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Microtransactions Should Be Banned in Video Games

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Debate Round Forfeited
AdmiralSn4ckb4r has forfeited round #3.
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/9/2018 Category: Games
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,418 times Debate No: 113683
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
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  • The author and debator resides in New Zealand, so mostly uses sources from New Zealand news and other websites. Occasionally the author may use sources from other websites. In all cases, the author endeavors to link the original articles at the end of each argument or say the name of the website to show that work has been referenced (but not plagiarised). The author hopes you understand and remember this for this debate.

They go by many names. In-app purchases, DLC, booster packs and loot boxes. All are only different by name, and can be summarised in one word. Microtransactions. From Angry Birds to Candy Crush and Poke"mon Go to Puzzlerama, all have microtransactions in one shape or form. These "very small financial transactions online", according to Oxford Dictionary, ruins minds and promotes an unhealthy lifestyle. These should not be in our lives, and as such should be banned. One of the reasons why microtransactions should be banned is that they encourage bad habits such as gambling.

Imagine you have a chess set, and because you love Star Wars, it is a Star Wars chess set. Now imagine playing with a friend who spent $200 to have the chance that his pawns act like queens. What would you do? Would you play with the disadvantage, or pay money to be equal?(1) This is the premise behind loot boxes and booster packs. Both have random chances of giving you a certain item such as a new costume, and both do not always contain the items that you paid for. Sound familiar? Casinos use a similar premise with their slot machines. So are these loot boxes and booster packs a form of gambling? The gambling authorities of Belgium, China, Japan and Australia do, with South Korea and Germany already having regulations on them. However, the United States and New Zealand"s authorities say there is no gambling involved. The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs says that loot boxes are "a marketing tactic by companies to get the consumer to pay more money".(2) As such, it is not considered gambling and does not have any restrictions. Normally, this would be good for some people, but we have to consider the fact that children play these games too. Without any restrictions, young innocent minds can gamble freely with no repercussions, just as long as there is money they can spend. This behaviour is not good for children who do not know better. Microtransactions should be banned so that children do not develop the tendencies of a gambler, who wastes all their money on a virtual game trying to win something.

(1)(2) A Beginners Guide to Loot boxes: Harmless Fun or Gambling? (, 2017)


I am glad that you have posted this debate as it is a big topic right now. I gladly accept you challenge and hope to have a civil debate on this topic.

As you stated, they are not actually considered gambling in the U.S. and in New Zealand even though they probably should be. If you look at Overwatch, one of the biggest games right now have micro-transactions in the form of loot boxes. There are 3 ways in the game to gain loot boxes; leveling up, playing the arcade mode which can give you from 3 to 7 boxes depending on the event that is up and finally of course buying them. These are like playing a slot machine but the thing is all of the items are cosmetic only and offer no competitive advantage at all. Overwatch, also every couple of months releases new game modes, maps and especially heroes, all given to each player for free with no extra cost. Overwatch should have them because they aren't asking for players to buy a season pass to unlock skins, maps, game modes and heroes. It allows the developers to get money to continually bring more free content for us gamers.

Again, thank you for bringing this topic out and lets be fair.
Debate Round No. 1


Firstly, thank you for accepting my challenge. I agree to also have a civil debate about this.

In your argument, you talked about Overwatch as an example of loot boxes. Yes, Overwatch is the perfect example of companies implementing loot boxes without affecting the consumer. As you said, the boxes are only cosmetic and offer no advantage to the player.

However, many games aren't as nice as this. Take the most recent scandal to hit the media: Star Wars Battlefront 2 by EA. In Star Wars Battlefront 2, being able to play as Darth Vader requires 60,000 credits to unlock, the equivalent of a minimum 39 hours of straight play. To get everything in this game without paying, you need to spend 4528 hours playing, or nearly 6 months. If you don't want to wait this outrageous time, its loot boxes contain these credits. They also offer Star Cards, special items and powerups for use in online play. You are disadvantaged if you don't purchase these loot boxes, as players will be more likely to win with these boxes. This is a problem with the gaming industry, and other companies are taking advantage of this waiting/collecting time to capitalise on our play styles. Pok"mon Go, a hit mobile game where you catch creatures called Pok"mon in the real world, has examples of this. In the game, you can purchase Pok"coins, the in-game currency. The prices for these starts at $1.49 and goes up to $159.(1) Now while most people would say that spending $160 is crazy and no one will ever buy it, they are only partly true. Some buy it. These big spenders are known as "whales" - yet another term taken from the casino industry - and companies will do anything to attract them. Another example of companies who want to attract whales in King, who created Candy Crush Saga, among other games. Candy Crush has a life system, in which you lose a life if you fail a level. Three lives gone, and you cannot do another level until you have at least one. You can either wait up to three hours for a life, or pay $1.49. Some people do wait, but considering King made $2 billion in 2017, people decided to pay.(2)

This marketing companies behind this are clearly only invested in making money off the customer. The only reason why most of these games are engaging is that they want the consumer to get so invested in the game that they will pay money for the most mundane things.

Again, thank you for accepting the debate, and I can't wait to hear you argument back. :)


I agree with you on star wars battlefront 2 and your other examples. I believe if they are regulated and only cosmetic only they should be allowed in the game. Candy crush as you said is another example that is ok. All it does is gain a life. There is no competitive advantage. It is only $1.49 which is why I think people bought them. Star wars as you said is a horrible use of micro transactions. people can buy items to give them an advantage and it was so wrong. I want to add that micro transactions originated in free to play games as a source of secondary income. If the game is already $60 it shouldn't have them in their game.
Debate Round No. 2


Yes, Microtransactions did originate in free-to-play games such as Candy Crush Saga, and in the past, it was a source of secondary income. Not anymore. These days, companies with free-to-play games are always looking for ways to get the consumer to spend more money. Take the tutorials in these games. They provide you with a premium currency, then makes you spend it to speed things up/buy premium items/open land etc. . This ingrains a habit within your mind that when you are faced with the same situation, you'll make the same purchase. But oops, turns out you don't have enough of that premium currency to do the action, so 8 times out of 10, people will buy more premium currency.

Other games also lure you in with its microtransactions. "Final Fantasy All The Bravest", a mobile iteration of the popular "Final Fantasy" series, has a system of progression that is gambling in everything but name. Players pay a dollar a pop to unlock one of 35 characters, doled out randomly. If there's one you especially want, or need to progress in the game, you could be looking at spending $35 or more. (1) We shouldn't have companies try to deceive our way of thinking just in the purpose of making a quick dollar. What companies should be doing is keeping its players around by its exciting gameplay, not by forcing them to pay money just to have fun in their games.

Thank you for arguing in this debate. My very first debate has been really eye-opening to the ways that I can improve my overall debating skills. I thank you AdmiralSn4ckb4r for being a worthy opponent and I can't wait to see your final response :).
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Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by TheGames4Meh 3 years ago
I forgot again to include my sources for round 3. In future, I will make sure that I include my sources in my argument instead of forgetting and having to do it in the comments.

Posted by Derplord45 3 years ago
it's your choice to buy them :)
Posted by TheGames4Meh 3 years ago
Sorry, I forgot to include my sources. Here they are:
(1) Freemium Games (Consumer New Zealand, 2016)

(2) Microtransactions turn mobile video games into mobile casinos (The Daily Athenaeum, 2018)
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