The Addictive Cost Of Predatory Videogame Monetization (The Jimquisition)

The Addictive Cost Of Predatory Videogame Monetization (The Jimquisition)


– We do think the way
that we have implemented these kind of mechanics, and
FIFA of course is our big one, our FIFA Ultimate Team and our packs, is actually quite ethical and quite fun. – [Announcer] Unethical! ♪ Born different ♪ ♪ Born innocent ♪ ♪ Born perfect ♪ ♪ I’m just not like you I’m a ♪ ♪ Born lover ♪ ♪ Born livid ♪ ♪ And I know I’m ♪ ♪ I’m not like you I was ♪ ♪ Born clever ♪ ♪ Born knowledgeable ♪ – Today’s Jimquisition, both
personally and professionally, is an important one. You could almost say
this one is, the biggie. This is the result of me having spent a lot of time talking
to Jimquisition viewers who have been kind enough
to share their own stories, this is the result of me
watching on in utter disbelief, as the game industry
proudly boasts and gloats about the ways in which it
psychologically hooks people into unethical, unnecessary, aggressive
video game monetization. This episode, more than any other, should indicate to you,
should portray to you, should explain to you, exactly why, I am so committed to
expressing my disgust, towards the so-called “Triple-A Industry”. This, is a video on the internet. Please enjoy. Addiction is a disease defined by compulsive use of a substance or pattern of behavior
that one cannot stop, even as it has a severe
negative consequence on a person’s quality of life. The most famous form of addiction is of course uncontrollable drug use, as people can all to easily
find themselves dependent on any number of chemical substances. Non-chemical addiction
can be just as harmful. And because there is no
exterior chemical component to point at as the villain, it’s often misunderstood in a way that directly harms the addict. Sex addiction, for example, is often portrayed as people
just being horny miscreants, hiding behind an excuse, for infidelity and similar indiscretions. Those with eating disorders
are dismissed as greedy, while on the opposite end of the spectrum, compulsive exercising is often overlooked because, hey, exercise
is good for ya right? Not if you’re doing it so much that you’re actually
tearing your body apart. Meanwhile, those with gambling problems or shopping addictions are all too easily written off as idiots, who can’t handle their money correctly. Non-chemical addiction
is no less destructive than drug addiction, and I can speak from experience with both. I was in constant chronic
pain for over two years with a spinal hernia, for which the only genuine
treatment I got for the most part was armfuls of painkillers. Which after two years,
became a severe dependence. At the same time, I’ve had friends cope
with chemical addiction, and sex addiciton. And among my many non-chemical
vices is a workaholism issue that sees me pour a
dangerous, unhealthy amount of my self esteem and sense of identity to the quality and success
of the work I put out there. And in many cases, such as mine, there are deeper psychological issues which addictive behavior
is used to cope with. My doctor, for example,
cited Hyper-manic Depression as a root cause for my abuse of drugs, a story all too common
for too many people. Societal misunderstanding
regarding addiction can compound the problem, but there are hundreds of
thousands of businesses out there that do understand the
power of addictive behavior, all too well, and use that
understanding to make money. One such industry is
the video game industry, which has seen revenues
skyrocket by billions since the widespread use
of gambling mechanics, raking in cash off the back
of those who need help, not animated treasure chests, help, to get themselves to a better place. But it isn’t just loot boxes, they’re an offshoot of microtransactions and they themselves can
be part of the problem. They themselves use psychological tricks, manipulation, to encourage
compulsive spending. To appeal to compulsive shoppers. A huge amount of mobile games and microtransaction-led Triple A games make the majority of
their money from “whales”, the tiny percent of players who spend thousands of
dollars on a single game. Who are these whales? Are they just rich kids
with more money than sense? Sure, some of them will be. But not all of them. Maybe not even most of them. Just look up the stories of the people who get themselves into
debt over FIFA games. Or the children who get
their parents into debt over such titles. And some of these spenders,
some of these wales, may indeed be addicts, they may be depressed people
looking for a temporary high. Some of them may have had their
addictions actively egged on by complete fucking scumbags, like Tribleflame CEO Torulf Jernstrom, whose gleefully malevolent
lecture, “Let’s go whaling”, is a proudly-offered confession, of exactly how low the
game industry will sink, to prey on both gambling
and shopping addicts. – Some of you will probably
be slightly shocked by all the tricks I have listed here. But I’ll leave the morality
of it out of the talk, we can discuss it, if we have time, later. – [Jim] Oh yeah, shocked is the word! And when I watched this 19-minute celebration
of exploitation, I understood exactly why
morality was left out of it, because there is no fuckin’ morality here! Jernstrom lays out exactly
how addiction plays a role in so-called “whale hunting”. Describing how the upsale
of player convenience gets people forming habits
around a video game. This technique is known
as Hook, Habit, Hobby. And I’ll let Torulf explain it. – Hook Habit Hobby, this is model from Dmitri Drovanov, of Flare Games. It’s a model for how
people progress in a game, the hook is what gets you into the game to try out a free-to-play game. Then you build it into a habit that you play multiple sessions every day. And then at the end, it’s the hobby phase where people see it as
one of their main hobbies and they put lots of time
and resources into it. – [Jim] With the Hook Habit Hobby scheme we see an insidious method
of monetizing compulsion. Like a cartoonish drug dealer
from an 80’s PSA video, the game introduces a good deal first with the aim of getting the customer habitually desirous of more. The concept of the “ice-breaker
deal” is downright sinister, and you’d think a
casually-dressed game dev explaining the concept
like it’s no big deal would lessen how ghoulish it
sounds, but nope, oh my, nope. – The hook is where you
put up an ice-breaker. You want to give a
really really good deal, something that’s a no-brainer, you would be crazy to
turn it down, as a player. The reason to give a really
good deal upfront is, by making people spend upfront, they are also emotionally
committing to your game, their attention will go up. And, the first spend, it breaks the ice, then they think of themselves
as spenders in the game, “It’s okay for me to spend in the game.” Lots of people, otherwise,
have this wall up, “I will never pay for a mobile game.” So you need to break the wall first. – [Jim] We’ll get back
