Freemiums, A Casual Reminder of Addiction


Free-to-Play games are a large portion of mobile apps.

Ray Gill

Loot boxes have seen major controversy since their initial release. It’s what made developers additional money and what raised awareness to the ease of falling into gambling-like mechanics. Recently, several companies have sought to make sure that their loot boxes — the majority of where the sketchy mechanics come from — are either eventually removed or presented in a transparent manner so you know what you’re getting. Though, even knowing what you have a possibly of receiving does not negate those susceptible to addiction to gambling-like affects. It’s in mobile games where things may be overlooked.

Mobile games are notorious for including these mechanics in a fun and thrilling atmosphere which you wouldn’t be none the wiser. These games are highly addicting. You’re easily drawn in with cute or silly aesthetics and a free-to-play incentive. Nothing beats spending your downtime doing mindless tasks with rewarding antics in such games as “Candy Crush” or “Clash of Clans.” Games like these exist for more than dauntless entertainment. Time and money must be put in order to maintain any of these freebies. And such, they turn over a pretty penny.

Free-to-play eventually turns into pay-to-play. Profits made can be astounding, dubbing these “games” as “freemium’s.” Freemium is a mash up of the words “free” and “premium.” Users begin playing for free, with opportunities to unlock or move onto better levels or options if paid for.

Game developers have learned the art of exploitation, feeding on the neurotransmitter, Dopamine, that rewards habitual behaviors. Players don’t see the amount they spend on in-app purchases since it’s anywhere between 99-cents to $10 at a time. Usually, what you buy are in-game tokens masking as a different amount when used. Loot boxes or “gifts” purchased are included in the in-app purchases which make up 43% or $22-billion of the mobile gaming industry.

There are many accounts of people faced with tragedies when addiction takes hold which is too much to cover here. Overall, freemiums can be a fun expended when played with caution and a budget. If you or a loved one chose to play and are able to do so safely, then there is no worry. However, those with addictive tendencies or feel themselves or another becoming susceptible should do their best to not fall victim in any game or thing in life. This is not to scare, but to give a reminder to those to remain aware. Enjoy gaming, safely.