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Should the new generation consol games include information about microtransactions?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/25/2013 Category: Games
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 542 times Debate No: 41181
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
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As many parents do not understand the issues of microtransactions and have most likely never heard of them, they may risk leaving a young child on an account with credit/debit card information. This in turn could lead to the child unintentionally spending money, therefore is it likely that the games are intentionally taking advantage of this lack of knowledge or is this mearly an issue which they need to fix by passing information on to the bill payers?


Microtransactions are a plague on modern gaming. Information about these should not be present as they themselves should not be. This is because micros are often a form of in game content which should be available to the player with the purchase of the game, not by the purchase of an in game transaction. Examples of this include unlocking cars in recent Forza Motorsport through in game microtransactions whereas in previous installments they are unlocked via a players skill within the game. Another example of microtransactions plaguing the industry is EA's Fifa series. Fifa now contains a new game mode 'Ultimate Team'. This mode involves buying packs with coins to unlock new players to add to your 'dream team'. This mode is fueled by the need to pay real money for coins to buy packs. You can win coins by playing online games but the amount of games you have to play to get enough coins to buy a pack (which normally doesn't contain anything good) isn't worth it. It is more worthwhile to either go into trading (more trouble than it is worth) or outright buy packs. These are two simple reasons why microtransactions shouldn't appear in console gaming, regardless of whether info is given by companies.
Debate Round No. 1


actually, in previous versions of Forza additional cars had to be purchased in DLC packets, much like they do on the new one, the only difference is the ease with which the cars can be bought, therefore by placing a few layers of simple messages informing people that it's going to cost them, or their parents, to take part in microtransactions and informing them of the ease with which you could lose money without proper supervision parents could disable microtransactions and save themselves a lot of money.

Also how microtransactions are used by game developers is not being judged. DLCs which most people are happy to buy are often designed before the game is released and only released later, how microtransactions are used at least the stuff is available from the start, even if they do overprice the items.

Finally they allow the less skilled player to finish their favorite games, when they're actually prepared to pay more to do it.


Games already have a 'few layers of simple messages' regarding microtransactions. Its called the Terms and Services, and does anyone ever read them? No, which is why developers get away with the things they do. The monotonisation of these games through on disc-day one DLC (which is just as bad as microtransactions, and so similar that I am lumping them together here) doesn't stop there though. Your point is that companies should write a few sentences explaining microtransactions. The reason they don't (aside from the TAS) is that they don't WANT parents to know about them. Companies thrive off kids who purchase their content via microtransactions because they don't know any better.

Your suggestion that people are happy with DLC being designed before the game is released is definitely wrong. Most people's (including my) opinion of this "on-disc" DLC is that if it is done before a games release, why isn't it on the disc? Why should we pay the "50 for the game and an extra "20 for content which, in the past, would be available when the game was released.

Your final point may be correct for the minority of microtransactions (minority is an overstatement) as most microtransactions don't contain content allowing the player to finish a game. This type of microtransaction is often encountered in Free to play titles, which usually are designed to not be finished, but to be endless, so this point is null also. In addition, these games usually require little to no skill to play, so the idea that this content needs to be bought to help progress in F2P games usually isn't valid. In retail games, the situation is even worse. Typical microtransactions include cosmetic changes (see the infamous "Horse Armour" DLC for The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion + the "Beach Bikini" DLC for Dead or Alive 5") and extras such as map packs for Call of Duty.

Your move :)
Debate Round No. 2


I would hardly regard T&S to be a "few simple messages". the reason that parents (or in fact everybody else) neglect to read them is because it would take too much of their life for the few sentences which are actually relevant to their lives. surely if the messages were only one sentence the parents would read them. As for the point of game developers wanting the parents to be unaware, I bring the simple counter of governing bodies. If it were made a legal necessity to do something simple like place some messages warning parents of the existence and risks of micro transactions and asking them to re-enter 4 randomly placed numbers on their credit/debit card before payment then this would no longer be an issue and micro transactions could continue to function as a profitable and appreciated, even if not by many, part of gaming.

