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Help, my child is addicted to freemium shovelware

Lord Error

Insane For Sony
Jun 8, 2004
28,318
2
0
Don't let kid play anything they want. He's still too young for that. Do you let him eat whatever he wants (i.e. sugar-filled crap 99% of the time)? You're supposed to guide and educate your kid not let them do whatever they want just because it seems fun.

Those games are most of the time not even 'fun'. They are forming an addiction, and exploiting addictive/pavlovian instincts in people, without giving you any kind of meaningful reward or improving any kind of skill.
 

autoduelist

Member
Aug 30, 2014
13,888
28,180
1,040
The wrongful demonization of free to play games by the core gaming audience continues. Wonder when it will change?

When they stop being specifically designed to play on our psychological needs to get us to open our wallet on a regular basis.

You do realize money and time is spent researching this, right? How often do we need to reward players? How long should we hold back the 'reward'. How much should each upgrade cost? How long should each timer be. How much should we price 10 diamonds at vs 100 vs. 1000? It's carrot on the stick, 21st century style, but addicted players are the ones being led. The only goal of this research is to get as many people as possible to open their wallets on a regular basis due to basic psychological addictive behavior.

This isn't the same as making a game 'fun'. This is tantamount to making a game 'unfun' by design -- or to better put it, 'fun up until a point', at which point addiction kicks in to get us to open our wallet and 'make it fun again'.

That you, or Poster X, or whoever, never opens their wallet is immaterial. That's great for you - you're able to resist. Those with more addictive personalities are not, and the worst of these games are practically addiction trainers.

So... to answer your question, never. There are plenty of F2P games that do not fall under this umbrella, but to act as if it's not a massive issue is absurd.
 
May 29, 2013
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Is there any risk these games help to nurture or bring out addictive personalities in kids? If not and with proper supervision/game time management i dont see this being much of a problem, but I totally agree with your views on these types of games.
 

mrklaw

MrArseFace
Jun 10, 2004
59,891
2
0
Windsor, UK
You underestimate the patience of a child my good sir.
Plus, the waiting period is probably why he has so many different games.

sure. But the point is that not falling for the premium play means the games are not seen in such an 'instant fix' way. Turning them into slow burns defuses them. So what if they're playing several at once - it ends up being more like them visiting their Animal Crossing town every day to pick some weeds and do some fishing.
 

Stereogatari

Banned
Oct 1, 2014
10,232
0
0
1. Get rid of iPod.

2. Replace with 3DS.

3. Hope for the best.

4.?????

5. Profit.

Just keep the options to the traditional games as open and transparent as possible. He'll find his way eventually...hopefully!
 

ghibli99

Member
Jul 23, 2005
13,584
2
1,365
Be glad that he's into games and not getting into trouble. That's all I could hope for as a parent... I remember mine telling me they didn't mind buying me games and comics since they basically kept me out of trouble. :)
 

bengraven

Member
Nov 28, 2005
40,935
15
1,445
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Agreed that you should let him play what he wants. Some of that shit will lead him to the quality stuff. If he likes kingdom building sims, it could lead him to Civ or Age of Empires, etc.

That said, his actually being addicted to constantly checking maintenance on those bullshit timer based games could be a problem you might want to look at - belying a bigger issue than what games he plays, but more of an addictive personality or ADHD.
 

kirblar

Member
Oct 9, 2010
63,315
1
860
Have you seen the South Park episode on Freemium gaming? You're right to be concerned about them. I would try introducing him to more traditional games that have much less malicious structures - especially RPGs.
 

Ninja Scooter

Member
Jun 7, 2004
123,697
7
0
Imagine if your dad tried to push you insessently to listen to REO speedwagon or fleetwood Mac instead of whatever music you and your friends liked when you were a kid? How well would that have gone over? Don't be that dad.
 

Deactivision

Member
Dec 20, 2012
423
0
0
Lol, did OP just completely abandon the thread after the replies?

Haha, it's a lot to read through when I'm supposed to be working!

Really loving the responses, it's a lot to take in and I'm not surprised there are mixed opinions. A couple of points addressing recurring themes while I have a second:

- He definitely doesn't have access to a credit card for IAP, and in fact we've talked plenty about pay to win models and that sort of thing. He finds it pretty distasteful. He really wants to be a game designer and puts a lot of thought into how the games he plays are structured and marketed. He's content with waiting instead of paying to accelerate the process, and seems to think a game like Clash of Clans is fine since it has the option of progressing without paying, even if it involves a long, drawn out waiting process.

