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Games with IAPs should be regulated like gambling  

This article by Thomas Baekdal resonated with me. Most of my gaming now happens on iOS, and I generally avoid games with In-App-Purchases, because they are generally designed for idiots, and have very shallow gameplay with constant monetary hurdles that's more akin to a slot machine than a modern game. I watch with a concerned eye as many games switch to the IAP model.

Back when I was a kid and had no money, I spent most of my savings on computer games. Prices of 89 CHF (that's a whopping £70 inflation adjusted) were common. I spent lots of money on games.

More recently, I have happily shelled out £10-20 for an iOS game (I'd recommend X-Com for iOS as an excellent example of the genre. I still spend money on games - less, because I have less time to play them.

Yet I will not pay even one penny to buy "gems" in some stupid "free" game. I suggest you also don't, and advise everyone you do to do the same... but even that's not enough:

What EA has done here has nothing to do with gaming, and the same is true for pretty much all other 'free-to-play + in-app purchase' games. We don't have a mobile gaming industry anymore. We have a mobile scamming industry.

The mobile slot-machine industry won't be defeated just by intelligent people doing intelligent things, much like the gambling industry is not defeated by intelligent people staying away from slot machines. Apple has no interest in clamping down on IAPs.

I'd push for a stronger move than what is suggested in the article:

Games with IAPs should be regulated in a similar way to gambling. They are games that are addictive, can suck up ridiculous amounts of money from people, and generally add nothing in proportion to the time and money they suck up. Like gambling, they are a symptom of a bug in the human psyche that is greedily exploited by some unsavoury companies.

And like gambling, they should be heavily regulated.

The gaming industry will not self-regulate this mess unless threatened with heavy regulation from the governments of the world. So the threat needs to exist, and possibly be carried out.

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