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How computer games encourage kids to spend cash



Like many children, Nara Ward’s boys love gaming

Nara Ward says keeping track of her kids’ spending when they are playing their favourite computer games is a full-time job.

Ms Ward lives in Barbados with her husband and sons, Finn, 14, and Leif, 12.

When Leif started playing Roblox, he began asking for robux – the game’s currency – that allows players to upgrade their character or buy virtual items. So his grandparents gave him $200 (£159) Apple credit for Christmas.

“To my shock, he spent all of it in a matter of days,” says Ms Ward. “After that, I gave him no more than $10 worth of robux per month. He quickly became frustrated and bored with the game.”


Leif moved on to World of Tanks, which also requires players to upgrade their weaponry using PlayStation credit.

“However, this game has the option to watch ads to gain credit,” says Ms Ward. “He would do that out of desperation when he had used up his monthly gaming allowance.”

Ms Ward says her younger son has yet to learn self-control or money-sense.

“It’s something that I have to police constantly.”

Nara WardNara Ward
Nara Ward has been shocked how quickly her sons can spend money in games

Rather than profiting from the initial sale of a video game, many of today’s gaming companies rely on revenue generated by in-game purchases, or microtransactions.

The content purchased can be purely aesthetic – dance moves, skins or clothing.

Alternatively, in-game purchases can provide a tactical advantage to the gameplay – extra lives, character upgrades or weapons – providing a lead over players who did not purchase the additional content.

The global online microtransaction market is forecast to grow from $67.94bn in 2022 to $76.66bn in 2023.

However, there are signs of a backlash from experts and consumers alike. Also, some companies are promising new releases that are in-game purchase-free.

Professor Sarah Mills, Loughborough UniversityProfessor Sarah Mills, Loughborough University
Prof Mills says that young people can feel ashamed at how much they spend in games

Gaming companies use behavioural psychology to manipulate users into spending, says Prof Sarah Mills, and the link between gaming and gambling is becoming “increasingly blurred”, she explains.

Ms Mills is professor of human geography at Loughborough University. Her research found gambling techniques make gamers play for longer and spend more money, and drive repeat buying.

Vicki Shotbolt, chief executive of Parent Zone, an organisation which helps parents navigate the digital world for their children, is more specific about how games incentivise players to part with their money.

By spending players can “avoid the grind” – where making an in-game purchase means you avoid hours of monotonous gaming to progress to another level.

“Fun pain” is where you risk losing something important if you don’t make a purchase.

Meanwhile, “obfuscation techniques”, like in-game currencies, make it hard to see how much you’re really spending.

Another tactic is the use of “loot boxes”. Players buy a box without knowing what’s inside. It could contain a game-changing item – but more often than not the prize is nothing more than a mediocre customisation.

“Young people recalled senses of shame when they reflected on the amount they spent trying to gain a rare item, even if they were successful,” says Prof Mills.

And – despite many children saying they dislike in-game purchasing – spending money on microtransactions has become an expectation.

While spending on games has risen, some argue that playing games can benefit young people and fears are exaggerated.

Gaming as a form of play has been found to relieve stress, help develop cognitive skills and combat loneliness.

Zhenghua Yang founder of Serenity ForgeZhenghua Yang founder of Serenity Forge
Zhenghua Yang says computer games can be beneficial to for young people

As a teenager Zhenghua Yang, from Colorado, spent two years in hospital.

“I played a lot of video games. The single-player games made me feel like a hero. The multiplayer games connected me to other people. I made life-long friends all over the world.”

In 2014, Mr Yang founded Serenity Forge, a gaming company on a mission to help others. To date, more than 20 million people have played the firm’s games.

“We are in the business of expanding people’s horizons,” says Mr Yang.

Serenity Forge does not use microtransactions but, says Mr Yang, that could change in the future if they found them to contribute to “meaningful, emotionally impactful games that challenge the way you think”.

The impact of microtransactions, says Mr Yang, depends on the vulnerability of the user.

“Like a credit card can be dangerous for someone in an inappropriate context, so too can microtransactions. However, credit cards can also serve an important function and in-game purchases can be important to a gamer engaging with their favourite game.”

