Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Getting kids addicted to gambling?

As most of you know Pico was down for a very long period of unscheduled maintenance yesterday. Today, there's a whole new layer to playing games. Nice of them to let us know that the big "lights out" was coming. There's a bug now that has the entire area closed for the time being.

The new function involves the gaming rooms - Match Card, Reversi, Pirates RPS and Math Battle. This does not apply to the casino.

Gummies gauge to enter game rooms
You must now gain 100 Gummies each day to get into the gaming area. The Gummies gauge has returned to the top right of your game screen. This let's you track your progress - gaining props, rings and food points. Once it's full (all pink) you can enter any of the four game rooms. Once you get there you can now wager with your opponent.

Is there anyone else who thinks that encouraging gambling in a social media community that is primarily used by girls aged 9-17 is ... just ... wrong? As if the casino wasn't enough.

Read more about it (ignore Ameba's obvious poor spelling):
New Gacha and GM Cashier bots
The game room layout is a little different.

Each room now has a new Gacha machine (3,000 Gummies/spin) and a GM Cashier robot. Yes, Ameba wants you to actually buy Gummies to gamble. In case your gambling addiction takes your balance to zero.

There are non-betting rooms within each game for people who still want to play for fun.

Do you think it's reasonable to charge several thousand Gummies for a spin at Gacha or to even charge AG to buy Gummies?

Wager display
With the news changes, when you play Match Card, Reversi, Janken or Math Battle the amount currently being bet shows at the bottom of the game station.

Game ranking
To add even more competition to the game, there's now a player ranking. You can see how your scores match up with your fellow Picos.

User agreement
With these changes, there are user terms that you must agree to in order to play. The first time you enter the GM Gacha area the information will pop up and you are given the option of agreeing. It requires players to be over 13 to enter the area. As we already know with the casino - which requires players to be 18 and older to play - this is not really much of a safeguard.

Silly little things
As well as promoting gambling habits to minors, there are a few little - pretty much completely unnecessary - changes to the game that I noticed.
  • The 'Travel' button is now called 'Navi', short for navigation
  • Pirates RPS (rock, paper, scissors) is now called 'Janken' - the Japanese word for the game. 

My thoughts
Personally, I think this is all a waste of time. Not to be an obviously shallow way to get players to spend AG money on free Gummies. I think Ameba could spend their time developing and adding more interesting things to Pico.

I'd rather have fishing. What about you?


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