Gambling risk in gaming

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Peter Brandt December 11, 2020

Media educator Daniel Heinz warns of a risk of gambling in computer and video games. Many game manufacturers in the industries would implement various gambling mechanics in their products that can lead to dangerous addictive behavior. The educator sees children and adolescents in particular, since they are particularly susceptible to these mechanics. With his criticism, Daniel Heinz takes up a topic that has been causing excitement for several years.

In particular, Daniel Heinz sees the protection of minors at risk due to the gambling -like structures. ((©Free-Photos/Pixabay)

Criticism and Free2play-model

A widespread model in the gaming industry is the so-called Free2Play. As the name suggests, these are games that can be gambled without any remuneration. This model is particularly widespread in the mobile gaming market, which has developed rapidly since the accommodation of the smartphone. However, free access often only forms an incentive to invest real money in the course of the respective game. It can happen that only in-game purchases can be achieved.

As a result, the game principle not only deteriorates from Free2Play to Pay2win, but also points out due to the non -transparent probability calculation Certain purchase objects mechanics from the gambling industry. In any case, the media teacher Daniel Heinz sees it, who in this context specially cites youth protection and warns of a potential risk of gambling.

To person: In North Rhine-Westphalia, Daniel Heinz heads the Department of Digital Games at the department for youth media culture. At the same time, the graduate social pedagogue and media game teacher acts as a responsible instance for the information portal “Player ADRW”, where both parents and children can play tests and background information on the latest trends in the gaming industry.

Similarities with gambling

Night View of Daniel Heinz have now implemented mechanics in a variety of video games that have gambling as a role model and therefore have common ground with the industry. The media educator sees the productions that are used when opening in-game purchases such as loot boxes, such as loot boxes. So lighting harbor, virtual fireworks and also the different sounds are similar to slot machines that are off Casinos knows, built up. According to Heinz, younger players would often feel motivated to continue to spend real money for the respective game. Despite the parallels to gambling, however, he wants the developers no willful resolution Submit, to introduce children and young people to gambling:

“I don’t want to assume that directly for the developers. Of course, they want to re -import the production costs of a game. At best, they also want to generate profits. That is why the developers of Free2Play titles have an interest in the fact that as many children and adolescents as possible sink their pocket money into such games. ”Daniel Heinz, Media educator, Interview with The mirror

Media literacy against cost traps

The medial age opens in many ways to exploit unsuspecting victims. As a digital medium, video games are therefore predestined for cost traps. For this reason, Daniel Heinz calls for media literacy in dealing with Free2Play offers and possible additional costs in other games. The pedagogue is particularly responsible for the player. This must be Before installing a game Information about what the financial structure looks like in the further course of the game:

“[…] You should find out before installing a game: Can I really use this game for free? Can you also have success in the game without investing money? How high is the advantage that arises from in-game purchases? It also helps to switch off in-game purchases in the cell phone settings or not to store payment data on the console. This is how you protect yourself from your own misfortune. “Daniel Heinz, Media educator, Interview with The mirror

Focus on loot boxes

With his warning words and the gambling comparison within the gaming industry, Daniel Heinz is moving into public focus that has been causing some controversy for several years. The ongoing discourse begins in football simulation FIFA, the the Lootbox-System made socially acceptable in the industry. Players can be in popular mode Ultimate Team Pull card packs to get better and better football players for their own team.

As is the case with the so -called drop rate (the probability) of the individual player cards, it has not been communicated transparently for a long time and has ensured a public outcry in recent years. Many critical voices from various areas of public life threw the manufacturer Electronic Arts the use of gambling -like mechanics. In some cases, EA even had to answer to court and was forced to incorporate percentage information for the droprates to create transparency.

Court ruling in the Netherlands. Although the FIFA game series in USA is available in USA despite loot boxes and gambling-like mechanics without age restriction, the Netherlands made a revolutionary judgment last year. The western neighboring state has obtained by court decision that the loot boxes are classified as a gambling. As a result, EA had to make numerous changes for the Dutch version of the FIFA parts.