Game from Serenity ForgeGame from Serenity Forge
Serenity Forge games do not use microtransactions – yet

Sarah Loya’s son Andrew, 14, spends almost all his pocket money on gaming but, she says, that isn’t a problem and gaming makes him happy.

“He plays daily, after school and on the weekends. I don’t really see much of a negative. He’s a smart kid and knows the difference between reality and fantasy.”

Ms Loya lives in Texas with Andrew, and his brother Rex, 6.

“My bank account is linked to Andrew’s subscription, so I would see if he purchased something without permission,” says the 43-year-old, “but he always asks me before making a purchase.”

While it can be difficult for parents to keep track of registered emails, passwords and payment cards across various platforms and devices – there are ways that you can protect your teen and your bank account.

Child accounts and parental controls can be used to disable purchases or set a spending limit. Parents can set up email notifications to flag purchases, and use gift cards rather than credit cards.

Perhaps most importantly, adds Mr Yang, talk to your child.

“In my experience, friction stems from a lack of parental presence,” he says. “I now have two kids and, instead of using games as a babysitting tool, I make sure I’m present in their lives as they consume media.”

Back in Barbados, Ms Ward has set up screen time limits and passcodes to keep Leif gaming safely.

“My password is needed to make any purchases and if he wants money added to his account he has to ask me. Microtransactions are annoying but this is a life lesson.”

  • If parents are worried about a young person struggling with gaming or potential gambling-related harms, please visit the Parent Hub website by YGAM (Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust) for support and resource.



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Apple prepares for game-changing WWDC 2023: Mixed reality headset and new features in the spotlight – HT Tech



It is anticipated that the next Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) would be one of Apple’s greatest events yet. Apple may eventually unveil its mixed reality headset after years of rumours and leaks, launching the company into a new product category and giving people a first glimpse at its effort to convince investors that virtual reality is worth investing in.

There will also undoubtedly be a lot more: operating system updates, new features and apps, and perhaps even new hardware. Details on how and when to watch the main WWDC keynote as well as some of the announcements we anticipate from Apple are gathered here.

As per The Verge, Apple has confirmed that this year’s main WWDC keynote is slated for Monday, June 5, at 1PM ET / 10AM PT. It will take place as a digital and in-person event at Apple Park in Cupertino, California, with Apple CEO Tim Cook expected to kick things off. You can view the full WWDC lineup here.


Apple will stream the WWDC keynote live from its website and YouTube channel. If you can’t watch the keynote live, you can always tune in to the prerecorded version Apple will post on YouTube after it airs.

With that said, let’s get into some of the biggest announcements that we expect Apple to make during WWDC.

Undoubtedly, Apple’s mixed reality headset is one of the most interesting new offerings in recent memory. Apple has yet to even confirm its existence, but rumours indicate that it will be able to deliver both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences.

Seemingly called the “Reality Pro,” the developer-focused headset is expected to take on a “ski goggle” look that comes with a physical dial that lets you tune in and out of virtual reality, according to The Verge

The headset will probably be a stand-alone unit with a battery pack that is connected to it by a special wire. It is said to have an M2 chip with 16GB of RAM as far as technical specifications go. According to supply chain analyst Ross Young, the gadget may include two 1.41-inch Micro OLED panels with 4,000 (ppi) each.

Young adds that the displays are capable of delivering over 5,000 nits of brightness and that users should be able to see 4K resolution in each eye, as per The Verge.

Apple has reportedly been working hard on creating VR versions of some of its native apps, including Safari, FaceTime, Apple TV, Apple Books, Freeform, and more, according to reports. Additionally, it can have a feature that let the headset work as an external display for your Mac. Apple’s headset is projected to cost roughly $3,000, so it won’t be cheap. We probably won’t see cheaper variants of the device at this year’s presentation, despite the fact that Apple is allegedly also working on them.

There have already been signs that Apple might be planning to reveal its “Reality Pro” headset at WWDC, as the company has sent out an invite to an editor at the VR-focused outlet UploadVR. Apple has also posted an AR teaser on its site, which shows a thin, film-like Apple logo with the date of WWDC wherever you point your iPhone or iPad’s camera.

According to The Verge, WWDC is an event for developers, which means we’re bound to see some updates to iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and more.