Also I did not state that people were happy that they didn't get pre developed DLCs free, only that people didn't mind buying them after the rights to play them were released. As is shown by the millions of COD fanatics who repeatedly throw money into map packs blissfully unaware that they were designed before release. In fact I am also willing to bet that the majority of them would continue to pay for these DLCs even if they were aware of when they were released, so why wouldn't they pay for the micro transactions. And if people are willing to pay for them then why shouldn't the game developers use them.

I would finally like to split your last argument in half. In the case of free to play titles, micro transactions, advertisement and DLCs are their only source of income. As most people don't wish to watch adverts before or during game play this leaves them with DLCs and micro transactions. As the primary function of a DLC is to unlock the ability to get something, and not to give them the item itself, this isn't much help to someone who needs or wants the item immediately to do something. Thereby leaving micro transactions designed to give your player that item you so desperately want.

The other half of your argument seems somewhat weak however. If somebody wishes to spend their hard earned salary on an outfit for a non existent person they'll likely never see after the next release then isn't that their choice? All that the micro transactions have done is given them the choice of whether to buy it or not, it hasn't forced them to pay. With the correct warnings and security procedures no one would have bought the outfit without knowing that this was what they intended to do, if they believe that they're going to get a great deal of satisfaction from this then let them decide.

p.s. well played


(Sorry for the massive wall of text, I just kept writing and couldn't stop!)

You state that governing bodies should make it a legal necessity to warn parents about microtransactions. What you are missing is two points. Point one is that it is most certainly already a legal necessity to warn about microtransactions. Without repeating myself too much, it is present in the T&S so they have met the requirements. If you are proposing an additional requirement of displaying it in a more notable place you are not baring in mind that parents will often not see the message. Children are playing Tablet and IOS games from as young as they can operate such devices. They aren't going to be supervised when playing these handheld games as it would be time consuming for the parent (who has many other responsibilities) to sit down with their child and watch every little thing they do, not to mention, understand the concept of microtransactions and what a child can potentially do with a Tablet or IOS game. Remember, most parents don't know any more than their child is playing a game with no additional cost but the money it cost to buy the device) Teenagers spending ridiculous amounts on FIFA Ultimate team packs (I should know. I was a victim of this!) aren't going to have parental supervision and are free to spend as much has they want until their parents find out through a bill (in which case the damage is already done). Of course linking to a credit card will help the cause somewhat, but whats to stop a child finding their parents credit card when they're not looking or even just ask the unaware parent who has no reason to object when their child can either lie or twist what they are doing when questioned.

I know what I am about to say is entirely off topic, but this needs to be stated. As stated previously, F2P games are normally fine when it comes to certain microtransactions, DLCs etc. However I disagree with your point that the primary function of DLCs is to unlock an 'ability'. DLCs normally focus on additional content rather than content that can be found in the main game (such as your example of an in game item). I am normally fine when it comes to DLCs (not season passes, but that's a different argument) as some DLCs can be brilliantly designed and add more to a great experience (See Infamous: Festival of Blood and Bioshock 2: Minevra's Den). What you are referring to with your 'ability to get an item' point most certainly come under micro transactions, but unfortunately most microtransactions do not apply to things like this. Your typical microtransactions give out experience points where the main aim of the game is to amass EXP to unlock items to, in turn, amass more EXP. If you pay to get EXP, then fine - you will get the item. However all this item is, in essence, is a disguised game mechanic to get more EXP, to get the next item, to get more EXP. This fact has led to many (if not most) games being nothing more than a disguised tool to encourage kids to use microtransaction to give the developers money. It would be somewhat better if the game was fun, and micotransactions existed only as an afterthought to the game a developer poured love and hard work into, but that most often isn't the case.