to more from this… Person, later on. Right now, let’s look at a
very different statement. A statement not from a whale hunter, but the brother of a
so-called whale himself. A whale with a very
genuine gambling problem whose love of video games helped
him deal with that problem, only for said games to
stab him in the back when money was to be made. (poignant piano music) – [Jim] These are the whales, so callously hunted by
assholes with lanyards. It’s very easy to suggest, that these are people who should
be smarter with the money, that only a fool lets it get this bad. I refuse to believe that anyone that churlish
about the situation, has ever dealt with addictive
behavior in their own lives. I simply refuse to believe it. Because addiction simply
does not work that way, you can’t just switch it off, it’s not that easy to simply stop. You can even know, all day long that what you’re doing is wrong and you can consider yourself stupid, and you can know that it’s
harmful, but that won’t stop you. It doesn’t just stop on a dime, and the game industry knows this. That’s why they go after
those who will form habits. As we’ve already noted, addiction doesn’t tend
to form in a bubble. It more often than not is a symptom of, and a response to, other
mental health issues. And it’s not uncommon to find an addict with multiple chronic habits. In this next testimonial, we learn once again how easy it can be for the right victim to fall prey to the subtle machinations
of video game gambling. As well as how those in
recovery for addiction are playing a dangerous game, when all they want to do
is play an actual game. (poignant piano music) – [Jim] When game industry mouthpieces claim microtransactions
and loot boxes are fine because “Nobody’s forced to buy them”. I think of those who have had to move from video game to video game, actively pursued by the microtransactions that threatened to drag
them back down the hole. The industry loves to
claim “It’s optional” to justify microtransactions, willfully ignoring how video games are designed to be grindier
and less convenient to make their time-saving
in-game purchases way more appealing. None of us have the option to avoid deliberately bad game design
in the video games we buy. And those with shopping addiction and gambling addiction have no option to even play these games without the risk of slipping
back into destructive behavior. Now I’ve shared my disgust with the video game
industry here many times. Some understand my outrage,
others not so much. It is my hope that with
these testimonials, juxtaposed against the sheer
negligent insensitivity of men like Torulf Jernstrom, will go some way to explaining
why an addict like myself, who would more than likely be
a victim of in-game gambling, were I not already so
professionally against it, would be so utterly fucking furious at what the video game
industry has encouraged in recent years. The industry not only
knows what it’s doing, it’s celebrating it. It’s doing it in public. At conferences and in calls, sharing the knowledge and the tactics that instill habitual spending
among their audiences. There is a veritable treasure trove of evil fucking wisdom out there. That doesn’t attempt to hide how predatory this industry has become. None of this is a secret. None of this is obscure. This is out in the open. – Hot state, there’s an excellent book about behavioral psychology
called Thinking Fast and Slow. I’m telling you that the fast thinking mode is what you want. The slow thinking is
your analytical brain. What’s 12 times 47? I’m sure all of you can answer that, but you have to start your
actual thinking brain to do that. Our brain works in these two modes, and starting the analytical
part of your brain is too much to ask for a spend. Make stuff immediately useful,
immediate gratification. If you have a level-based game and you sell some boosters upfront. For instance, a coin doubler, or some other stuff that will help you. People will have to analyze
and think it through, “These things are good for me, “these things will help me
progress”, before they do it. If on the other hand, you do, like for instance in this temple run. Once your game is over. “Save me, I have a few
seconds to spend hard currency “and I get to continue.” The IKEA effect. This is to say, stuff that we put work into, we value more highly. IKEA really sells you
cardboard stuff, it’s shit. But you value it, still,
(audience laughs) somehow slightly higher, because you actually built it yourselves. There’s a trigger to
remind us to do something, then we go an action, we
get the variable reward, just like the gotchas, we
get the lottery ticket. And then, to really hook it down, we need to ask people
to do something for us, do a little bit of work, because then they become
emotionally attached to that. Anchoring is fun. Anchoring means that, when we
don’t know the price of stuff, the first price we hear suggested for it, becomes our anchor. And then we compare everything to that. Some games immediately,
when you’re in the tutorial, they suggest to you, “You
should buy this good IAP “for 50 euros” or something like that, I go like “Oh that’s
expensive I’ll never do that.” Of course no, and I expect them to say no. Then again I come back
like a few sessions later and suggest they buy it for 15. And now they will say
“That’s a good value, “because my anchor was at 50.” – [Jim] Get people to knee-jerk spend, to not think about what they’re
doing as they’re doing it. Keep the pressure up with limited offers, fixed prices to make each
spend more appealing. Get players a sense of emotional, as well as financial investment. Maintain the Sunk Cost
Fallacy as long as possible. Everything I’ve ever
ranted and raved about on the Jimquisition is not only supported, but gloated over by
people in the industry. Right down to the bullshit excuses I’ve had to demolish before. Such as spreading the nonsense that microtransactions are required, in order to support developers. In fact, Jernstrom notes that you don’t even have to be all that convincing in your lies. – If we tell people
they are a certain way, if we compliment on
being nice, good citizens they are more likely to
behave as nice good citizens. So you should actually tell your players that they are generous individuals who have a taste for good art and want to support their game developers by paying you and buying IAPs. Related to that, also telling people the
reason to do something makes them much more likely to actually follow through and do that. Spend because… Reasons. The reasons don’t even
have to be that good, in order for this to work. – The total bollocks spouted
on behalf of the game industry justifying aggressive microtransactions and gambling mechanics, is not only perpetuated by
people within the industry but people without it as well. And, it’s always dismaying to me to see games media, games journalism, structures that should hold
