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Profiting on In-Game Incentives: Right or Wrong?

Are promotions built into the purchase of video games a problem that needs to be addressed, or is it simply the way things are now in 2018? It’s a longstanding question about whether or not companies should provide incentives for users to spend real money on paid and free-to-play games; developers and publishers indicate it’s just another way to incentize someone to purchase their product, allowing them to offer their game originally as a free-to-play experience, or at a reduced price. Those who oppose the practice, say it lures in people who shouldn’t be spending the money in the first place, sinking those individuals further into a debt they likely won’t be able to pay back in a reasonable amount of time.

The temptation from a user stand point is definitely there, but is it a ethical problem? It’s not just video games either. Should companies like Genting Casino, for example, not offer a Genting Casino Bonus Card for spending certain amounts of money on their site? Let’s dive into this problematic topic.

The Developer / Publisher Perspective

Games are incredibly expensive to create and produce, and developers are looking for anyway to increase revenue in order to keep the entry price of games as low as possible. In the United States and Canada, traditionally during the 90s and early 2000s, video games were priced at a modest 59.99, not dependent on country. As the Canadian dollar began to dip compared to the US dollar, prices in Canada have risen, leaving a traditional video game sitting on the self at retail with an 79.99 price tag. Even as the dollar has improved, the price of games in Canada, at least, has not fallen. There is a simple reason for this: game developers had a legitimate reason to raise game prices in Canada to 79.99, but have also left those prices in tact despite improvements in the Canadian dollar. Why? Games. Cost. Money.

Canada isn’t the only country who now pays a premium for video games. Australia is probably the perfect example, where games can cost over 100 Australian dollars, which is astronomical even when compared to Canadian figures. Now, Developers and Publishers are looking to adapt, and while they haven’t yet hit the free-to-play point like many mobile titles have, you definitely see that becoming the norm soon.

Mobile developers have figured this out, but that probably has more to do with the platform as opposed to the games themselves. No one is paying more than 10 bucks for a game on mobile, and it’s a proven fact that free-to-play games with in-app purchases get downloaded MUCH more frequently than paid games. How do companies rack in profits? In game purchases, often couple with…you guessed it….bonuses.

In Disney’s Magic Kingdom, for example, more often than not, Gameloft is offering a “Buy our premium currency pack, get 15% more premium currency.” Why do they do this? Incentive. They want you to feel like you are getting more for your dollar, and that incentive is enough to make hundreds of thousands of people purchase the product.

The Push Back Perspective

So many people, however, see these types of incentives as luring, especially to younger minds. You get so invested in an experience that you become willing to throw down hundreds of dollars to buy specific items in the game, all because you got a bonus. It is trickery, say most experts, and taking advantage of those with less of a hold on their own personal finances. But is this really the case?


Incentives are fine, in my opinion. While I agree that companies – and in some instances online casinos as well – are incentivizing you to purchase their in-game products. But they are giving you something you wouldn’t otherwise get, and generally, I do find the bonuses completely worth it. If you don’t have a good hold on your personal finances, downloading the application in the first place is just a bad idea. If you can budget your spending correctly, however, purchasing an incentivized perk every now and then isn’t a bad thing, and companies will make it worth your while.



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