- I really think he does enjoy having multiple games of this type because it gives him something to do when waiting. He'd love to find an equivalent type of game that doesn't involve a waiting/paying mechanic... Does anything like that exist? I'm not too familiar with classic RTS and turn based strategy games, would Civilization or C&C scratch the same build/attack/defend itch?

I'll be back to comment more when I get a chance, perhaps a busy Friday at work wasn't the best time to make this post :p
 

Coffee Dog

Banned
Aug 23, 2012
14,435
1
0
"Hey dad, I love playing baseball with my friends!"
"Too bad, football is what I grew up with."
"Dad, please I am having fun..."
(Dad takes the baseball and gives him a football.)

bad comparison, this assumes that both are equally valid sports.

this is more like buying your kid a basketball after watching him limply hit a tetherball once every ten minutes, lol
 

DeaviL

Banned
Sep 11, 2013
3,184
0
0
Belgium
- I really think he does enjoy having multiple games of this type because it gives him something to do when waiting. He'd love to find an equivalent type of game that doesn't involve a waiting/paying mechanic... Does anything like that exist? I'm not too familiar with classic RTS and turn based strategy games, would Civilization or C&C scratch the same build/attack/defend itch?

Wouldn't a Simcity type game be what you're looking for?
 

Deactivision

Member
Dec 20, 2012
423
0
0
I don't want to sound drastic but I think it's best you leave him in the woods.

Lol, pretty sure this one has fallen by the wayside of late, to be honest.

He admits he really only wants to be playing the Supercell games... Are these genuinely of better quality than the rest? I think he's feeling pressure from kids at school to try new games and be a part of their clans or whatever, which is making the situation that much worse.
 

stuminus3

Member
Nov 29, 2006
13,598
8
1,345
Ontario
Is there any risk these games help to nurture or bring out addictive personalities in kids?
I don't doubt it. But the same risks existed when I was stealing money from my Mum's purse to play Donkey Kong. Kids don't see this stuff in the same way we do, so the triggers are the same either way.
 

Htown

STOP SHITTING ON MY MOTHER'S HEADSTONE
Feb 19, 2008
44,007
7
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I simply can't imagine those sort of games are as good for your brain as good old pacman, street fighter, or Counter Strike, where it's all about skill.

Did you really name old arcade games that were balanced around getting people to put in quarters over and over again?
 

DeaviL

Banned
Sep 11, 2013
3,184
0
0
Belgium
Did you really name old arcade games that were balanced around getting people to put in quarters over and over again?

Difference being that those games just made you die a lot for your quarters.
These games often have a Psychologist or two behind them, even valve hires em for their monetisation.
 

Ninja Scooter

Member
Jun 7, 2004
123,697
7
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bad comparison, this assumes that both are equally valid sports.

this is more like buying your kid a basketball after watching him limply hit a tetherball once every ten minutes, lol

So some games aren't "valid" games?


What's all that rapping?!? It's not even real music!!! Here listen to these Phish albums or you're grounded!

This is how becoming an old man yelling at clouds starts.
 

Coffee Dog

Banned
Aug 23, 2012
14,435
1
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Difference being that those games just made you die a lot for your quarters.
These games often have a Psychologist or two behind it, even valve hires em for their monetisation.

Dying is just as much an incentive as griding is.

Arcade games are guilty of the same shit: simpler the better, gotta get dem quarters, kick em off of they're on too long

you should have used games whose design is compromised by its monetisation format if you want a better comparison.
 

Ninja Scooter

Member
Jun 7, 2004
123,697
7
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Difference being that those games just made you die a lot for your quarters.
These games often have a Psychologist or two behind it, even valve hires em for their monetisation.


You act as though there hasn't been issues with gaming and its "addictive" qualities prior to iOS. It was always a "go-to" fear mongering public interest story since back when the NES hit it big.
 

Fisty

Member
Jun 26, 2014
7,431
5
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Did you really name old arcade games that were balanced around getting people to put in quarters over and over again?

