Topic 5: Reflection.

This week’s topic has been one of the most eye opening ones so far as it has given some people an opportunity to share what they are passionate about. This week I chose to talk about gaming and how essentially making a game free is beneficial for the majority in most cases.

It was interesting to have been able to involve a bit of Psychology in this week’s discussion within my post and the discussions I’ve had with my colleagues in the comments. A lot of people (including myself) tend to lose grasp on how big some business companies are (especially gaming). The business models they implement are meant to work in their favour one way or another. In the case of Free-to-Play, games like League of Legends (LoL) make full use of “Psychological loop-holes” – Jess and I talked a little bit about competitiveness and how it gives people drive to spend.

Calum and I also had a lengthy discussion about the differences between the two models (Free-to-Play and Pay-to-Play) and analysed how each have worked well within different segments of the gaming industry. Some games will only work with certain business models … apart from the ones released by established gaming companies. Some of them have really just made themselves dominant in the industry that they can do whatever they want.

The responses to my comments I made on both Andy’s and Freya’s blog posts ties well with what I can conclude in this week’s topic. Producers, gaming companies and journal article authors alike, have the right to be selfish and shouldn’t receive criticism when decisions are made to benefit them financially. However, as consumers, we have the power to influence their decisions by being in the middle of the supply and demand chain.

Supply and Demand by thecitizen-dv.

References:

Supply and Demand by thecitizen-dv

My comment on Andy’s blog

My comment on Freya’s blog

Calum and I discuss about F2P

Jess and I talk a little bit about Psychology and consumers

Free-To-Play-To-Win

This week’s topic focuses around the perks and costs having your content made available for free online. I will be primarily using online gaming as an example by shedding light on the concept of Free-to-Play.

Free-to-Play (F2P) is a relatively new model adopted by the gaming industry where basically gamers are allowed to play the game without having to pay. How do the game creators make money? Through purchasable in-game perks. You may have seen this concept in Facebook games where you can buy in-game currencies such as coins. Traditionally games have been Pay-to-Play, which how most games are still nowadays such as console games XBOX, PS4 and Wii. However recently F2P games have dominated the gaming industry through games such as League of Legends and DOTA 2.

The Good:

High Exposure

The fact that you have nothing to lose but time spent by giving a free game a try gives F2P games the edge. The model creates an exponential chain of people giving the game a try which lets other people know about it. To put it simply:

People try the game -> they let other people know about it -> more people try the game -> even more people will know about it.

Higher Potential Revenue

This straw poll created by a curious League of Legends player asked other players how much they’ve spent on the game (RP is the in-game currency used in League of Legends).

How is this business model so successful? The video below gives some insight into this matter:

Less Likely To Be Pirated

Who would want to get a pirated version of a free game?

The Bad:

Pay To Win

F2P games that involve buyable in-game perks that give gamers significant advantages over other gamers can potentially ruin the experience. This issue is similar to a lot of major sports in the world today where the team that has the most money will eventually be more successful. However, gaming companies have recently recognised this issue and are beginning to rectify it.

Arguably Unethical

There will always be a small minority of people who would fall into the trap of not knowing when to stop spending money on anything period. Gamers are not an exception and as F2P allows gamers to ‘spend as much as they want’, it can easily turn out to be ‘spend as much as they have‘.

References:

Straw Poll: How much League of Legends players spend on the game

Riot Games’ League of Legends Becomes Most Played PC Game In The World

Why Spend Money on a Free Game? – GameSpot

World Of Tanks Pay-to-Win

How YOU can get scammed and GET SIX PACKS at the same time!

The tools that humans possess require an amount of responsibility to protect oneself and others involved from being harmed in any manner possible. The internet and social media in particular are no exception and there are many reasons why one should act responsibly. This has been addressed in blog posts from previous topics such as preventing yourself from being in your future employer’s “‘reject’ pile” (Andy Sugden, 2014).

A blog post by Dr. Jim Barry addresses the ethical issues faced in today’s social media marketing. One of the issues Dr. Barry mentions is Invasion of Privacy. This issue is synonymous with being anonymous on the internet which I highlighted in my previous blog post. Before the introduction of AdBlock, surfing the web was honestly a pain. Here’s what I see on Facebook now with AdBlock paused:

Untitled
Adverts on Facebook

I had quit playing video games over the summer and I have not bought my own box of cigarettes in almost a year (was a pack a week smoker, now barely one in a month). These advertisements were tailored to match my previous addictions and without AdBlock I would’ve gone back to my old habits. Despite the annoyance, one issue that significantly troubles me the most personally are scams.