the industry to account, going to bat for them. Most recently, and most disgustingly, there was an article on Polygon called “Anti-Loot Box Bill “Poses a Real Threat
to Sports Video Games.” With the tagline, “How else are these billion
dollar licenses paid?” Fuck you. “These modes, “if they don’t pay directly
for the games we enjoy, “at least justify the
workforces and development costs “that make them work playing. “That oily microtransaction money, “hard as it is to defend,
even in the abstract, “helps those women and
men deliver something “that meets the unrelenting
it’s-in-the-game standard “we’ve taken for for granted
for a couple of decades.” No they don’t, they were being delivered before microtransactions happened. You fool. And as we’ve already explained, the whole “Microtransactions
support the developers” line, is bullshit. It’s bullshit. The routine layoffs this industry has, often to celebrate things
like record revenue intake, wholly demonstrates that. People are losing their jobs all the time, regardless of how much money
is flowing into the industry. The article essentially boils down to “Won’t somebody please
think of the corporations?” And relies on the age-old myth that video games are just too expensive for multi-billion dollar
companies to make them anymore. In doing so, the article does
hit upon a very real problem, but the understanding
of the problem presented is completely fucked. “Nobody publicizes exactly how much “their cash cows bring in of course, “but it’s instructive that Take Two “agreed to a deal paying
the NBA $1.1 billion “over the next seven years. “That’s double the value of the last deal “which was inked in 2011, “well before Virtual Currency
was introduced to MyCareer. “I don’t think Visual
Concepts replaces that dough “by reselling NBA’s Greatest DLC “or the Sprite Slam Dunk contest.” Polygon’s writer suggests
that sports games would suffer under recent pushes to regulate loot boxes because the licenses for
the sports in question are now costing billions. And it’s frustrating because the writer is so close to the truth
there, so close to the issue. But decides the best solution is to put gambling mechanics
in these fucking video games rather than ask why a sports association is charging to much bloody money for the rights to make a game that said association
directly benefits from. Let’s not forget these licenses were perfectly affordable
before loot boxes came along, it’s only post-loot box
that suddenly they’re “far too expensive!” I mean imagine a hypothetical world where Electronic Arts
suddenly couldn’t afford the rights to make a FIFA game. As if FIFA would allow a year go by without a FIFA game existing. Get fucking real. If for some reason one of these publishers couldn’t afford to make a FIFA game, and let’s be honest, they’d
find the money somehow. Likely the price for the
licenses would go down. All this fucking Polygon article does is argue in favor of the
perpetuation of a problem in order to perpetuate another problem. Suggesting gambling mechanics
should stay in video games, so that sports associations can keep charging through the
arsehole for their licenses. Fuck right off. This weak, weak article, completely hand-waves
away any real issues, any real concerns people
have with gambling mechanics. As coming from people who just hate EA or were just angry about Star
Wars: Battlefront 2, piss off. I knew this video I was
working on was coming when that article went out and I had to bite my tongue at the time, because I was saving it for now. Having had already spoken
to gambling addicts, shopping addicts about this topic. To see concerns so sneeringly batted away in favor of complete corporate propaganda, thoroughly disgusted me,
and continues to disgust me. Games press should be holding
these companies to account, but they can’t even comprehend why loot boxes and
microtransactions overall are so fucking poisonous. Because they don’t think about the prey, they don’t think about the people these companies are preying on, they only see them as
whales, dehumanized wales. And that misunderstanding has to stop, they’re not rich kids with
enough money to spare, they’re not goddamn sea mammals. They’re people with vulnerabilities that this game industry is exploiting. Knowingly, gladly, greedily. And I am over hearing
and defense for them, because they are un-bloody-tenable. The regulation of loot
boxes might not be pleasant and it’s not something
I explicitly gun for, but I did warn the game
industry that it was coming, that if they kept pushing
these microtransactions. If they kept pushing the limits to see exactly how much
they could get away with. They would end up with
a fight on their hands once politicians got interested. I said this time and time again
and no-one bloody listened and now look where we are, and
it’s on the industry’s head. It’s on their head, nobody
else’s, it’s their problem, they do not deserve people taking up arms and defending them, because they merrily
walked into this situation. And ultimately, if you
need gambling mechanics to keep your fucking games going, you shouldn’t be in business. The world can do without
your exploitative crap. Not that you really need them,
you didn’t need them before, you’d find a way to work around
it if they were to go away, it’s always about greed,
it’s not about need. And if you trip over yourself to apologize for what
these corporations do, you are little more to
them than a useful idiot. – [Narrator] To have any chance of turning players into payers, game developers need to get
their in-app purchases right. Offers and scarcity, plays
into the loss aversion, if there are rare cards up here, and you see the goblin going
with his clocks, tick tock. “I’ll take it away from you,
I’ll take it away from you.” They are scarce, they go away, this is a brilliant way to get more. – [Jim] Monetize. Retain. Acquire. This is the mantra of the
modern video game industry. It’s been the creed of the
shit-sucking mobile sector for years and years, and in recent times, from the tail end of the
last generation to now, it’s increasingly become the creed of the so-called Triple-A game publisher. Monetize. Retain. Acquire. Form those habits, trick those customers, turn those players into payers, as one disgusting
organization once suggested. Much of what they are doing is unethical, much of it is certainly immoral. So much so that “little talk givers” need to check their morals at the door. To even discuss the tactics at play. And the industry gets away with it, because such addiction is
so often misunderstood. Another testimonial I received, one of many more than
discussed in this video, described how they got hooked on a MOBA that used social pressure
to keep people spending. And how nobody would help them when they sought support to stop. “Uni’s response? “It’s not gambling, it’s
not an addiction, they said. “They offered me zero support “because the councilors “simply couldn’t get their heads around “that I was addicted to wasting money “just for friends on a video game. “There was nothing. “No support. “Just another round of adults
