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PPMI and Verian kick off a behavioural study on marketing techniques used in games

7 May 2024

PPMI and Verian kick off a behavioural study on marketing techniques used in games

Since 2000 the gaming sector has undergone radical changes, including the development of mobile gaming, which has brought new business models and monetisation practices. These practices monetise fundamental gaming dynamics (e.g., socialising, status, functionalities, etc.) necessary to enjoy the games or continue playing and often target young people at an age when they are particularly vulnerable to overspending money or time on gaming. Understanding the different marketing practices and their impact on children is essential for effective child and consumer protective policy-making in the EU.

In this context, PPMI and Verian (lead) will conduct a ‘Behavioural study on marketing techniques used in games that adversely affect the purchasing behaviour of children’ for the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA). The study will investigate the impact of marketing strategies in games (purchasing skins, loot boxes, etc.) on 10-14-year-olds in-game spending and social-emotional well-being. The study will investigate:

  • how in-game marketing strategies encourage children to spend real or virtual money;
  • what the potential detrimental effects of these marketing strategies are, and
  • whether or not children are adequately informed about the actual monetary value of digital gaming items.

The study will help to fill knowledge gaps in children’s gaming patterns and generate evidence on the impact of monetisation practices on children’s economic behaviours, well-being and time spent on gaming. It will provide valuable and robust evidence of the detriment caused by problematic practices and support policymakers at the EU and MS levels in further navigating ways to improve consumer rights protection and the children’s rights.

To gather the evidence, PPMI and Verian will conduct a literature review, market data analysis, and at least five behavioural experiments with children in two different EU countries to understand how they respond to various marketing strategies.