If PacMan had a free mode back in the arcade days where you didnt have to pay but you only got one life an hour, 90% of us probably wouldnt have been born
 

Menchi

Member
Jan 14, 2013
409
0
0
UK
Many of these F2P games are, as has already been stated, designed to hook in people with a compulsion to essentially grind, or spend real money to progress.

I've seen adults get stuck into that, and spend a significant amount of money simply to progress. I'm not so sure it is healthy to have that mentality imprinted on someone so young.

I would venture a guess, that while it is "fun" it isn't going to be anywhere near as mentally stimulating/challenging as some more traditional games would be. As you pointed out, Minecraft at least encourages their creativity if nothing else.

The types of games your son may be playing right now? I can't see any real benefit at all.
 

t26

Member
Dec 28, 2011
5,499
0
680
Even if OP got his son a vita or 3ds, they are only going to gather dust as he will prefer his f2p games
 

DeaviL

Banned
Sep 11, 2013
3,184
0
0
Belgium
You act as though there hasn't been issues with gaming and its "addictive" qualities prior to iOS. It was always a "go-to" fear mongering public interest story since back when the NES hit it big.

Fearmongering parents vs game actually designed to be addictive.
Anything fun is addictive, that's what those parents first noticed, these games designed to be addictive are another thing entirely.
 

Icyflamez96

Member
Aug 19, 2012
21,757
3
0
vitaislife.wordpress.com
To be honest, he's only 9. When I was that age, I was super into flash games, or any kind of smaller games like that. I played console games too, but boy was I obsessed with flash games. Just let him play. He'll likely start to move past them on his own. If he doesn't, well then that's not a real problem either. As long as he's having fun.
 
Did you really name old arcade games that were balanced around getting people to put in quarters over and over again?

You only needed one quarter if you were good.

I have some options for you OP.

A) Install some apps on his iPad that you think would be beneficial for him. He may complain that they're taking up space or he doesn't want to try them, but curiosity will best him. These can be non F2P games, or even interactive educational apps. For example, Mindsnacks. It's a language learning app where all the reviews and assessments are basically games. You level up and have a high score and all that. Your son could be speaking Chinese TOMORROW.

B) Get him a 3DS. Mario, Animal Crossing, Zelda, Pokemon... yeah it's more expensive than a one dollar iOS game, but filet mignon is more expensive than a McDouble. There's a lot of cheap eShop games, including classic NES and Game Boy titles.

C) Give him an NES and Ninja Gaiden. He will have some hair on his chest after that.
 

stuminus3

Member
Nov 29, 2006
13,598
8
1,345
Ontario
I think he's feeling pressure from kids at school to try new games and be a part of their clans or whatever, which is making the situation that much worse.
Depends on what you mean by "pressure".

We used to struggle with this sort of thing (with my oldest, now 15) because I am a huge advocate for being independent from the crowd whereas my wife is more concerned that the kids fit in. I've since discovered that it's something you've got to let them figure out for themselves, and just be there for them when they need you. It's an important part of their development.

You act as though there hasn't been issues with gaming and its "addictive" qualities prior to iOS. It was always a "go-to" fear mongering public interest story since back when the NES hit it big.
^ this guy gets it. It's always been this way. The carefully designed treadmills you guys are talking about mean nothing to kids, the triggers have always been the same. That's why it's so obvious to me when I find something blatantly abusive (which, believe it or not, Clash of Clans isn't).
 

spekkeh

Banned
Apr 18, 2011
14,647
0
0
www.neogaf.com
They're crack. They're designed to make you addicted, spacing out the dopamine release further and further in order to introduce racketeering schemes.

There's no hope with dope. Don't let your kids do F2P. I'm serious. Forbid it. It's not healthy because it creates an addicted mindset.
 

Fisty

Member
Jun 26, 2014
7,431
5
340
Fearmongering parents vs game actually designed to be addictive.
Anything fun is addictive, that's what those parents first noticed, these games designed to be addictive are another thing entirely.

Exactly, NES games were addictive because they were good or people liked the stories. Freemium crap is addictive because they are designed specifically to be addictive because the game has a way to spend real money to progress easier. Its apples and oranges.
 

Ingueferroque

Banned
Jun 23, 2012
12,317
1
0
You are his dad. Take this shit away from him. It is dangerous and can be extremely addicting even to adults. His mind is too young to be exposed to this horse shit. It could quite literally affect his personality for the rest of his life.

