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Tecmo Koei implementing limits to microtransactions for the young

Tecmo Koei implementing limits to microtransactions for the young

Fri 06 Dec 2013 10:38am GMT / 5:38am EST / 2:38am PST
Publisher

$50 a month maximum for under 15s, 16-19 year olds can spend $200

In a move which may been seen to combat the increasing criticisms of microtransactions aimed at the young, Tecmo Koei is to introduce spending limits in its games for those under 20 in Japan.

As reported by Silicon Era, the publisher of Dead or Alive will only allow $50 a month to be spent by under 15s, with the 16-19 year old age bracket being limited to a maximum of $200 a month. No restrictions will apply to players of 20 and up.

The system is due to be added to Tecmo Koei's games in Japan before the year's end. There's no news yet as to whether this will become a global policy.

18 Comments

Hugo Trepanier Senior UI Designer, Hibernum

156 144 0.9
This is mostly a good initiative but spending limits should be determined by the parents. $50 a month may still be too much for some.

Also when I was 16 I earned my own money to buy games and I would have been pissed to be imposed such limits on account that I was not old enough to decide for myself how to spend my work money. Of course there were no microtransactions then but I still had to make decisions on which titles to get.

Posted:10 months ago

#1

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
Most parents dont know how to tinker with a a PS3 or Xbox home menu settings. And I can see this becoming a problem, my girfriends son let him use her credit card to buy something, but what she didnt know was that the information stayed in the account and he kept buying stuff. Of course this all appeared in the statement and it was put to a stop. But I can see this being a problem. The best solution would be for the parent to be able to access a wallet outside of the PSN or Live network, which the parent can fund independetly of the console settings and the owner of the console, which in many cases is a kid, can simply buy using the money the parent put in the wallet.

Alot of parents dont know how this stuff works, and what is a one time thing for them usually results these types of mistakes happening.

At the end of the day, Gift cards are the current best solution. Cause putting down a credit card leads to all sorts a problems.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 6th December 2013 5:47pm

Posted:10 months ago

#2

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

954 183 0.2
I agree with Hugo to be honest, I mean that's a strange generalisation that kids under a certain age would have that much spending money. When I was a kid my parents didn't let me go out and get a job because maybe they're just being typical Asian parents, but they just think I should be focusing on my studies. :P

Of course maybe kids these days have more spending power generally, I don't know, but to have a fixed number there just doesn't seem logical. Whilst I think their heart is in the right place, I think there should be more control for the parents somehow that's easy for parents to access. As Rick said a lot of parents don't know how to tinker with all those 'fancy settings'.

Another concern of mine as well is with differing levels of spending like that, is that going to affect game balance?

Posted:10 months ago

#3

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

896 1,337 1.5
Jesus, what are we doing wrong. They have to STOP people spending 200 bucks a month regularly? Nice problem to have! :(

Posted:10 months ago

#4

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,137 1,174 1.0
Not too long ago there were discussions about games costing $60 instead of $50. Lifetime cost that is! All those fluff PR pieces about the good f2p self restricting itself are a bit sanctimonious. Especially when you look at the studies examining who pays how much in those f2p games.

@Kingman
Game balance will be like this. Step 1: groom target customer to seek out a feeling of closure to the situation you are presenting him with. Step 2: withhold feeling of closure forever while trying to give him the illusion that the regular spending of money results in meaningful progression towards that feeling of closure.

Posted:10 months ago

#5

Anthony Gowland Lead Designer, Outplay Entertainment

202 688 3.4
Jesus, what are we doing wrong
If only you had some analytics in your titles you might know ;)

Posted:10 months ago

#6

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
Here's a funny: I was reading this in the library and a woman behind me formerly looking at DVD's starts laughing before she waves her kid on over and says "How much money do i give you to spend on games a month?" He strolls over and shrugs before saying "I don't know - you don't let me buy games by myself" She cracks up at that and says "That's right. EVERYTHING he wants to buy goes through ME." before going on a short (and hilarious) mini-rant about "stupid parents who just give kids money and get all surprised when it's all gone". I didn't want to poke and ask what kind of games she and her kid were into, but she ended up volunteering some interesting info that made me wish someone was there to hit her up for some more questions.