Finally your last point. There is one crucial flaw in your first point. 'Hard earned salary'. Kids, the main target by developers regarding microtransactions, do not have a 'hard earned salary'. They have no concept of money. They will spend as much as they can, just because they can. The parents will no nothing of their 'hard earned salary' disappearing until it is too late. 'All that the micro transactions have done is given them the choice of whether to buy it or not". This may be true at face value but there is more to this. They encourage it. Messages pop up regularly, encouraging and pushing the player towards buying them. Telling them that they can skip the current section by paying a few pounds. Kids don't have any concept of greedy businessmen. They think the game is trying to help them and so they go along with it most of the time. And to bring it back around to your initial point, while messages like these exist, information for parents may as well not bother being there as it completely negates this.
Debate Round No. 3


brepar forfeited this round.


sbailey forfeited this round (not really)
Debate Round No. 4


I also accept that tablets and the such like would take much more than just messages warning of micro transactions, especially when the games are replaced so frequently, however this debate is specific to consoles. In the case of handhold consoles it would be possible for it to display the messages itself on the entering of the credit/debit card information which is used by the micro transactions, perhaps even with a setting to turn them off should the parent wish to do so.

I don't much understand why people would spend much money on packs like that myself, however if the teenager has this connected to their own account, with their own money, and with overdrafts disabled on the account then the most damage that the teenager can do is to spend their pocket money. As such the major issue here is the younger game audience. In truth there is nothing to stop the child from stealing their parent's credit/debit card short of the parent bringing their child up with morals, and there is nothing that the console can do to help with that. however if the parent were warned of the damage that the micro transactions could do there is a chance that they would be able keep their card on them so that the child can not steal it. I accept that most parents can't see that their child could possibly be a thief but at least they will have been informed. Even without that, the parent using a pass code to disable micro transactions will mean that even if the child does steal the card then there is nothing that they can do with it.

I also agree that the game comes first, however that does not mean that the micro transactions should not exist. Some games, For example team fortress 2, enable players to buy weapons/hats with real world money to help them do better in the game with little or no reward for their spending. However the game is still amazing and through these micro transactions, which are not in any way over advertised, they are able to not only make money out of the game but also to offer it to others free of charge and run community servers, with a person who gives the game time and perseverance getting the same weapons as the person using micro transactions. In fact, if anything, the game rewards those who earn the weapons more as they are announced as having gotten it in the game server.

With proper precautions and information for parents in place the child would not, without the permission of the parent, be able to spend their salary; as such it would come back to the point of the parent spending their hard earned salary again.
I also agree with both the fact that kids don't understand the concept of greedy businessmen and with the over advertisement of most micro transactions, which is why I believe that how they are used should be changed. In addition if parents were to raise their children with the sense of satisfaction in completing something then they would not want to skip the level and if the parents had disabled micro transactions then even with this advertisement by the 'helpful' game the child would be unable to spend the money that wasn't theirs.

I thank you for this informative debate and would like to summarise what I'm pushing for to make it easier to follow, especially since it has been added to since the beginning of the debate.

1. Information in games and on the setup of consoles on micro transactions to inform parents
2. Micro transactions can be used to good effect in a game but it requires them to not take advantage of the consumers.
3. The ability of parents to disable micro transactions on a console
4. To make the transactions require both a pass code and random numbers from credit/debit cards when micro transactions are disabled

also, don't worry about the wall of text, you've got a whole 10,000 characters to spend.


(HOLY "Profanities are not allowed in your argument." , THIS IS EVEN LARGER THAN THE LAST ROUND)

My final thoughts.

In a perfect world, microtransactions would not exist. In a near perfect world. your four points at the end would be in effect to help prevent the trouble being caused by them right now. However, this can never be possible.