Mike Chang’s Six Pack Shortcut is one of the most popular fitness channels on youtube but it is one of the most controversial as well. His methods have been labelled as being dishonest and misleading by the use of click-bait headlines and exaggerated health facts. What a lot of people are not happy about is the fact that he is selling information that is already free. Other popular youtube fitness channels have called out on Mike Chang’s business as a scam. Some have done so professionally while others … not so much.

Omar Isuf (deleted video)
Omar Isuf (video deleted from his channel)
Jonnie Candito with an in-depth explanation
Jonnie Candito with an in-depth explanation

Having been studying Psychology for the past half decade the harm marketing scams can do are extremely underestimated. Disappointment leads to a drop in general well-being such as self-esteem and over all happiness (in extreme cases depression) and even more so for people who already are low in self-esteem (e.g. 16 year old underweight me).

References:

An Authentic, Professional Online Profile – Andy Sugden

7 Ethical Dilemmas Faced in Social Media Marketing – Dr. Jim Barry

Anonymity: one of the most powerful inventions – Din Jaya

My Transformation & How YOU Can Get Abs – Mike Chang

Why Mike Chang of Sixpackshortcuts SUCKS – Omar Isuf

The Home Workout Scam – Jonnie Candito

Expectation, Disappointment and Sadness – Mary C. Lamia

Anonymity: one of the most powerful inventions.

For users of 4chan, August 31st 2014 comes down as one of the most controversial internet events in history. The Fappening, is the hacking of over 200 private photos of celebrities. The hacks were confirmed to have been aimed towards Apple’s cloud services or better known as iCloud. This event stirred a lot of debate towards internet security. What could have been different to stop this from being ever happened?

Two factors came into play that made the hacking possible – the alleged compromising of Apple’s database and the victim’s account information. Having multiple online identities and particularly an anonymous one is a growing trend in the digital world. It would be naive to think that the hackers wouldn’t find another way to obtain the images had the account informations been anonymous or under pseudonyms, but it would’ve surely decreased the risks.

On the other hand, it can be argued that anonymity gave the hackers power in the first place. By hiding behind several layers of proxy servers, they were able to perform the attacks with confidence. Anonymity, in the hands of the wrong people, is evidently dangerous.

“As soon as you log into a Gmail account, you start getting ads for the drug rehab you want to forget. If you’re in a real-name environment, such as Facebook, unless you actually physically change your name and your friends, you’re thrown right back into your old life.”

– Andrew Lewman, Executive Director of the Tor Project.

Lewman makes a revealing point that I can personally relate to. Online gaming was a big part of my life growing up and as cliché as it may sound it served as a place to find myself. In the real world, I was an awkward 15 year old with low self esteem, in game, I was someone else. Separating my real self from my online persona gave me liberty to shape the person I am today.

Contrary to popular beliefs, the digital world is slowly dialling down the need for having multiple online identities. Convenience is as important to a lot of people as is anonymity. Knowing I can share almost literally all on Facebook is a big plus.

Having an online identity that is consistent is extremely beneficial when you are trying to make a name for yourself. In gaming alone, people can now stream themselves playing video games live on websites such as twitch. Having a consistent and recognizable persona on the streams is extremely important in attracting viewers.

Having multiple online identities gives the user the sense of power, control and liberty. Unfortunately, anyone can have them.

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

– Uncle Ben from The Spiderman.

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Having multiple online identities is easy. Here are just a couple of mine.
Having multiple online identities is easy. Here are just a couple of mine.

References:

The Fappening – http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/01/naked-celebrity-hack-icloud-backup-jennifer-lawrence

TJX Hacker Gets 20 Years in Prison – http://www.wired.com/2010/03/tjx-sentencing/

Authenticity vs Anonymity – http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/19/online-identity-authenticity-anonymity

7 Steps To Building Your Online Identity – jetsetshow – http://youtu.be/2UlcOX1fZW4