who drowned my voice out “and I was berated for
not having a real problem “and just being a spoilt child.” Peer pressure is just another way the industry makes money off
the back of vulnerable people. Recently, news broke that
kids are being bullied for only having default skins in Fortnite. While the game is free, children are pressured to
keep up with their friends to maintain a social status
by not being the poor scrub with the bargain basement cosmetics. Youngsters are reportedly
begging their parents for Fortnite money because nobody will play
with them otherwise. And the word default itself has become a derogatory term in schools. And if you think that’s
just kids being kids, that the game industry cannot possibly be held to account for this. (laughs sarcastically) Well, guess what else Mr. Jernstrom said. – We are herd animals, we tend to do what all of the others do. You all sit quiet listening to me because that’s what all
of the other guys do here. So. Especially when people are similar to us. This means that the socially accepted way of behaving in your game should be paying. You want to tell people, for instance, when a clan member of
theirs spend IAP money, you want the whole can to know. Because then, that becomes the socially
acceptable way of behaving. You absolutely do not want to tell them that the majority of people in
your game never spend money. That’s poison. Never tell them that. – Am I demonstrating this
fucking clearly enough now? Am I effectively showcasing that this industry has nasty
parasitic bastards in it? That know exactly what they’re doing, and not only don’t care,
but are proud of themselves? And it’s not just Jernstrom. You’ll find men like him
absolutely everywhere if you know which stones to turn over. David Zendle is a researcher and lecturer who has devoted much of his
time to the study of loot boxes. In a paper published in June of 2019, he noted that while he
cannot claim loot boxes create problem gamblers, there’s evidence to
suggest problem gamblers are certainly exploited by them. According to his findings, when loot boxes were removed
from Heroes of the Storm, problem gamblers, and
only problem gamblers, spent less money on the game. The spending habits of
other players didn’t change. The spending habits of the gamblers did because the gambling was gone. There are many studies
showing a correlation between gambling addiction and loot boxes but correlation is not
causation, I will say that. However, the near-identical
psychological similarities between loot boxes and gambling coupled with reports
like those from Zendle support the idea that those
with addiction struggles are routinely preyed
upon by an industry that, regardless of whether they
create compulsive gamblers, sure as shit profit from them. And as Electronic Arts’ Legal VP sits before a parliamentary committee trying to rebrand loot
boxes as surprise mechanics. And claiming they’re ethical
because people enjoy them, I need to stress just how dirty the game industry’s money is. It’s not just dirty, it’s
filthy fucking money. The billions upon billions being funneled into
the offshore tax havens of these video game
companies stink of abuse. Shameless profiteering abuse. If it’s not outright evil,
it is amoral in the extreme. And they flaunt their immorality in public with the smug satisfied self confidence of monsters who’ve gotten away with it. Just go back and watch,
again, the sneering manner in which EA’s Kerry Hopkins patronizes her way through an explanation of what loot boxes are. Just go and read the articles from dozens of industry mouthpieces who disregard criticisms
of microtransactions because “If people didn’t want them, “they wouldn’t spend money on them.” That argument, in face
of the compulsive strings microtransactions pull, is as weak as it is despicably dishonest. There was a comment on
Reddit once that said “Jim Sterling is not
pro-consumer, he’s anti-Triple A.” And I’ll take that. That sounds fine by me. I do hate what the mainstream industry has done to the medium. How the unchecked, unimpeded greed that fuels corporate decision making has turned games into grindy, unsatisfying money vacuums. All in the name of psychological ambush. I say this not with
affected internet outrage. But with a genuine,
understated, ice-cold fury. I genuinely hate most
video game publishers. Their executives, and every seedy, slimy,
corrupt thing they’ve done. To both the industry at
large, and, more importantly, their many victims. You damn right I’m anti Triple-A. Hopefully this video has gone
some way toward explaining at the level of anger I have when it comes to talking about mainstream Triple-A video games, it should explain why,
whenever I say Triple-A, I struggle not to do it in a sneering condescending mocking voice because, I mean I’ve always found that the designation
“Triple A” is arrogant on the part of the game industry. It’s a sign of arrogance, just showcasing that they think they’re so far above everything else, when nothing they do
actually qualifies them for a designation of three As. A is supposed to be good in grading. And the Triple-A video game industry is not triple A, it is triple… Shit. Ah, that’s showed them,
they’re triple shit. Anyway. I hope that this video indicates to you that I don’t do this for, as some people call it, “outrage clicks”. I do this because I fucking care. Because I give a shit, because I truly believe, in my heart, that this is an important topic. That I do hold the values that I express when I talk about microtransactions and loot boxes and whatnot. I hold those values true to myself, I really do believe that when
I talk about this, I am right. I wouldn’t say it if I
didn’t think I was right, if I didn’t know I was right. I truly am not optimistic about where the so-called Triple-A video game industry is going. Comprehensive,
complete-feeling productions, are becoming rarer and rarer. Shallow, threadbare unfinished games, that are designed deliberately poorly, so that you can pay extra
to improve the experience, they’re becoming the norm. The idea of the “service
video game” is a lie. Because it isn’t a service, well, it’s not a service
they provide to you. It’s a service you provide to them. You are giving them,
you are inviting them. Direct access to your wallet. They sit back and collect money off you, simply for existing. And they spout lies. Lies and propaganda, that
are then perpetuated. By their defenders, by
certain journalists, by spokespeople in the industry. And it’s a racket. And it’s shameless, and it’s disgusting. Thank you so much to the people who did share their stories. Thank you so much to people who showed me, some of these open boasts from the video game industry itself, thank you to CaseyExplosion,
to Hbomberguy, for reading the testimonials we had, thank you for watching, and of course. Of course. Thank god, for me. (discordant music) (upbeat funk music) ♪ Yeah ♪ ♪ Yeah ♪ ♪ Yeah ♪ ♪ Oh ♪ ♪ Yeah alright ♪ ♪ Yeah everybody’s thinkin’ ’bout me ♪