If we start from the top, from the top of my head I can't recall examples of microtransactions in handheld systems apart from the recently released Bravely Default (my god what an awful title). The game actively encourages microtransactions and features content (in this case special attacks) only unlockable via these transactions. The problem with this is that one, they are portrayed in the game as part of the story and as such hard to give a warning about. Two, handheld games consoles are, as you know, played via a small screen usually not in view of anyone but the user therefore making messages intended for parents, the ones who won't be seeing it, obsolete. My final, and most key point is that the information will not be tied to the console, the whole point of your argument, but the games themselves. And now we get back to the greedy businessmen argument. While you might say that developers should include the information, there is no legal requirement to and their never will be. Developers won't stand for it despite the fact that they should be.

In short, the information will never reach the bill payers concerning handheld consoles.

Okay, so you are talking about young children, not teenagers, spending their parents salary on microtransactions. You again emphasize passcodes. This will not work. Once again, even when it comes to console and PC gaming, the information will very rarely get to the bill payers. They will be powerless, for a least a while, while they watch their hard earned money disappear. The idea of raising children better as to steal their parents credit card means nothing when you consider the card will already be on the system as online is now behind a pay wall for PS4 and Xbone. All microtransactions require internet connection (I may be wrong on this) and therefore the child needs only to ask for the card for internet connection and then use the same card later without worry of needing to steal or ask their parent for use again. Also, random numbers from cards will not work. You underestimate how easy a child can remember things like this, which they will have known from when the card is used to bypass the pay wall.

Next up, TF2. Team Fortress 2 is a Free to play game and therefore microtransactions are acceptable to a degree. The game needs to be supported in some way and the weapon mechanic you mention sounds like it is a example of microtransactions being used in a good way. The hats on the other hand... ("help them in the game"? seriously? :P) Other games (such as Forza and Gran Turismo) who are using microtransactions despite being the full "50 retail price need to follow the FT2 model that TF2 uses. This small except shows what Gran Turismo 6 is doing with microtransactions.

We already knew Polyphony's racer would include microtransactions - a first for the series. Now we're nearing the game's Friday 6th December release more information on how these work has been revealed.
Let's start with the virtual currency, credits. Credits, which you use to buy cars and parts, can be bought in 500K, 1 million, 2.5 million and 7 million denominations.
The PlayStation Store updated today with the prices for these. They are as follows:
500,000 In-Game Credits ("3.99/"4.99)
1 Million In-Game Credits ("7.99/"9.99)
2,500,000 In-Game Credits ("15.99/"19.99)
7 Million In-Game Credits ("39.99/"49.99)
The video, below, showcases GT6's cars and reveals one of the top priced, the Jaguar XJ13, which costs 20 million credits. You can grind for it in traditional Gran Turismo fashion or you can buy it straight away if you drop "119.95 - that's the total you pay for two packs of 7m credits, two packs of 2.5m credits and one pack of 1m credits.
The issue is, will Gran Turismo's progression system be adversely affected by microtransactions? Eurogamer's Martin Robinson has been playing the game and tells me GT6's economy works exactly the same as GT5's, with progression, payouts and car prices very similar.
Sony maintains that GT6's microtransactions offer players an alternative fast-track route through the series' famously grindy progression. Eurogamer's review will be published on Friday.

This stuff is unacceptable and something needs to be done.

I've already addressed most of what you talk about in your fourth paragraph so I finish with this.

1. Microtransactions cannot be dealt with as simply as including information or forcing random numbers from cr/dr cards to be entered first.
2. DLC and microtransactions are different and both can be done good and bad (very, very bad). Developers need to learn the best way of implementing them.
3. point 2 will never happen because MOST developers are of the greedy businessmen stereotype.

Thanks for the great debate and btw, the wall of text was not a problem because of a character limit, but because it would be a hassle to read for you. (not that this one is much better...)
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by brepar 2 years ago
nicely finished, and the hats most definitely don't help with progression but you'd be surprised the money that $1 a hat can bring in when someone simply has to have the newest release.
Posted by brepar 2 years ago
my apologies for not responding on this last round, my internet connection didn't last the weekend. if you wish to continue the arguement i will create another debate on the same topic for us to continue and ask people to save voting until that debate has been concluded.

Thank you for your understanding.
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