Cost of staying alive

Cost of staying alive

Students addicted to mobile phone games are splashing out hundreds of dollars on add-ons to play longer


News phone costs_L
Photo: AFP
While most students play games on their mobile phones, some are spending hundreds of dollars to enhance the game, recent research shows.

The Hong Kong Computer Society (HKCS) Youth Club recently surveyed 529 students about their smartphone habits. They found 478 respondents - or 90 per cent - used a smartphone. Half of these owners also used their devices to play games.

But what is worrying is the amount of money students have wasted on app games in the past three months. Out of the 47 students who have bought bonus items for an app game recently, eight spent more than HK$1,000.

Michael Leung, president of HKCS, said: "Currently, most popular apps will lure students to play by offering free downloads, then charge for in-app items or functions, such as virtual props or a 'sorcerer's stone' to prolong life."

One of the most popular games is Puzzle & Dragons, developed by Japanese gaming company GungHo Online Entertainment. The game is free to play, but if users want to obtain certain extra items, they have to pay to increase their odds.

"Once they are addicted to the game, players will spend a lot of money on extras without really realising it," Leung added.

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