100 comments

  1. It's sad to see how it seems NORMAL for them to use manipulation to rip people off. Like it was a normal habbit.
    Why isn't this even punishable by law? Since when is using people and manipulating them to get their money legal? If it is how can you seperate this from sects?

  2. Got to say that Polygon article's writer (and their editorial staff) must either be pretty stupid or deliberately writing a propaganda piece. That the licenses are expensive because there's a ton of money to be made ought to be obvious to anyone with a halfway functional brain. There's very little material cost in the brand name. No labor, no land rights, nothing like that. It's purely intellectual property, something that has value because society agrees it does. Which means its cost is mostly determined by how much money the purchaser can make off the name. Therefore, it just logically holds that the increased profitability of sports games is what has driven up the cost of the license. And that means loot boxes are the reason why the cost is high, not why it has to be high.

  3. Budding game dev here. This video has changed my perception of F2P / Microtransactions completely. Thanks for opening my eyes.

  4. Your maner of reading those messages about addiction problems was strange, like you taking laugh at it with this editing, music and fake sad voice.

  5. When my kids were about 8, there was a collectible card game that was getting popular at their school. This was at a time where they were the primary source of loot box gaming around. I took the time to explain how economics of this works, how you would have to keep buying packs to hopefully get the cards you wanted. Their reply was: When I grow up I want to make one of those games so I can get rich.

  6. I think, and I mean no disrespect here, but I think the professional pride and critical eye this job has is saving you from your own impulsive habits and that if you hadn't started this on the jimquisition you might have even fallen victim to these boxes.

  7. Sickening…. I'm glad I got out of video games back around the start of this decade just when micro transactions and add ons were really starting. I played games from the 80's through the 90's 2000's back when gsmes were honest and fun to play! You just bought your fucking game and fucking played it. No expensive add ons. Wow, seems like every game is completely corrupted now, glad I no longer play. Never will again.

  8. When I was a youngster, we had popular sports games that had completely fictitious players and teams in them. Pretty sure that didn't require a billion dollar license!

  9. Capcom, Square Enix, Sony, Nintendo and so many other publishers who typically don't partake in microtransactions somehow manage to stay afloat without them.

    None of those publishers have franchises that sell as well as Madden, FIFA, and Battlefield do every single year. So, on base sales alone, EA probably makes more money than any of these other publishers. Sony and Nintendo will have one game every 3-5 years that approach the best selling Battlefield games' sales. I can't think of one from either of them on their current console thay have sold as well as any Madden/FIFA game in recent memory. Capcom's best selling game this generation hasn't even sold half of what one year's FIFA has sold. And yet Resident Evil 2 didn't need lootboxes.

