Online games are the new casinos
Are you really playing a game, or….
1. Casue and effect
Online games are the new casinos and there is a reason behind it. Free to play is a new business model that Game publishers have adopted in the past few years and is allowing players to play for free but at the same time be able to make micro transactions. This is a result of the previous model the “pay to play”, that had a lot of games that never delivered to the gaming community, it works both ways since now you don’t have to pay money up front.
Those micro transactions contain boxes or chests or what is commonly referred as an RNG reward. That acronym stands for “Random Number Generator” and that number refers to a certain reward inside that box. Of course the higher the value of the reward, the less are the chances for you to get.
Leaving the Pay to Play model in the past and following the new one, game publishers came up with ideas to get money from the players. The promise of the low cost and high rewards system is similar to that of the casinos, spend a trivial amount and win this amazing super rare item with a certain chance. To top this up they add certain events that give a boost in drop rates that include the cash shop boxes as well.
2. A simple example
A simple example would be “spend $2.99 and buy this box that has a 20% chance to reward you a rare in game commodity” that amount is not that great and it will lure a lot of player to spend that amount instead of $9.99 for a game they have not tried. Those who have the funds, will buy 5 of those in an effort to get that rare item with 100% certainty, which is not the case since chances do not add up, in fact that is a total of 68%.
Bare in mind that these chances are often 1-2% and percentage numbers are often not visible and in some countries still isn’t up until today due to the legislation that allows it or rather does not force them to, unlike countries in the European Union.
Events occur on a frequent basis, this means discounts, increased chances and various boost to enhance your gameplay. So if an event has a 20% increase in drop rates this means that you have the base drop rate multiplied by the bonus amount, in a 1% drop rate the chance increases by 0.2% and not 21%, so as you can see it is common misconception to add the percentages instead of multiplying them as you should.
Among all those players that participate, there are the lucky ones that will get a rare reward within the first few tries, which will infuriate those who can spend more and indirectly force them to buy more of the boxes in order to get what they want. It is almost the same as playing the roulette and betting the same number every time, eventually you will get it but looking back, how much have you lost in the process?
3. Making cash shop more appealing
Discounts usually make the chances more appealing, instead of $2,99 per box, you can often see $7.99 for 5 of these boxes and seems to be a bargain, if however you do the math it is still a 68% chance. With that being said playing the odds is pretty much the same as going to the casino. The worst part is that video games have players of age 7 or even younger, while casinos 20+ depending on the country. It is easy to cause addiction and huge losses to parents.
4. The consequences
A common phenomenon is that a parent will agree to make an in-game purchase and have as result to add their credit card, one mistake and the card will stay registered on the platform. From there on, it is easy for everyone to just keep on buying these RNG boxes in an effort to finally get what they are after.
It is a race from that point on, either the players luck will run out, or the money in the credit card, although in some cases, you can get a refund, there is a good chance this whole incident to cause more real life problems, an empty bank account or credit card is not good for anyone.