New klicksafe quiz for young peopleIn-Game Purchases - An Expensive Game Fun

Minecraft, Fortnite, Roblox - digital games are firmly anchored in the everyday media lives of children and young people. The selection of games is huge. Free-to-play games in particular are popular with adolescents. A look at the principle of in-game purchases shows that free games can quickly become a cost trap. Young people from the klicksafe Youth Panel and the Youth Panel from Austria have created an interactive quiz on this very topic. The quiz is now available to play at the computer and video games trade fair Gamescom in Cologne.

How do in-game purchases work?

In the past, providers of computer and console games earned their money by selling the game once. Nowadays, the situation is different with many mobile games that are offered free of charge as "free-to-play". Here, the game providers earn money through advertising and so-called in-game purchases. In-game purchases refer to all purchases that are made directly in the game during play. This usually involves additional content that is only unlocked through a purchase.

Examples of in-game purchases:

  • Virtual currencies: Many games have their own in-game currencies, such as Robux in Roblox or Minecraft Coins in Minecraft. Players can purchase these with just a few clicks and real money via the app store. They can then be used to purchase characters, skills and equipment (e.g. weapons, clothing) in the game.
  • Pay-to-win: This is the name given to a game principle in which you can achieve success more quickly if you pay for something. The games are designed in such a way that it is very difficult to achieve a goal without spending money. However, it is quicker and easier with money.
  • Loot boxes: Loot boxes can be compared to surprise eggs. In games, loot boxes are often boxes or treasure chests containing virtual items. You only know whether you can actually use the items inside once you have bought them.

Tip: In-game calculator from Sparkasse

What do we really pay when we spend 200 V-Bucks, 500 Robux or 1000 FC Points? The in-game calculator from Sparkasse shows the actual prices in euros and thus protects us from cost traps. The calculator is also available as a browser extension and as an app for mobile devices.

Risks from in-game purchases

In-game purchases can quickly become a cost trap, especially for children and young people, and encourage excessive use. In a report by, manipulative game designs of free-to-play apps, so-called dark patterns, were examined in more detail. The possibility of in-game purchases is one of the so-called money patterns. During the course of the game, players are regularly offered additional content for a fee in order to maintain or increase the fun of the game. The main problem here is virtual currencies, for which there is usually no fixed exchange rate. The currencies are often sold in packages. With fantasy currencies,players quicklyget the feeling that they are not spending any real money.

Quiz for children and teenagers on in-game purchases

With our new quiz on the topic of "in-game purchases", we bring children and young people closer to the problem of costs in games.For example, they learn how to protect themselves from uncontrolled spending. The quiz was developed by our klicksafe Youth Panel in cooperation with the Panel from Austria . In several online meetings, young people from both countries exchanged views on various topics related to their everyday media lives. This gave rise to the idea of developing a joint quiz on the topic of in-game purchases.

The quiz can also be played in school lessons or together with parents to approach the topic together and discuss possible courses of action.

About supports above all children, young people, parents and teachers in the safe, competent and responsible use of digital media. The initiative is implemented by the European Union within the program Digital Europe (DIGITAL) ., together with the Stopline (report office against child pornography and national socialist re-activation) and 147 Rat auf Draht (telephone help for children, young people and their caregivers) the "Safer Internet Centre Austria". is our Austrian partner in the Safer Internet Network of the EU (Insafe).