携帯ゲーム規制 健全性を重視したビジネスに

The Yomiuri Shimbun (May. 30, 2012)
Social networking games must be responsible
携帯ゲーム規制 健全性を重視したビジネスに(5月29日付・読売社説)

It is after all an improper business model to earn profits by exploiting child psychology and stimulating vanity and the desire to gamble.

The Consumer Affairs Agency has decided to ban “kompu gacha” (complete gacha) online games played on mobile phones from July under the Law against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations. This is a reasonable step.

The phrase “kompu gacha” combines “complete” and the name of the “gacha gacha” game arcade machine that sells capsules of toys. It is a kind of lottery game played on a social networking service website via mobile phones.

Players pay about 300 yen per drawing in a lottery in the game to win virtual items. If they combine items they win in a certain order, they can obtain rare items. The possessors of these rare items gain an advantage in playing games, thereby becoming the envy of other game players.

Items can be bought and sold among players, so it is possible to earn profits by selling them at high prices.

Games played on social networking service websites enthrall players by stimulating a sense of superiority and achievement as well as a desire to gamble.

If players draw in the lottery many times, they end up having to pay a huge amount of charges added to bills for mobile phone service.


High price to pay

It is not a problem if mature adults play online games because they can take responsibility for themselves. But it is problematic if children are caught up in such games. Consumer consulting offices have received one complaint after another from the guardians of children, including one case in which a middle school student was charged 400,000 yen for one month.

The Consumer Affairs Agency has decided to regulate kompu gacha after concluding it is a sales practice banned by the Law against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations, as in the case of selling the cards of professional baseball players, which was extremely popular among boys between 1945 and 1955. But it is difficult to apply the law to quasi-gacha games, which differ slightly from the practice of collecting and trading in baseball cards.


Restrictions necessary

In other mobile phone games, too, players are attracted by advertisements promising no fees “in principle.” But players have to buy items if they want to take the games to a higher level. This framework is adopted in most of these games. They are no different from kompu gacha games in that children are tempted to pay a huge amount of money to play the games.

Six major mobile phone game operators, including GREE, Inc. and DeNA Co., have decided to abolish their kompu gacha games before the end of this month and study compiling self-restraint guidelines on all their social networking games.

Some measures must be taken to set the age limit for players of social mobile games. It will be also necessary to prevent virtual items earned through the games from being exchanged for money.

The social gaming market has grown by leaps and bounds, with annual sales now reaching 250 billion yen. If the market is to expand further, it will be necessary to restructure the business model for such games. Individual corporate visions and the industry-wide stance must be reviewed in this regard.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 29, 2012)
(2012年5月29日01時59分 読売新聞)

srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



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