Kids Who Don’t Spend Money in Free-to-Play Games Are Getting Bullied by Peers

University researchers from Norway have found proof that kids and teens can be bullied by their peers if they don’t buy skins, gear, and other things in free-to-play games like Fortnite.

As games have changed over the years, microtransactions and free-to-play games have become more important to many players.

This has made gamers and people who work in the industry talk about how moral these business practices are and how they affect kids who play games like Fortnite.

The Australian government passed a new law last year that regulates games with loot boxes and gambling elements. This was done to protect consumers, especially kids.

Similar laws have been proposed in other countries, including the US. Activists are also trying to get parents to know more about how dangerous these features can be for kids.

It looks like people who are worried about microtransactions now have another reason to be worried.

A study by a group of Norwegian social scientists found that kids can be picked on if they don’t buy things in video games.

The study by Julia Clara Reich and Kamilla Knutsen Steinnes came out last year and was recently praised in a blog post.

Reich and Steinnes interviewed 19 kids from Norway between the ages of 10 and 15 while they played games for this study.

The goal was to look at their experiences. One interesting finding was that people felt pressured to buy in-game items in games like FIFA to fit in with their friends.

Kids Who Don’t Buy Stuff in Games Are Called Poor

In a related study, the same researchers and Helene Fiane Teigen discovered that games like Roblox and Fortnite use many tricks to trick players and get them to spend more money on in-game purchases.

Advertising that tries to get people to buy more and kids who feel like they need to fit in with their friends aren’t new problems. But these problems may be moving online.

Sony actually said in 2022 that PS5 owners spend more on microtransactions than on games, and this trend doesn’t seem to have changed since then.

For this study, it’s important to keep in mind that the subjects were very few and only included Norwegian children. So, it’s not certain that the results are true for Norway as a whole, let alone other countries.

It does, however, bring up important and troubling questions that need to be looked into further.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that more academics are starting to pay attention now that Assassin’s Creed Mirage has confirmed its plans for microtransactions and demonstrated an ongoing trend toward including in-game purchases in single-player games.

This news also brings together the ongoing debate over microtransactions and the issue of toxicity and harassment in the industry.

For instance, the developers of Baldur’s Gate recently dealt with threats and toxicity, which is another example of bad behavior in the hobby.

One more thing that seems to be a part of this ongoing problem is bullying over in-game purchases.

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Ekta Bhandari

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