Protip: some ladies who were either in the military or ex-police happen to like some shooters, cerebral adventure/action games and driving games. Go, out of target demographic audience!

Posted:10 months ago

#7

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

822 654 0.8
@Paul:
When you see the reports of a kid burning 300-400e of their parent's money because the game does not prevent him from doing so? I believe the moral part of it is easy to spot and that is where we are doing things wrong.

On the other side I still find part of the blame to fall on the parents. When I was younger each time I was using my parent's card they we always present. Just who gives the number to a kid without checking on him at least a bit?

Posted:10 months ago

#8

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

896 1,337 1.5
Oh I agree that some protections are needed against bad parenting. I just want to know how you get a game so popular for this to happen in the first place. Just being jealous, move along. :)

Posted:10 months ago

#9

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Nobody wants kids running amok and running up huge gaming bills.
The main responsibility must lie with parents, giving their children access to this spending power. They wouldn't give their kids Amex Platinum cards then let them loose in the West End.
Game companies must also do everything to protect the parents from the folly of their offsprings. It is good marketing to look after your customers and preventing such excesses certainly falls into that.
However children must be allowed to play games and to pay for doing so. As they do with all their other activities. It is just a matter of erecting frameworks that are fair and equitable and which all the parties involved are happy with.

There is nothing wrong with having a $1,000 purchase option in a game. What is wrong is to give access to this to children spending their parent's money.

Posted:10 months ago

#10

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

822 654 0.8
@Paul

Oh, don't be mate; it would be money took from a kid and heavy in your consciousness ;)

@Bruce

There you go! totally agree with that. Although the limit for a game company into "doing parenting" there is hard to determine if you ask me...

Posted:10 months ago

#11

Craig Burkey Software Engineer

206 392 1.9
I think there should be a default maximum spend of 50pm in all games if you want to go over there should be hoops required to make sure the vulnerable not just the young are protected and get the chance to consciously decide to make a purchase of that magnitude. It happens on gambling sites so why not in games

Posted:10 months ago

#12

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
However children must be allowed to play games and to pay for doing so. As they do with all their other activities. It is just a matter of erecting frameworks that are fair and equitable and which all the parties involved are happy with.
Heh. I know a LOT of people who owe some ancient street game company back royalties for games of Tag and many other freemium outdoor games back in the day... ;^)

Posted:10 months ago

#13

Mariusz Szlanta Producer, SEGA Europe

31 27 0.9
Candidates for most stupid executive decisions arrive late this year.

First Riot wanting to chase away his most dedicated players away, now Tecmo wanting to exclude whales from F2P business based on whales...

How about sending automatic messages to credit card holder when spending crosses some limit or maybe asking for approval above some limit? Surely worth spending some bucks for automatised system for customers willing to pay that much? Premium service for premium clients?

Posted:10 months ago

#14

Lindsay Cox Unity Developer, Mediatonic

28 48 1.7
Not all parents are technology savvy and don't know how to turn off IPAs, etc in games (Apple and Google don't exactly make it obvious) so I think this is a good first step to stop young kids from racking up huge bills. It isn't necessarily "bad parenting", some people just don't know how this stuff works and the company is taking measures to prevent that

Posted:10 months ago

#15

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

896 1,337 1.5
It's bad parenting the moment a parent gives a child anything they don't fully understand. Period.

Posted:10 months ago

#16

Ivan Patag QA Lead, Tose Software

1 1 1.0
@Paul

Its Tecmo Koei. They sell clothes.. or the lack of clothes on character models. Apparently, they sell like hotcakes.

Posted:10 months ago

#17

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
Kingman:

Having a fixed spending limit for those age bands rather than a variable one doesn't make sense to you because you didn't sit down for a moment to think about how much more difficult it would be to implement your scheme.

Posted:10 months ago

#18

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