Deception in Gaming: Lack of transparency

Deception in Gaming: Lack of transparency about microtransactions and loot boxes within video games.

Author name: Bradley Rajkumar
Affiliation & Country: Durban University of Technology, South Africa

Write-up of the exhibition: 

Gaming has become a billion-dollar industry. In 2020, the gaming industry generated $155 billion in revenue and by 2025, analysts predict the industry will generate more than $260 billion in revenue. With the rise of PC, console and mobile gaming, came a new challenge that consumers faced called microtransactions.  

 Microtransactions are a form of payment made within a game using real-world money to increase a games revenue. One such example of a microtransaction is the loot box, which was created to sell additional content to game players. The issue with microtransactions and loot boxes is that some developers have resorted to using manipulative practices in video games in order to increase revenue. Parents buy these video games for kids without knowing that they contain microtransactions and game developers use deceptive tactics by utilising loot boxes, which is like a form of gambling. The target audience for this project will be parents as well as children who play these games. Children are not aware of the financial costs associated with microtransactions and parents are not aware that there are microtransactions and loot boxes within video games.

The goal of this project is to expose the issue of microtransactions within games, and in doing so, highlight how a lack of transparency further perpetuates the issue, due to a lack of visual communication. This will be done by creating an educational animated video educating parents about microtransactions and loot boxes. Visual icons will also be designed which could be added to video game covers, shopping malls, TV ads, online stores and social media platforms. This would show parents which games contain microtransactions and loot boxes. In this way, parents can be educated about microtransactions and loot boxes when buying video games for their children. 

 This exhibition will show you my design process document, this includes my core message, key visual, case study, strategy document, storyboard and a short animation test for both the character and style of the animated video. The final animated video and visual icons are still in the process of being finalised and will be completed in the upcoming months.  


August 25, 2022