We all know how “Freemium” games work: The game itself is free but real currency is required for certain characters, upgrades or whatever else. These games are hugely popular all over the world, but especially in Japan, where people spend more per capita on mobile phone games than North American consumers.
“Freemium” games can easily become addictive and expensive, as one couple in Japan found out. Rocket News is reporting that a woman has turned to the internet for advice on how to handle it.
Her mother passed away 3 years ago and and left her a lump sum life insurance payout of eight million yen (roughly $71,900 USD at the time I write this). She deposited the money in a joint account she had with her husband that already contained their savings of four million yen, for a total of 12 million yen (around $108,000 USD).
However, when she recently checked the balance in the account and was shocked to find it empty! After the discovery, her husband nonchalantly admitted to spending about four thousand yen ($360 USD) per month on mobile phone gaming over the past couple years.
Now she is considering divorce because to top it off, the dude refuses to apologize!
Obviously, I am making light of this situation, but this is a serious concern for anyone with addiction concerns or little sidekicks in their house that play these types of games. Part of why these games are so popular in Japan is because of their love of “gacha”, which is a game of chance. In gacha systems, not every purchase will yield a higher level character or whatever. This makes the games even more addictive to gamblers.
In this situation, the player was an adult who knowingly accepted the terms of these games, but many Freemium games are marketed and geared towards children who may not understand the difference between real currency and make believe.
Please keep an eye on your children and understand what games they are playing on their mobile phones and tablets. Also make sure to go over the “terms & conditions” of the games for any surprises.
Feature image credit: Reuters.com.