How to Avoid the Dangers of In-Game Spending

Author: samanvya Published on: March 16, 2024

Microtransactions have become a hot-button issue in gaming, with loot boxes at the forefront of the controversy. 

These virtual mystery boxes promise in-game treasures, but the mystery of their contents raises concerns about online gambling. And like gambling, microtransactions have caused some people to overspend and even go into debt to afford these perks. 

With your finances and mental health on the line, understanding the risks associated with these microtransactions is crucial.

Loot Boxes: A Gamble in Disguise

The thrill of not knowing what’s inside a loot box can convince gamers to risk their hard-earned dollars on in-game prizes. They might luck out and get the exact weapon or player they’ve been aiming for, or they might lose it all on nothing worthwhile. 

Losing doesn’t deter the most determined gamblers out there. They’ll continue buying loot boxes, hoping the next purchase will be their white whale — whether that’s a skin, collectible, or virtual currency. Trying their luck on these loot boxes can become an expensive addiction. 

Overspending and Debt from Microtransactions

Addiction isn’t the only reason some people spend a fortune on loot boxes. The game’s payment platform can make it easier to overspend.

For one thing, it distances you from the purchase. You receive a pop-up that asks you to confirm the purchase. If you say yes, it will charge your account. You don’t have to exchange physical bills to complete the purchase, so it might not feel like you are spending money in the moment. 

In this way, in-game purchases are like credit card purchases. Studies on credit show that the intangible quality of these purchases creates a disconnect between the money spent and the object acquired. With credit and digital payments, you get to buy something right away, but you don’t have to pay for it until a month later.

By then, you can easily lose track of how much money you spend. One RuneScape player went into debt spending $62,000 on the game. According to a UK-based study, one in 10 children has gone into debt over loot boxes. Countless redditors in five-figure debt have admitted to being depressed over how much money they’ve wasted on microtransactions.

Tips for Responsible Microtransaction Use

Do you need to swear off buying loot boxes ever again? Not quite — if they bring you joy, there’s no harm in splurging on these items, provided you do it responsibly. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of these treasures without jeopardizing your financial well-being. 

Know Your Limits

Microtransactions become problematic when you don’t pay attention to how much you spend. Setting a budget can help you keep track, ensuring you don’t buy more than you can afford. Include microtransactions as a line in your budget, establishing a spending allotment each month. 

Emergency savings should be another line in your budget. These savings can bail you out if you make a mistake while gaming, but more importantly, they can help you take on unexpected expenses in real life. 

Understand the Role of Credit

Taking out a personal loan makes sense sometimes. Suppose the car that gets you to work each day breaks down. Getting a legit online loan might be the only way to fix your vehicle in time for the next workday, ensuring you don’t have to miss work and pay. Legitimate online loan companies will never endorse using a personal loan to pay for in-game transactions. Online loans and lines of credit should stay out of gaming. 

Disable One-Click Purchases

You can prevent accidental or unauthorized transactions by disabling one-click purchases on gaming platforms. If necessary, enable parental controls to stop your kids from spending your money. 

Author: samanvya

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