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Designing an In-Game Currency Tracking System to Promote Responsible Gaming Behavior


Core Concepts
The gaming industry's use of virtual currencies can lead to problematic spending behaviors and financial exploitation of players. This paper proposes a conceptual design for an in-game purchasing module that provides real-time information to users about their spending on virtual items, enabling them to make more informed decisions and maintain better control over their gaming habits.
Abstract
The paper discusses the growing issue of virtual currencies in the gaming industry and their potential to induce problematic spending behaviors among players. It highlights the lack of regulations and player protection mechanisms to address this problem. The authors conducted interviews with regular game players and identified two key issues: 1) games are often used as a gambling profit tool by companies, and 2) users lose track of how much money they are spending on in-game purchases over time. To address these concerns, the authors propose a conceptual design for an in-game purchasing module that provides real-time information to users about their spending on virtual items. The key features of the proposed system include: Displaying the amount of real money spent on each virtual currency within the game. Categorizing the spending information by date to help users track their in-game purchases over time. Providing details on the conversion rates between real and virtual currencies to increase user awareness of the true value of their virtual assets. The authors use a case study involving the mobile game Clash Royale to demonstrate how the proposed system would work in practice. They explain the calculations involved in tracking the conversion between real money, virtual currencies, and in-game items. The paper concludes that the proposed system has the potential to increase self-awareness among individuals engaged in in-game currency transactions and promote responsible gaming behavior, thereby reducing the risks of gaming addiction. However, the authors acknowledge that further research is needed to fully evaluate the effectiveness of this approach and identify any potential drawbacks or limitations.
Stats
"Every 1 in 10 children has tried skin gambling between 13 to 18 years old." "A 13-year-old boy told the parent zone that he had lost 2000 British pounds of virtual currency on gambling sites." "According to statists, a video game annual expenditure per customer in the year 2021 was 11.94 U.S. dollars."
Quotes
"Skins, which can be thought of as a type of in-game currency, are a prevalent means of betting in online games." "Microtransactions are low-cost expansions of existing games and lead to some hidden costs." "Game developers have employed various techniques to exploit the reward systems in the brain, such as offering randomised rewards, creating social pressure to spend money, and implementing time-limited events."

Key Insights Distilled From

by Dennis Barza... at arxiv.org 04-08-2024

https://arxiv.org/pdf/2404.03951.pdf
A Conceptual Design of In-Game Real and Virtual Currency Tracker

Deeper Inquiries

How can the proposed in-game currency tracking system be integrated with existing gaming platforms and payment systems to ensure comprehensive data collection and user transparency?

The integration of the proposed in-game currency tracking system with existing gaming platforms and payment systems can be achieved through collaboration between game developers, payment service providers, and operating system providers. By establishing APIs that allow for the seamless transfer of data between the game, payment platform, and the tracking system, real-time information on in-game purchases can be collected and displayed to the user. This integration would require game developers to report in-game purchase data to the operating system provider, who would then feed this information into the tracking system. By ensuring that all transactions are accurately recorded and categorized, users can have a transparent view of their spending habits and make informed decisions about their in-game purchases.

What are the potential legal and ethical considerations surrounding the collection and use of player spending data, and how can these be addressed to protect user privacy and autonomy?

The collection and use of player spending data raise significant legal and ethical concerns, particularly regarding user privacy and autonomy. To address these issues, it is essential to implement robust data protection measures, such as anonymizing user data, obtaining explicit consent for data collection, and ensuring secure data storage practices. Additionally, compliance with data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), is crucial to safeguarding user privacy rights. Ethically, it is important to prioritize user autonomy by providing clear information on data collection practices, allowing users to opt-out of tracking if desired, and ensuring that data is used solely for the purpose of promoting responsible gaming behavior. By adhering to strict privacy and ethical standards, the tracking system can maintain user trust and integrity.

How can the design of in-game currency systems be further improved to promote responsible gaming behavior and discourage predatory monetization practices, beyond the proposed tracking solution?

In addition to the proposed tracking solution, the design of in-game currency systems can be enhanced to promote responsible gaming behavior and deter predatory monetization practices. One approach is to implement spending limits or alerts that notify users when they are approaching a certain threshold of in-game purchases. By empowering users to set boundaries on their spending, they can better control their gaming habits and avoid overspending. Furthermore, game developers can introduce educational resources within the game that educate players on the risks of excessive spending and encourage responsible financial management. By fostering a culture of transparency, accountability, and player empowerment, in-game currency systems can prioritize user well-being and mitigate the negative impacts of predatory monetization strategies.
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