What up Stan the Man,

I’m not too much into video games but I use play Madden NFL and Call of Duty for the Xbox 360 back in college. I own an Xbox One that I hardly use as I’m too busy with work and raising a family (I got two boys). My boys play it more than me but I limit what games they can play for how long each weekend. That has all changed because of the pandemic and I was thinking about getting some new games. I was thinking about getting the new Madden or UFC game so I could enjoy them with my kids. Are they worth getting?

Thank You for Your Time,
Mike A.

Ask Stan: I’m not a father Mike but if I were one, I would never let my kids play most sports games that are released today. Most sports game franchises have become notorious for having a “pay to win” system. They are packed with exploitative monetization practices. This in the form of loot boxes and obnoxious microtransactions (you pay extra on top of the price for the base game). Games like Madden NFL and the NBA 2K series are notorious for this.

Making it worse is that the game will try to pressure players into paying for the loot boxes and microtransactions. Because of these practices, loot boxes are being investigated by governments around the world. Several nations have already branded them as a form of gambling. The industry will deny that loot boxes are gambling, but a trailer for NBA 2K20 begs to differ (watch this take by YongYea to get an idea).

This issue is not exclusive to sports games and you will need to do some research before buying a game for your kids. Thankfully not all sports games participate in this scummy practice like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2.

Ask Stan is a weekly advice column that will answer questions anyone has about gaming, anime, cosplay, conventions and more. You may submit your question and it will be published here (if selected).

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