  10. The solution is quite simple for those who are not struggling with addiction. Quit buying games with microtransaction mechanics. Money talks. That's all these publishers care about, so that is the line of thinking we as consumers must employ. When their bottom-lines begin to suffer, they will change their ways.

  11. To quote Monty Python:
    Mr. Hilton: What about our sales?
    Inspector: FUCK your sales! We've got to protect the public!

  12. Looting. Isn't that was barbarians used to do to villages before burning them? The real barbarians aren't in the games.

  13. There is no such thing as "non-chemical" addiction. All addiction, and indeed all desires are chemical in nature.

  14. Is that picture of Strauss Zelnick a real picture? because that actually does not look like a human to me
    It literally doesn't register as a fellow living being

  15. Well made video but there's a crucial mistake or misconception, the idea of socializing is definitely not a bad idea.
    The problem is how you make people communicate online.
    Homo Sapiens, or, us, did not survive the competition because our bodies are stronger than other now-extinguished humans, but because we are, in general, more capable in both making tools and communicating with each other. These are essentials to build a strong society. Therefore it doesn't make any sense to design any kind of entertainment to make you become less competitive in the nature.
    The problem is that the people who built the online community generally don't have skills to manage it. And that's why a lot of heavy players generally don't have a very positive rating for the games that they spent a lot of money and time in.

  16. It's so weird to see all this shit being pulled has been taught to me at university, however, there the urge to act morally with this was emphasized. Guess some assholes choose to ignore that part.

  17. That's why I stick to and with the classic and old school games because you don't have to spend money on them📺🎮

  18. If I see kids bragging about buying microtransactions and bullying someone who doesn't someone better restraint me or Il beat the shit out of them.

  19. I feel these CEO's who target people with vulnerabilities should be put in a simulation stasis sleep. We give them a taste of Utopia, but then we can give these CEO's a pure taste of hell, killing them with nightmarish apparitions, reviving them and clearing their memory, just so we can kill them again, and again, and again. Or have them keep their memory but have new ways to kill them pop up in the simulation, like say a turret on the ceiling inside their Utopian house going rogue, a killer clown with a long slicer kitchen knife, a burglar with a bull barreled revolver, an unpinned grenade landing in front of them on the last ticks of it's timer, an orbital device decimating them to dust, fire slowly encroaching them, a lightning strike to their spine, getting run over, having their precious lootbox system fall on their head and flatten them, their ex-wives or ex-workers or rivals stabbing them with a serrated switchblade, their refrigerator suddenly detonating, their water turning to poison which will cause seizures, convulsions, and pain throughout every single nerve of their nervous system till they drop dead, a nuke going off, a handmade bomb with a heart symbol and lots of love. And since it's a simulation we can repeat these methods over and over, just to psychologically torture them.

  20. As someone who cant fucking wait for the new NHL game to drop so I can buy a used copy of the current game at a discounted price, I couldnt give a shit if the contract was for billions. The sports leagues and associations want the games out there and theyll figure out a compromise. And if it all falls through, well then I'll just have to play NHL 20 for the rest of my life, or better, NHL2K10. I'm sure I can figure out custom stats for custom players

  21. “It’s not gambling or loot boxes, their surprises and surprise boxes”……sure Jane, let’s roll with that. Except ya know, THAT IS COMPLETE FUCKING BULLSHIT!!!! Not even the people listening to EA believed them, they have the look of “yeah…right, we’re not buying your bullshit”

  22. These video games should have a mandatory warning label like cigarettes. "the game you are about to play is intentionally using psychological quirks in the human brain to make you purchase more and more micro transactions." People should know up front what they're getting into and know what the game companies are doing.

  23. I think that the use of psychology in those business practice is very telling. They use it to restrict our ability to make rational decision and freedom of choice. If they could find a way to hypnothyse us and force us to buy their stuff, they would do it and would rob us of our ability to make choices

  24. Why, oh WHY didn't someone assassinate that piece of shit while he was up there explaining how to take advantage of others??!!

  25. Ok, so the art of grinding out gameplay to encourage people to spend money might not be gambling…but IT'S FUCKING COERCION! Disgusting they do this to children.

  26. Torulf Jernström is a fucking piece of shit asshole garbage human being! Him and all the greedy asshole CEO's that wants you to pay for fucking breathing in-game and if they could in real life!

  27. There’s a problem here, but it’s being overanalysed. The unethical techniques brought up in the presentation shown are normal marketing techniques. These aren’t crazy new developments that will suddenly empty wallets.

    What really needs to be done here is for lootbox systems to be considered legally to be gambling and brought up to par with current laws. From there, fight against the predatory nature of gambling as a whole.

  28. No you don’t care You’re a fat piece of shit all you do is talk about negative shit you never talk about anything positive because at the end of the day you’re just as greedy as they are you hide behind consumer advocacy When really you don’t what the gaming industry to get better what you really want is for the gaming Industry to stay the way it is because without their fuck ups where would your channel be right now it would be gone your channel won’t have a purpose anymore your channel would cease to exist

  29. You know what? Escort missions, Water levels, Quicktime Events, Those are no longer the worst cliches in gaming. The honor goes to Microtransactions.

