Regulators in China and the UK turn their eyes toward streaming, gaming currency

    
6

China isn’t content to bulldoze its own local gaming industry by freezing game approvals, blocking kids from gaming outside of tiny windows, and freaking out investors; now, it’s turning its attention to gaming streamers, specifically the youthful sort. The South China Morning Post reported yesterday that China is also blocking kids under 16 from streaming on stream platforms. This, just like the earlier crackdown, will mean more compliance costs and efforts by companies like Tencent already reeling from stock hits, though it might be harder for kids themselves to circumvent. Unless they wear a fancy moustache or something, we guess.

Meanwhile, over in the UK, the country’s Committee of Advertising Practice published new guidance for purchases inside of video games and storefronts as well as advertising for them, including requirements to clearly label the real-world cost of premium currencies, though as VG247 notes, some games with in-game methods for earning currency will likely be exempted anyway.

“CAP and BCAP were concerned that the combination of proprietary virtual currency, bundling, and odd-pricing may have a serious impact on the ability of consumers (particularly children or vulnerable people) to understand how much real-world money they are spending on in-game items and, therefore, impact on their ability to make an informed decision about a purchase. Under the Advertising Codes, where an ad quotes a price for a product, the inclusive price of the product (or how it is calculated) is material information to a consumer’s transactional decision. Where the price is present but obscured, CAP and BCAP consider that this is unlikely to be compliant with the requirements of the Codes. The proposed guidance, therefore, explained that the real-world prices for in-game purchased products should be made clear to consumers in the storefront, considering the following: Whether proprietary currency is used; How bundling affects price; [and the] relationship between the cost of currency and the cost of items, where odd-pricing is a relevant issue.”

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority was just in headlines earlier in September as it’s the agency that put Star Citizen company Cloud Imperium on notice for misleading advertising of concept ships that don’t exist.

Source: SCMP via GI.biz, CAP via VG247
Advertisement

No posts to display

6
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Schmidt.Capela

It’s not that games where you can earn the currency in-game are exempt; they might be exempt if the currency can be earned in a “meaningful” way without spending money. From the guidance, referring to what can make an storefront fall under the guidance’s rules:

Use of a virtual currency that can only meaningfully be obtained through direct, real-world purchase. Provision of a ‘sample’ of virtual currency during the introductory elements of a game, or occasional gifting of the currency by the platform or other parties, is unlikely to be sufficient to negate this if that is the only point at which currency can be obtained without purchase by the player

In other words, it seems like cash shops viewed from the UK will need to make visible the price in real money unless their game is fairly generous in allowing players to earn the currency by just playing.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

There is a short analysis of the rules at https://www.linkedin.com/posts/peter-lewin_guidance-on-advertising-in-game-purchases-activity-6847086489327685632-9nZf . The most interesting bits, for me at least:

– Any advertisement outside the game for an item that costs less than the minimum amount of currency you can buy must include the information on which is the least amount of currency you can buy.

– Any ad must not put pressure on the player. For example, it must not associate success in-game with purchasing whatever is being advertised, or use short timers to make the customer more likely to purchase in a hurry without giving proper consideration.

– Ads for the game itself must not make the customer assume that items or other in-game benefits requiring extra payment are free, so if anything requiring a microtransaction is shown in an ad for the game itself the ad needs a disclaimer telling so.

Dantos
Reader
Dantos

I hate premium currencies. At the very least give me an option to buy a thing with $ (or local equivalent) directly so I don’t have to buy these stupid currency packs that always leave some left, which I know is a big reason they have premium currencies in the first place.

Reader
IronSalamander8 .

Exactly! Also they have those premium currencies so they’re separate entities and lots of players then don’t directly equate the premium currency with actual money so they tend to spend more.

I’ve always hated that; ‘this thing costs 4745 upyoursbucks’, and they seel those upyoursbucks in quantities of 1000, 5000, 10000, and 25000 so you end up with weird remainders like you point out. So annoying!

EmberStar
Reader
EmberStar

They use a couple of tricks. The first, and biggest, is just that it’s not “directly” real money. So people are already less attached to it. Second is (as noted) that they sell it in weird amounts that are intentionally set to always have some left over. And the third is that the weird amounts are also almost always at a weird conversion to real money (or they frequently sell it “on sale!”) so that it’s super hard to keep the value in your head. Cryptic is a bit unusual because they sell a 5000 cash coin bundle (plus a pittance bonus amount) for $50, which means you can actually sort of keep track. Something that costs 3000 coins costs about $30.

The whole point is to make it confusing and hard to keep track of how much anything costs though. ( OnO )

Reader
Toy Clown

This really got me in BDO. An outfit could cost 2200 gems (a little over 20$), but they only sold cash currency at 10, 20, 30, etc. dollar increments. Thus the outfit would actually be 30$ rather than 22-ish$. All of their pricing was like that, so you had to spend the next $$ amount to get an item.