Purchasing and Managing Spending in Gaming 

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Games cost money and depending on what you choose to buy; it can cost a lot! Unlike some other forms of entertainment, gaming can continually push purchasing towards the player, even well after they’ve brought the game. In more recent years, the activity of buying a game in a shop is not as common as it used to be which has increased digital sales and the use of in game purchases.

'Looking back at gamer spending in 2020, worldwide digital gaming spending on in-game content and paid downloads has increased by 12 percent and 21 percent respectively, highlighting the growth of digital revenues. Physical sales of video games have been declining over the past few years and high street closures and the avoidance of physical retail spaces have further boosted digital and e-commerce gaming sales.'

The digital download offers players a quick, easy and accessible way to purchase and download games from online stores through the use of simple payment procedures. Buying content is now made possible with the push of a button. With this though, comes more opportunities to promote additional purchases which, if not managed properly could result in larger transactions.

With many children and young people being able to navigate online stores with ease, it quickly became a concern about whether they are more in control of purchasing than the parents and carers. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how to appropriately manage spending in gaming.

What Can Children Purchase?

If a parent or carer has stopped taking their child to the shop to see if a game is suitable for them and have set up online payment details on a device, then it’s important for them to be aware of how purchasing could occur. If there is not appropriate parental controls and security measures in place, a child might be able to buy games online that could potentially be unsuitable for them.

Despite the main content of the game being usually available on an initial purchase, there are a few different ways additional purchasing can also present itself. A lot of the time, games can actually be made free to download but this usually means heavier promotion of other costs. These can include:  

  • Micro-transactions (Small purchases that give items or upgrades)
  • Loot boxes (Randomised items that vary in popularity and quality)
  • DLC or Add ons (Downloadable content - usually released at a later date)
  • Bundle packs (Additional games of similar theme)
  • Subscriptions (Access to additional content for a set period of time)
  • Online play (Additional funds needed to socialise online)
  • Skipping content (Purchasing abilities to skip unwanted portions – common in mobile gaming)
  • Entering gaming tournaments (Where rewards could be cash prizes)
  • In-game currency (Digital money, specifically used for purchasing in a particular game)

How Can Purchasing Be Managed Better?

If someone is concerned about gaming purchasing on a child’s device, it’s important to first of all make them aware of the risks and implications of online spending and highlight how easily it can get out of hand. Have conversations around why purchasing needs to be discussed beforehand with family members and why decisions need to be made collectively around purchasing. Encourage them to talk through allowances and set out appropriate expectations towards what is acceptable and not allowed.

On many devices, parents and carers can also set up accounts to put in place spending approvals or limitations. This can be done through managing their online account or setting up additional child accounts that have a lot more restrictions. To find out how to manage spending across some of the most well know devices, check out the links below.

A good way to understand how purchasing can operate across gaming is for the parents and carers to experience it for themselves. Get them involved in the games and see where purchasing opportunities could arise so they are better prepared to talk it through with the family. Better awareness leads to a better understanding! Go back to our gaming page to find out more!

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