It seems like everyone in the world enjoys playing games from time to time. For users of mobile devices like Android-powered or Apple iOS smartphones and tablets, as well as gamers using Facebook, we can now play games on the go. The best part, however, is that many of these games are free. Why is it, then, that some of these free games are some of the highest grossing applications? The answer is in-game purchases. While downloading and playing the game in its simplest form may not require any purchases, there tend to be options to buy things like in-game coins, stars, gems, or whatever it is that you can use to get ahead in the game. Some games even have a kind of glass ceiling that, once you reach it, you cannot move forward without purchasing additional content. Once you have used them up, they must be replaced to continue playing, and this all costs your hard-earned money in real life.
While most people might ignore these in-game purchase opportunities, some fall victim to a very real kind of addiction. When every goal accomplished creates real-world satisfaction (producing the same mood-boosting hormones as are produced when you get a raise, for instance), the idea of spending a few dollars here and there to feel successful becomes alluring. Less than 1% of the people who play these games spend any money on them, but those who do make up more than 99% of the total revenue. It comes as no surprise that there are people who have gone into debt because of video game addiction, and can also cause introversion or antisocial behavior. This problem should be taken seriously. If you or someone you know has an addiction to these video games, find a psychologist or contact an organization meant to help.