David Zendle, PhD (Lecturer, Department of Computer Science, University of York), discusses efforts to combat the predatory practices that pressure youth into spending money in video games at #AskTheExperts webinar “The Lure of Loot: Gambling and Manipulative Design in Youth Video Games” on October 5, 2022.

[Dr. David Zendle]: Complicating matters even further, like, there’s a host of tactics that players are reporting as predatory that are just separate to gambling altogether. Instances where players reported feeling coerced or forced into spending. Things like strategies at which you have to pay to avoid negative consequences. So the game will start hurting your characters or take things away from you. So like, “give us a few quid or they’re gone” or “something bad is going to happen to them.” We estimate that this kind of game dynamic designed to drive spending appears in most top-grossing mobile games now. What can we do? Self-regulation? That’s industry’s favorite. I’m not entirely convinced it’s working. Government interventions around the world? I think Leon might talk about that a bit later, but again, it’s mixed, mixed results there. Labels kind of controlled by shadowy corporations? We don’t really know why they’re attaching labels in the way they are. ESRB, PEGI, their intentions here, its not whether they’re helping parents. So education? I know we’re going to hear more about that. Parental protection? You know, play your games understanding, be co-learners with your children. And indeed, partly, activism. So there’s nothing quite like making a fuss about something that you hate.

View the full webinar

Ask the Experts—Webinar

The Lure of Loot: Gambling and Manipulative Design in Youth Video Games

Video games popular with youth increasingly contain gambling features and other design elements intended to entice children to spend real money in games - how is this impacting kids? What can be done about it?

Video Gaming
Digital Addiction
Ethical Design
Mental Health