Buy him a N3DS and take away his iPod.
 

Ninja Scooter

Member
Jun 7, 2004
123,697
7
0
Fearmongering parents vs game actually designed to be addictive.
Anything fun is addictive, that's what those parents first noticed, these games designed to be addictive are another thing entirely.


The "designed to be addictive" thing is your basic grinding mechanic that has been around since RPGs in the 80s translated over to a f2p format. It's what has been making people dump hours and hours into games like WoW, Diablo and more recently Destiny for years now. You make it seem like there is some hidden message in these games hypnotizing kids or some shit.
 

Coffee Dog

Banned
Aug 23, 2012
14,435
1
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The most likely answer, really, is that he is one of the vast majority of people that don't really give a shit about games past instant gratification.
 

spekkeh

Banned
Apr 18, 2011
14,647
0
0
www.neogaf.com
You act as though there hasn't been issues with gaming and its "addictive" qualities prior to iOS. It was always a "go-to" fear mongering public interest story since back when the NES hit it big.
It's okay to be (slightly) addicted to complex problem solving. It's not okay to be addicted to dopamine releases from Skinner boxing.
 

Ingueferroque

Banned
Jun 23, 2012
12,317
1
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Only mobile video games are addictive.

Video games are addictive, but mostly because they are 'fun', thrilling, rewarding, clever, amazing, ...

The games mentioned in the OP could be deemed fun, but they are literally designed to be addictive and reduces the player to a glorified skinner machine with meth issues.

You act as though there hasn't been issues with gaming and its "addictive" qualities prior to iOS. It was always a "go-to" fear mongering public interest story since back when the NES hit it big.

These reactions make me think that some of you just haven't played these games.

Man, I was addicted to Smurf Village for a while. It was a dark time.
 

justjustin

Member
Sep 17, 2011
1,024
0
0
Okay, someone can have good or bad taste in videogames, but I think it's a little ridiculous to argue some games are better for you to play than others. Mobile games are simple and easy to play. He'll eventually get tired of them and move onto something more complex, it's not some addictive drug that ruins your life.
 

Ninja Scooter

Member
Jun 7, 2004
123,697
7
0
You are his dad. Take this shit away from him. It is dangerous and can be extremely addicting even to adults. His mind is too young to be exposed to this horse shit. It could quite literally affect his personality for the rest of his life.

Buy him a N3DS and take away his iPod.

This is stupid. If his dad is worried about him developing an "addiction" to his favorite games buying him more games just because it will give him some vicarious satisfaction that his son is playing "real games" is so dumb and misguided. If you are worried he's playing too many video games then regulate the amount of time he can play and push him towards spending time doing other alternative activities, like playing sports, going outdoors or reading.
 

Impeccable

Member
Feb 18, 2010
11,615
0
0
Video games are addictive, but mostly because they are 'fun'.
The games mentioned in the OP could be deemed fun, but they are literally designed to be addictive and reduces the player to a glorified skinner machine with meth issues.

We can reduce the vast majority of games down to that definition if we want to.

Fun is down to an individual scoring a big raid in CoC feels just as good as winning a race in Mario Kart or beating the Elite 4.
 

Pastry

Banned
May 31, 2006
8,242
0
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Only mobile video games are addictive.

Duh it's not like feedback loops are built into every video game. It's only freemium games that are built that way.

My advice? Let him do what he wants. Don't be that dad that imposes his tastes on his children. Plus freemium games are videogames too, there isn't a difference.
 

Ingueferroque

Banned
Jun 23, 2012
12,317
1
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Okay, someone can have good or bad taste in videogames, but I think it's a little ridiculous to argue some games are better for you to play than others. He's not addicted to anything, they're just simple and easy to play. He'll eventually get tired of them and move onto something more complex, it's not some addictive drug that ruins your life.

Holy shit. This is just false information. Go play some of those games.

They are DESIGNED to be addictive. They are not 'simple and easy to play'. He isn't talking about Rocket Cars is he?

We can reduce the vast majority of games down to that definition if we want to.

Fun is down to an individual scoring a big raid in CoC feels just as good as winning a race in Mario Kart or beating the Elite 4.

Does not apply in this case. The question is, should a 9 year old be exposed to the mental terraforming done by these apps.

Seriously guys, go and play Clash of Clans, Boom Beach, ... before commenting.