An open letter to Tim Sweeney

Subject: An open letter to Tim Sweeney
From: David Maciel
Date: 6 Jan 2020

An Open Letter to
Tim Sweeney

Picture this your 6 year old cousin is on your fortnite account because let's face it;that's the only thing that you can do so that he stops annoying you about the newest fortnite skins. Then you leave him by himself in your room with no supervision at all, just completely by himself, all alone secluded. Then he decides to go to the item shop and he buys v-bucks then he buys some more then he buys even more v-bucks. After all of these transactions, he had bought all of these v-bucks and spent around 100+ dollars on your account. You see a lot of parents and siblings face problems like this when games heavily feature microtransactions and loot boxes, games such as Fifa, Fortnite, Red Dead Redemption 2, Overwatch, the Call of Duty franchise, and many more other games.
If this situation doesn’t directly apply to you then imagine this, In a hypothetical situation let’s say that you paid $60 bucks for a triple-A game in this situation let’s call this game Battlefront 2 and let's say the publisher for this game is called something like EA. After the game is done downloading you play it but then you notice something, the characters that you bought the game are locked behind loot boxes and microtransactions because you are an adult and you have a job that provides you with money you decide to buy some loot boxes just to see if you can get the character that you want, when you are done opening the loot boxes you didn’t get the character so what do you do you buy some more, then some more, then more and more until you noticed that you’ve spent more money on the game than you did buying the game itself.
The thing is you’re an adult you can stop anytime but for kids the act of buying something with a random chance of it having something special and it having bright colors popping up on the screen with a bunch of animations is addicting to children and in this open letter to why this hasn’t changed in gaming and why it probably won’t anytime soon. There are many childrens toys that act, have the same appeal, and have the same marketing as loot boxes. Toys such as LOL dolls are like loot boxes because they have bright colors and make children want to buy more and more. If you are a parent and go shopping with your children you know what I am talking about. Wherever you go to the toy aisle your child always wants a toy that are similar to loot boxes. The toys that are in a protective plastic so that you don’t know which one you will get, it has pictures on the back of them to see which one you got, it says collect them all, and it shows that the toy you pulled out was 2/10. Toys like, kinder eggs, L.O.L dolls, L.O.L surprise dolls, hatchimals, and Ryan's World surprise egg.

Why is this a big deal because a lot of people my age play quite a lot of video games and because they have a little sibling that plays video games as well as a lot of little cousins that play video games that feature microtransactions and I fear that if games still implement things such as loot boxes and microtransactions that they’ll spend a great deal of money on those one games rather than branching out and buy new games. The exact problem is that many games include microtransactions and those games that feature those are played by many children and the main reason why its a problem is because its too easy for kids to be able to spend money on games that heavily feature microtransactions. The people that need to change this are game publishers that publish these games that feature microtransactions. The main reason why change hasn’t happened yet is because this is a big way that game publishers make money just last year Epic Games $209 million dollars just this year alone off of the game Fortnite and this is surprising not only because but because Fortnite is a free to play game and the way they made the money was on microtransactions alone. A reason why kids should branch out to different games and not keep on spending their money on one game is because there are so many different types of games that anyone could play. There's shooters, rpgs, puzzle games, sports games, looter shooters, strategy games, and much more. If kids always play one game over and over again, then he's gonna miss out on some really great games with amazing stories.

As I said before I have a brother that plays games such as Fortnite and because he plays Fortnite almost religiously at this point he spends money on skins and the battle pass. I often hear him asking my parents whether they could take him to Target or Gamestop just so that he can get a gift card so that he could buy v-bucks. With my brother spending money on Fortnite as well as millions of other kids and players of Fortnite this gives Epic millions of dollars. According to an article by CNBC called The real reason Epic landed a $15 billion valuation is not Fortnite’s viral video game success it states that “Epic Games is now valued at about $15 billion.” A year before Fortnite was released in 2017 Epic Games was valued around $8 billion this means that within 3 years Epic Games has made about 7 billion dollars from Fortnite which is a free to play game and the way they made 7 billion dollars is from the microtransactions in the game. This isn’t the only event where game developers are making loads of money on a game. An incident in 2019 a 22 year old that has cerebral palsy, complex epilepsy, autism, learning difficulties, and cognitive ability of a seven year old had spent £3,160.58 ($4,089.29)on the mobile game “Hidden Artifact.”

What will happen if there isn’t change then that would mean that little kids would spend more and more money on games. I realize that microtransactions are a big way that game companies make money and so what I'm asking is that for you to make a feature that stops of limits kids spending so much money on a video game. No one feels good for making a little kid waste his money on things, I mean, would you feel good about it? If you do make change the best thing that could happen is that you would help little kids not waste so much money on video games. A possible solution for this is for game companies such as EA, Bethesda, Epic, and others is to make the item shop restricted for some of the plays. Such as if a kid plays on his parents account there should be a setting that restricts them from spending money or going to to the item shop.

David Maciel