Japanese Government Muzzles Social Gaming With Regulations

Know those news stories about how children play a social media game and unknowingly spend hundreds of dollars just buying various power ups? Well, so does the Japanese government and they’re tired of hearing about it.

The Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency has received complaints of children spending some serious yen on items in social media games. The question is, how do handle a sensitive, socioeconomic problem that involves children and money? If you’re in the Japanese Consumer Affairs Agency, the answer is to make the option of buying virtual items with real money illegal.

This model is known as “Complete Gacha” and any method of using real money to buy virtual money to buy virtual goods, especially if the virtual goods are randomized, is illegal.

Complete Gacha makers like Gree and DeNA are in a state of disarray when the news became official. Stock for some companies has dropped as much as 22%, not to mention that the companies will need to seriously change how they work so they fit within the law. The companies have banded together to form an Internal User Environment Committee. Their plan is to self-regulate themselves and ”discuss and plan measures for improving services” and the  ”proper use of social games.”

Of course, the damage has already been done.Stocks are dropping and commonly used strategies must be changed. This is a critical time in growth for Japanese social media games and this government intervention is like dropping a boulder over the exit. There’s going to be some serious digging and I don’t think they have shovels so it’s going to hurt.

via Games Industry

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