game packs and loot boxes are a form of gambling.”
In a nutshell? We agree entirely with Jonathan here. A significant portion of game packs, loot boxes, microtransactions, whatever game developers may choose to call them, are undoubtedly a form of gambling. And the sooner it is recognized as such, the better!
Fortunately, countries such as Holland and Belgium have already put restrictions in place for these mechanics, and, based on recent news, it seems that the UK may shortly also follow suit. The mere basis that these so-called ‘ethical surprise mechanics’ clearly have addictive natures (with multiple example of proof), however, surely needs to be addressed throughout the world sooner or later!
What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!
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