It’s something I am talking about in tonight’s BBC Watchdog tonight from 8pm BBC1. Interviewed by the lovely @StaceySolomon. As she looks into the huge bills racked up by kids playing #games they thought were free.
So the scary question is …Freemium to premium should it be stopped?
Perhaps for some games. Games that go out of their way to trick people into buying things. But often games get highlighted not due to their design but due to their success. So on the programme we might be talking a lot about FORTNITE.
One reason is that it is HUGE.
It’s a monster success story. Which is redefining the gaming industry. It’s said to be worth some the success of popular battle royale effort Fortnite means developer Epic Games could soon be worth as much as $8 billion. It’s just cleared a HUGE funding round due to the success.Fornite is a MONSTER
Fortnite is regularly played by more than 125 million people around the world and is the most viewed game on streaming site Twitch. One estimate suggested that Epic was making more than $100m (£76m) a month from the game. Fortnite has grossed $300 million on the App Store since its launch back in March on iOS, according to a new report. Though that puts it ahead of most titles on the mobile platform for revenue in the first 200 days. It still couldn’t beat Pokemon Go, which achieved the $300-million figure in just 113 days.
Mobile app analytics firm Sensor Tower reports that 65 percent of Fortnite’s $300-million haul came from those in the US. With Epic Games’ battle royale title bringing in $20 million in the last week, on the back of the launch of Fortnite Season 6.What else is scary is…..NINJA.
Or how much money he makes from playing Fortnite. As depending how old you are you will have heard of NINJA. The 27-year-old streamer, real name Tyler Blevins, is most famous for playing Fortnite and has more than 11 million followers on Twitch. Ninja makes nearly all of his money, which ESPN reports is close to a million dollars (£750,000) a month, from Twitch
When Fortnite introduced its battle royale mode, Ninja started getting really big. Back in March, Forbes reported that he had 3 million followers and 4 million YouTube subscribers. He now has 11 million Twitch followers and 18 million YouTube subscribers. Mainly after joining forces with famous people. And becoming famous himself. As Ninja is also the first professional gamer to feature on the cover of ESPN Magazine. But now Nike are sponsoring E-gamers we shouldn’t be surprised should we?So what’s the problem? What’s really scary?
Well for me it’s the in app or in game purchases that are scary. And how easy some companies let people do it. Don’t get me wrong. The money powers the industry. And un app games purchases work. And companies are there to make money. If you play on your mobile phone you are more likely to buy such in app purchases. In 2016 it was estimated more than half of us to it. Around 64% of us do. I do – and I do for my daughter Mia.
And mobile is BIG for gaming. More than half of the gaming industry is now mobile gaming. Which was insane from a decade ago. It will be a 100 billion dollar market by 2021. And remember fortnite is cross platform! Mobile is only one way to play.But there are many ways to PAY! Mainly with YOUR money.
An Ipsos survey in May showed 40% of parents whose children played video games allowed their children to spend money within them. Usually within agreed spending limits and supervision. However, this does not stop children occasionally running up huge bills by unknowingly making purchases. Last year an 11-year-old British boy hit the headlines after spending £6,000. With Fortnite children can sometimes buy V-Bucks without their parents' knowledge. Because their parents' credit or debit cards are linked to the gaming account which they use to play.
You can even make on-line purchases in games through YOUR mobile phone bill. Which is rather scary too isn’t it?
Now don’t get me wrong I LOVE games. And I love gaming. And I defend it often on TV and radio. Heck, I especially love clever and fun quick games. Like the one Google created for Halloween today as their Google Doogle. Do go play it…
One last horror show…
But one last thing that I think is a horror show are the phantom menace of LOOT boxes. As reported by the BBC. The use of in-game purchases, and in particular the “loot box” mechanism, has been controversial for some time.
With loot boxes, players are often required to use real money to purchase boxes that give randomised rewards. Often necessary to make progress in the game. Authorities in Belgium have ruled that they encourage children to gamble. Psychiatrists and researchers in Australia have also called for regulation.
So LOOT boxes and buying them can be scarily linked into your child starting the brain associations and pathway to online gambling! Don’t get me started with that – as I will have nightmares.
The other thing about the interview tonight – which is scary is I haven’t seen how I did. Stacey did a great job of grilling me. So it will be interesting to see if I don’t look petrified.
Meeting a real famous person and being put on the spot wasn’t something I had thought I would be doing on Halloween. She looks more scared than me though.... So....
I don’t know if it will be a trick or treat.
Let’s see how they edit it. Happy Halloween!
I am on BBC Watchdog tonight for the start of the new season.
From 8pm on BBC1.