Thursday , July 7 2022

eSports | FIFA 20 | video games | "Our children emptied our bank account playing FIFA" (and what can you do to prevent this from happening) | Technology and science | Sports


Imagine that you buy an online video game for your children for a few dollars because they have fun just for a while. However, to make the game more fun and exciting they must -and can not tell you- to buy optional items that can be purchased automatically from the console.

Since your credit or debit card is associated with this account, these purchases may continue until someone is credited or your account is empty.

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This was what happened to an unfortunate father that his four children They spent the equivalent of $ 700 in three weeks Buying player packages for the online FIFA football game on the Nintendo Switch family console.

In FIFA, you can buy special players that come in packages, but the content of These packages are only revealed when the payment is completed.

The father of the children, Thomas Carter, had bought them a single package of players that cost him $ 10, but he did not realize that the children saw how he had made the payment, a white card to buy more packages and have more fun .

Although the FIFA video game is published and sold by Electronic Arts, payments were made through the family account in Nintendo.

Once the complaint is made, Nintendo agreed to reimburse all of the money and remove from the console players bought. However, the Switch console confiscated children "indefinitely," Mr. Carter said.

Thomas Carter, from Hampshire, south of England, acknowledges he did not take all due precautions to limit his access to his Nintendo account: he did not use a personal identification number (PIN) and the purchases received from the players were sent to an old email that had the full mailbox.

"I never imagined that the children did this," he commented.

He and his wife only realized what had happened when Your card was rejected because they no longer had funds in your account.

FIFA 19 is a video game that has been approved for players from the age of three years.

Carter said his children, all under 10, felt very sorry for what happened and that they had not understood the impact they were doing.

He pointed out, however, that it seemed to him The concept of the game through which packets of players are bought without knowing the content was immoral.

"Pay $ 50 for the game, which is already a good amount of money, but then the only way to have a great team is essentially at random," he said in reference to the game in line

"They spent $ 700 and they did not even get their favorite player, Lionel Messi."

FIFA video game owners, the EA publisher, refused to comment but provided a link that explains guidelines on how to control purchases that are made during the game and that can be viewed here. This varies depending on the platform or console that is being used.

How to activate the purchasing controls

Some devices are more complicated than others. Here is a short guide (most not complete):

– In Xbox One: Select the button with the Xbox symbol on the controller. Go to the Systems menu, then follow the route configuration / account / enter, security and password. Select "change my password", scroll right to "customize" and "request my passcode to shop".

– In Nintendo Switch: Start a session in the account for parents or guardians. Click on "Family group" and select each one of the supervised accounts in the family group that you want to administer restrictions. Select "restrict purchases in Nintento e-shop" to deactivate purchases and click "save changes."

– In iPhone or iPad: Turn on the "Screen Time" on the device. You need to create a code for separate parent or guardian access (Parent Passcode). Then go to Content and privacy restrictions and activate "content and privacy", go to iTunes and App Store Shopping and apply "Do not allow."

– In PS4: You must create a separate child account. The monthly purchase limit is automatically set to zero. Sony warns that it will not reimburse purchases made from adult accounts.

In 2018, the video game website Eurogamer published an interview with an adult FIFA player who discovered that he had spent $ 10,000 in two years.

He commented to the site that "it was simply not worth it."

A new report published by the Internet organization Matters found that 26% of 2,000 parents between 4 and 16 years of age who were interviewed expressed concern about the money your children spent on purchases in the game.

Executive Director Carolyn Bunting explained the importance of parents remembering to protect their game accounts with passwords or PIN numbers, as well as having frequent conversations with children about what is free and what costs money in a game.

"I am sure that most children do not want to find themselves in a situation where they have spent their parents' money on updates or, in this case, to new FIFA players," he said.

The controversial "booty box"

Last year, Belgium banned the sale of "booties" of video games: special characters or rewards that can be bought or acquired during game hours but the content can not be seen in advance.

This June, Kerry Hopkins, EA Vice President, told a committee of British MPs that these boxes were "very ethical and fun", comparing them with the toys that appear in the "Kinder Eggs" chocolate eggs Other consumer items that contain "surprises" inside.

"We believe that the way in which we have implemented this type of mechanics -and FIFA is naturally the main one- is really very ethical and very fun, people enjoy it a lot", he said.

About this, the BBC consulted Professor Andrew Przybylski, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, who said that more information is needed to evaluate the impact of shopping style "booty box".

"Loot boxes and shopping for applications are facing parents at A new frontier of challenges"He said.

"Although loot boxes seem like games of chance, we will not know their effects until these companies start sharing their data with independent scientists."

However, he concluded: "There is no good evidence that they are game of chance, but the simple fact that we do not have firm data should be cause for concern."

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