Premium products like an Apple whole new operating system, a new MacBook Air, and a mixed reality (MR) headset will be unveiled during the five-day developers’ event.

The keynote address by Apple CEO Tim Cook is the event’s high point for developers.

The event will begin on June 5 (Monday) at 10:30 p.m. (IST) for the Indian audience. June 9 marks the conclusion of the developer event. (ANI)

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Apple expected to unveil mixed-reality headset – DW (English)



Apple Inc. is widely expected to announce on Monday a new mixed-reality headgear at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in California. 

It would mark the tech giant’s most significant product launch since the 2015 Apple Watch release. 

The iPhone maker has so far limited augmented-reality efforts to technology that works on its existing devices. But it seems set to tap into the new generation of technology where real and digital worlds converge.


The highly anticipated headset will put Apple in competition with Facebook’s parent Meta, which has been working for years to push its parallel digital universe, or the “metaverse.” 

What we know about Apple’s ‘Reality Pro’ headset

According to media reports citing analysts, Apple is expected to spotlight a “Reality Pro” headset, with a price tag of around $3,000 and custom-made software for the gear that could resemble a pair of ski goggles. 

The goggles are expected to have a slick Apple-family design, paired with the capability of toggling between virtual or augmented reality, which is referred to as mixed reality or external reality (XR).

Is Apple’s mixed-reality headset coming soon?

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While hopes are high for Apple to boast surprising technology, the goggle’s high price could leave many eager fans disappointed. 

Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives estimated that Apple could sell just 150,000 units during the headset’s first year on the market — a low figure for a company that sells annually more than 200 million of its marquee product, the iPhone.

fb/sri (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Where’s the VR party at?

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‘Diablo 4’ Patch Notes Bring Fast Barbarian, Druid, Rogue Nerfs, Necro Buffs



It has been only a few days since the launch of Diablo 4, and while I knew that Blizzard was doing fast, reactive patches for the game, this is…a whole lot of balance changes to the game like 72 hours after launch. So much so that yeah, I’m thinking maybe they slow down a bit? It’s a lot.

My guess is some of this was sparked by the “world’s first” races to get to max level in the game, especially the hardcore race, and Blizzard believed some outlier skills were too strong. They also advertise some buffs in here, but it is overwhelmingly a good amount of nerfs. Here’s the list of changes to all classes:

BARBARIAN – Some pretty huge hits to Whirlwind Barbs, especially Gohr’s, which was creating a zillion explosions with activation and de-activation

  • Challenging Shout (Skill) – Damage Reduction gained from Skill Ranks reduced from 4% to 2%
  • Bold Chieftain’s Aspect – Cooldown reduction per Nearby enemy reduced from 2.7-5.4 seconds to 1.0-1.9 seconds. Maximum Cooldown reduction from 12 to 6 seconds.
  • Aspect of the Dire Whirlwind – Increased Critical Strike Chance per second reduced from 5-10% to 3-8%. Maximum Critical Strike Chance bonus reduced from 20-40% to 9-24%.
  • Gohr’s Devastating Grips (Unique Legendary) – Explosion damage gained from Whirlwind reduced from 50-70% to 16-26%. Damage against wreckable objects no longer increases explosion damage. Explosion damage is only increased by the first 100 hits of Whirlwind.

DRUID – This one is a mix of nerfs and buffs. Lightning-based builds in particular got a little bit of a buff, but there are definitely a lot of nerfs in here as well, which I’ve already seen some Druid players complaining about.

  • Pulverize (Skill) – Lucky Hit Chance reduced from 33% to 25%.
  • Lightning Storm (Skill) – Damage increased from 32% to 40%.
  • Grizzly Rage (Skill) – Damage bonus increased from 5/10/15% to 6/12/18%.
  • Obsidian Slam (Specialization) – Kills required for bonus increased from 10 to 20.
  • Calm Before the Storm (Specialization) – Lucky Hit Chance reduced from 15% to 10%.
  • Electric Shock (Passive) – Damage bonus increased from 5/10/15% to 6/12/18%.
  • Shockwave Aspect – Damage reduced from 90-130% to 60-100%.
  • Crashstone Aspect – Critical Strike Damage reduced from 40-50% to 30-40%.
  • Lightning Dancer’s Aspect – Flat damage increased from .5-.6 to .7-.8.

