Unfair play? Video games as exploitative monetized services: An examination of game patents from a consumer protection perspective

Details

Ressource 1Download: King_CHB_2019.pdf (447.04 [Ko])
State: Public
Version: Final published version
License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
Serval ID
serval:BIB_874129D2E646
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Title
Unfair play? Video games as exploitative monetized services: An examination of game patents from a consumer protection perspective
Journal
Computers in Human Behavior
Author(s)
King Daniel L., Delfabbro Paul H., Gainsbury Sally M., Dreier Michael, Greer Nancy, Billieux Joël
ISSN
0747-5632
Publication state
Published
Issued date
2019
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
101
Pages
131-143
Language
english
Abstract
Video games as a consumer product have changed significantly with the advent of in-game purchasing systems
(e.g., microtransactions, ‘loot boxes’). This review examines consumer protections related to in-game purchasing
by anticipating some of the potential design strategies that might contribute to higher risk consumer behavior.
Attention was directed towards the analysis of patents for potential in-game purchasing systems, with 13
identified on Google Patents. The design features were analysed in relation to the consumer rights and guarantees
described in the terms of use agreements of the patent assignees. The analysis revealed that some in-game
purchasing systems could be characterized as unfair or exploitative. These systems describe tactics that capitalize
on informational advantages (e.g., behavioral tracking) and data manipulation (e.g., price manipulation) to
optimize offers to incentivize continuous spending, while offering limited or no guarantees or protections (e.g.,
refund entitlement), with the potential to exploit vulnerable players (e.g., adolescents, problematic gamers).
These findings are critically discussed in relation to behavioral economics, addiction psychology, and the clinical
conceptualization of gaming disorder. Appropriate policy and consumer protection measures, psychologically
informed interventions, and ethical game design guidelines are needed in order to protect the interests and
wellbeing of consumers.
Keywords
Human-Computer Interaction, Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous), General Psychology, Gambling, Gaming
Web of science
Open Access
Yes
Create date
10/01/2020 10:30
Last modification date
29/01/2020 7:19
Usage data