The rise of the mobile gaming industry, how it is changing, and areas of concern in targeting children.
Today’s generation is constantly on the go. Children’s lives are filled with school, sports, and other activities such as playing video games. Gaming is growing with technology and the Pediatric Clinics of North America report that 90% of American children and teens play video games and spend an average of 2 hours on any given day playing. With this increasing amount of time spent playing games, mobile has taken over. Overtaking consoles comes as no surprise as mobile devices now have the graphics and processing power to host games but with the benefit of portability.
As seen from the statistics above, the gaming industry has immensely changed. From social implementation to mobile games with in-app purchases, devices have morphed from GameBoys to iPhones and have grown in terms of who is playing, where and when. Nintendo is out and Apple is in as developers frantically rush to release the next “it game”. Games are no longer like Tetris, but instead focus on finding new people like you to game with, learning new skills, and upgrading to new levels of the game. MMO games, or massively multiplayer online games are multiplayer games with the capability to support large numbers of players simultaneously. MMOs allow users to play with other people around the world.
The intensity that is placed into game users has changed so drastically that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has cautioned mobile game developers about featuring aggressive in-app purchases in their games. After a thorough investigation, the OFT has concluded that children are being pressured or encouraged to pay for new content within the app. These aggressive practices are often targeted to children and make them feel as if they will let other players down if they do not make an in-app purchase to obtain an object or more lives. While the article does not mention how children are even gaining access to the payment accounts or their ages, I find myself questioning how children are even gaining access to payment accounts. Regardless of the how, technology is drastically altering gaming platforms and
even the procedures to how the games communicate with children. From gamification to socialization, gaming is rapidly changing with the potential to grow in education next.
Sources:Entertainment Software Association, 2013. Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry: 2013 Sales, Demographic and Usage Data. http://www.theesa.com/facts/pdfs/ESA_EF_2013.pdf Mobile gaming’s rise is a headache for Sony and Nintendo. http://bit.ly/18VJA2p The Office of Fair Trading warns game industry over targeting children with in-app purchases. http://bit.ly/184Ox5P Violent video games make teenagers more aggressive, study finds. http://bit.ly/Q8HPC7