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Playfish: Responsible devs should monitor player spend

"It's not good for anybody to spend £1000 in game then be caught by their mum" - Segerstrale

Playfish boss Kristian Segerstrale feels it is unlikely that social games will take excessive advantage of consumers prone to over-spending.

While admitting at the Evolve in London conference today that there was a risk that a small minority of gamers could spend troubling sums on virtual goods transactions, he said that "it's so obviously in the self interest of the industry that I'm not too concerned about it."

In reference to this week's controversial BBC documentary about gaming 'addiction', he stated that "it's not good for anybody to spend £1000 in their game then be caught by their mum and end up on the front page of the Sun.

"[We need to monitor that] to ensure that you don't end up in situations that are ultimately no good for the welfare of the player.

Referencing an earlier argument on various social game credit card and privacy scandals he said that "if we try and over-optimise by betraying consumer trust we're going to be less successful as an industry," and claimed that social games should resist temptations to exploit players as much as possible.

"I think it comes back down to responsibility. Responsible developers across the board need to be monitoring their players' spend levels."

Again in reference to the contentious Panorama investigation, he also argued that social games themselves should continue to evolve. "I actually think that part of making games social is also about making games a better pastime, a more social pastime as opposed to becoming more addicted and solitary."

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Alec Meer: A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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