NECROMANCER – Out of all the classes, Necro actually got the most buffs by far. Most of these are focused on minion buffs including damage buffs to both skeletons and Golems, including a huge swing on an Iron Golem skill. I guess they were underperforming compared to the other classes a bit.

  • Blood Lance (Skill) – Damage increased from 67.5% to 80%.
  • Army of the Dead (Skill) – Damage increased from 30% to 45%. Cooldown reduced from 90 to 70 seconds.
  • Blood Wave (Skill) – Damage increased from 90% to 120%.
  • Shadowblight (Passive) – Damage increased from 20% to 22%.
  • Grim Harvest (Passive) – Essence gained reduced from 3/6/9 to 2/4/6.
  • Serration (Passive) – Critical Strike Chance reduced from .5/1/1.5% to .3/.6/.9%.
  • Death’s Defense (Passive) – Maximum Minion Life lost in a single damage instance reduced from 75/60/45% to 60/45/30%.
  • Raise Skeleton (Specialization) – Skeleton Warrior attack damage increased by 10%.
  • Golem (Specialization) – Golem attack damage increased by 10%.
  • Blood Golem (Specialization) – Blood Golem Life drain damage increased from 40% to 90%. Blood Golem Life drain healing from enemies hit increased from 4% to 5%.
  • Iron Golem (Specialization) – Iron Golem slam damage increased from 25% to 175%. Iron Golem shockwave damage increased from 30% to 40%.
  • Hulking Monstrosity (Paragon Board) – Golem Life and damage bonus increased from 30% to 40% Life.
  • Cult Leader (Paragon Board) – Golem Life and damage bonus increased from 30% to 40% Life.

ROGUE – A couple buffs here, but the main thing is the decimation of the extremely popular Twisting Blades build, which was already emerging as a strong favorite. Too strong for Blizzard’s taste, and it’s getting hammered pretty hard here.

  • Twisting Blades (Skill) – Advanced Twisting Blades Cooldown reduction per enemy hit reduced from .25 to .1 seconds. Advanced Twisting Blades maximum Cooldown reduction reduced from 3 to 2 seconds.
  • Rapid Fire (Skill) – Damage increased from 24% to 30%.
  • Dark Shroud (Skill) – Damage Reduction per shadow gained from Skill Ranks reduced from .8% to .4%.
  • Dash (Skill) – Enhanced Dash Critical Strike Damage bonus from 20% to 15%.
  • Caltrops (Skill) – Damage increased from 30% to 40%.
  • Concussive (Passive) – Critical Strike Chance reduced from 5/10/15% to 4/8/12%.
  • Repeating (Affix) – Maximum Minion Life lost in a single damage instance reduced from 75/60/45% to 60/45/30%.

SORCERER – Sorcerer was barely touched. Either they think it’s pretty balanced or they haven’t had much time to dig into its potential issues yet. But no destroyed builds via nerfs here.

  • Arc Lash (Skill) – Lucky Hit Chance reduced from 30% to 14%. Glinting Arc Lash Cooldown reduction reduced from .25 to .15 seconds.
  • Teleport (Skill) – Shimmering Teleport’s Damage Reduction duration reduced from 5 to 3 seconds.
  • Aspect of Control – Bonus damage reduced from 30-40% to 25-35%.

PARAGON BOARDS – There are some huge, overall changes to Paragon Boards, where Blizzard thought that Glyphs were way, way too strong so they are getting somewhat slaughtered:

  • Rare Nodes – Player Attack Speed nodes reduced by 50%.


  • All Glyph Bonus scaling has been reduced by ~34%, except for the following:
  • Critical Strike Damage Glyphs’ Bonus reduced by ~66%.
  • Vulnerable Glyphs’ Bonus reduced by ~66%.
  • Glyphs’ Bonus to Rare nodes reduced by ~50%.
  • Glyphs’ Bonus to Magic nodes reduced by ~40%.
  • Glyphs’ Bonus to Cold/Fire/Lightning/Non-Physical/Physical nodes reduced by ~62.5%.

Most players are probably not even touching the Glyph system yet, so this is super hardcore speed levelers and their super builds, but I know many are not happy.

So, too many nerfs too soon? I guess we’ll find out.



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