  30. They've managed to turn video games into a mafia numbers racket complete with loan sharks, the only difference is that the mob will eventually cut you off by killing you if you don't pay your debts.

  31. FIFA, NHL, Madden, NBA, MLB and almost all of the other sports franchises have done fuck all to actually innovate or improve their products in the last 15 fucking years and at this point there's no fucking reason to make a new one every year when they could just make one every two years and just do roster updates in between.

    The only sports game that I've played which doesn't do need to that is Codemasters F1 series and that's due to two things:

    (A): the rules in F1 change year to year in small ways that actually do effect the cars and their performance.
    (B): Codemasters doesn't include any lootbox horseshit because Liberty Media (the company that owns the F1 License) told them that under no circumstances could they ever put them into the game.

  32. Even I, an occasional defender of micro transactions, am INFURIATED at this. Because I see them with so much potential for better business models that allow the player to decide how much they pay. But no, instead what do we get? Companies manipulating vulnerable people into literal gambling. This is why I have trust issues…

  33. But it is chemical you miss that the feel good chemicals that are released in the brain when you buy something, gamble, have sex, etc these are the true addiction chemicals. The feel good chemicals that make people do the behavior more and more to get that chemical release.

    Lootboxes need to go no matter what. GW2 is starting to go a bad direction with lootbox hooking, and selling. I really hope they pass laws soon and put an end to the predatory practices of these gaming companies

  34. 4:48 Oh such a punch-able face. It makes me a little sad that I feel that way but that's the problem dealing with sociopathic, amoral scummers like this, they're invincible. Well at least they are until the duct tape and pliers come out to play..

  35. Remember folks, greed is not a part of capitalism, it's a parasitic malignancy that is destroying capitalism. Plus, can we all agree here this isn't the fault of games developers, but the fault of the games producers?

  36. Caveat Emptor. Let the buyer beware. The man or woman who first said that was absolutely correct, and was probably still bleeding from the asshole the first time he or she said it.

  37. I know everyone hates the guy, but honestly I'm actually quite glad that he shed such a honest light over all the scummy ways that people can psychologically manipulate the player in order to squeeze every penny out of them. Simply by giving the lecture in such a nonchalant and straight forward manner gives the average gamer a sobering look behind the scenes of games monetization.

  38. I kinda think that this is also a more general issue with the way we use capitalism..instant gratification in a throwaway society….dangerous stuff to the individual.

  39. Hey, this is probably the best video you've ever done. I wish I could like this multiple times.

    Unfortunately, the only solution I can see from any government is limiting who has access to the games with these gambling mechanics. And that will probably result in a useless "requirement" for age-verification to prevent the kiddies from stealing their mothers' credit cards (because apparently the feds don't care about addicts and only care about kids).

    Casinos aren't illegal in several states of the US. They're regulated, sure, but they're still available. And they're still able to hook addicts into bankruptcy by the thousands (perhaps even more). If you live in a state (or country, which are states anyhow) where casinos are banned, then you're lucky, legislation is far more likely to pass since the legal precedent is already set.

    If you don't live in a state where gambling is illegal – like me, I live in Henderson, Nevada, which is only 12 miles or so from the Las Vegas Strip – then I don't see much possible legal reprieve for gambling addicts.

    Hopefully I'm wrong; I'm quite a pessimistic person by default.

  40. Jimmy my boy you are spot on, i stopped buying playing watching any games that allow real money items in them. Microtransactions are smoke and mirrors from devs to exploit gamers to spend real money to get access to game content that was separated by a paywall just to milk every penny they can out of us. Try looking at black desert that got ported over to console from pc, they even have content locked behind forced PvP. You can never be attacked by anyone as long as you don't use said item at 49 but you can not gain levels anymore either. I hate pvp when i stayed at 49 for 2 months i realized the psychology behind this and quickly uninstalled this game. I shall never again play any games with cash shops!

  41. This video would be great if you took the narration of the gambling victims seriously. Did you tell them to read it jokingly?

  42. Its not even lootboxes you have to watchout for anymore. Developers are releasing games in multiple parts just so they can milk their game for everything its worth. And then charge players £60 for each part. For example, the new Final Fantasy VII Remake is being released in multiple parts with the first being only Midgar and SE havent even said how many parts its going to be. The full game will probably end up costing something like £180-200 or if you buy the special edition £600-700.

  43. Gladly pay for microtransaction… to hire a hitman for a "torulf jernström" contract. Condition: must suffer long and hard.

  44. That story from the addict hopping from game to game being chased by all the predatory BS was absolutely heartbreaking. Listening to that was just a horrible experience.

  45. Paladins has to have some of the worst microtransactions Ive seen. I couldnt even earn items for my hard work playing due to the micro transactions. you want this icon or skin you worked for ? pay 30 fucking dollars

  46. Addiction isn’t just about spending money but also time. I’ve been playing games since I was was 5-6 (I’m almost 21 now) and I’ve always loved to play ever since my brother first got me into games like halo and oblivion and Pokémon. While it’s true that I spent a lot of time on games I also played a lot of soccer and my grades were always A’s and B’s and I spent good amounts of time with friends so I never really had any issues, until I first started playing mmo’s about 4-5 years ago. I started to change and at the time I never thought about it but looking back I realize how much time I sunk into the games and I almost ruined my life because of it. At the time (3 years ago) I was towards the end of high school and I was doing all college classes so that it would complete my requirements for highschool but also I would get a head start on my degree at college. Well, I had fallen so far into addiction that I lied to my family for the entire semester about my grades and it wasn’t until just before the semester ended that I admitted that I hadn’t done any work and that I was failing. It caused some serious anger and distrust and I was seriously lucky that I had a few days left to withdraw without the F’s showing on my record but it did show that I withdrew from the classes and I had to bust my ass to complete an entire years worth of work for multiple classes from highschool over a month in the summer to be able to still graduate with my degree or else I would have had to get a ged. Thankfully that’s behind me now and I’m a semester away from graduating from college but I’m still ashamed that I fell so far with the mmo’s. I still love to play games but I’m better at controlling how much time I spend on it and it’s been hard rebuilding the trust after that major lie I told but thankfully my family is incredibly loving and supportive and has helped me to move past that and we are in a much better place now but I do believe that there will never be the same level of trust again between us which is one of my biggest regrets in life. Ultimately it saddens me that companies have gotten so greedy and I miss the days of earning stuff or maybe spending a dollar or two on a skin rather than spend a hundred on lootboxes and not even get the skin you wanted and not being tempted to keep playing regardless of the time because of the temptations thrown in to keep you playing no matter what. I wish the best to all who are struggling with addiction and hope that you guys can find your way out like I was able to.

  47. I've spent over $200 dollars on "Dauntless" over the last couple of months, of which I have to say, "NEVER AGAIN!!!" The game is so fun I'd gladly spend $60 or even $100 just so I can pay once and get every single awesome cosmetic in the game through pure gameplay, but Epic needs to maximize their profits to make up for "Fortnite's" declining Skin sales. I'm taking a break after this season so I can play "Pine" later this month, but a part of me never wants to touch the game again so I won't be tempted to buy another $5.00 digital axe. :'-(

  48. Please see Part 1 of my response to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9mq0t-gTRs&t=35s Basically, I think that anyone who finds themselves unhealthily succumbing to the allure of loot boxes and microtransactions should find games without those features. But if you are really having so much trouble controlling yourself that you need others to take over your life completely, then this is a separate problem to address that no video game manufacturer is responsible for.

  49. i dont really care about in-game monetization because the gameplay is simply shit and i dont play such games. the sad part is there are no good games these days. everything is shit, even the old good franchises have become shit. ive turned my back on new games and i start discovering old gems i was too young to understand back in the 90s. Baldurs Gate series, Arcanum, KOTOR series, etc. Old RPGs that not only stand their ground today but put to shame anything at least 10 years old. Not to mention Zelda and mario games on Gameboy. But kids these days only know to consume shit like FIFA and COD. thers going to be sad times for gaming ahead because kids have thought the publishers to be greedy

  50. My grandmother was addicted to hitting the Casino, even though she couldnt afford it.

    So one day, my 10 year old self had a plan. Give her my Gameboy and Pokémon Red.

    I farmed as much cash as I could from the elite four, walked into the Casino and handed it to her.

    She played until my Pokemaster was broke.

    I did it all over again. She would hand it to me and say "Paaaulll can you get me more coins please?"

    You're damn right I will. Get you coins ALL DAY.

    It stopped her from wanting to go to the Casino.

  51. Addiction has been the ruination of my extended family, my family struggled with alcohol problems before I was born. Now my surviving aunts now live with alcoholic dementia and my mom's brothers are all dead due to health problems due to hard drinking and smoking.
    This is not a damn joke, the game industry is like that voice that tells you to just have one more drink. Just buy that one more lootbox and it becomes another and another unitl you are sunk in debt and financial ruin.

  52. The "It's optional" mentality reminds me of how people are supposedly "rational actors" and thus it's their own damn fault if they buy our poison. That's the excuse, anyway. You get to 14:45 in when Jernström starts talking about how to override the rational part of players' minds and the mask falls off.

  53. And this us why i play Warframe. "Lootboxes"are eared randomly can NOT be purchased, and can be redeemed for in-game credits. Purchase items are you get what you pay for. No random factors. If a free Beta like Warframe can get by so can throw more money at it AAA

  54. Holy snot, Jim put this on his front page. I'm so used to the Digital Homicide lawsuit video being up there I was shocked when I saw that lying bint lying her corporate lies open up instead of the usual opening of the most ridiculous indie-"developer" butt-hurt chronicle.

  55. When were loot boxes removed from Heroes of the Storm? I play that game almost every day and they're definitely still there.

  56. also read the book/audiobook Hooked: How to create habit forming products – a bit outdated even at a couple of years old but explains some tactics well

  57. I know I am late on this video but I have a problem with spending money and being able to get horribly addicted to things and because of microtransactions being in nearly every game I play. For my game fix I need to emulate old games and play old games (which wouldn't be bad if I didn't have friends that play new games) So I either buy the new games and get constantly bombarded with the ads saying basically "Buy this new usless shit now so you don't need to grind for it" but I am able to play with friends or play old games but have no one to play with. and I am speaking from the experience of nearly spending over £1k on fucking Microtransactions.

  58. at this point im almost sad that video games dont cause violence. because if they did we would see a couple of CEOs less

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