Somehow I don’t think this is the best example to bring up when arguing that women play videogames, maybe. Something about casting dedicated female gamers as unsupervised children willing to commit crimes to prolong their gaming addiction, maybe? One kid not really being a “population” of female gamers from either a representative or strictly money making standpoint?
Hmm. There might be something to that…
But in the meantime, if not for security cameras, this ten year old would have gotten away with a lot of virtual goods.
If gaming culture in China, South Korea, and Japan have a notable difference from American and European gaming culture (and there isn’t just one) it’s that the idea of games that function primarily on “microtransactions” are far, far more widespread and accepted in “mainstream” gaming. Sure, we’ve got free to play games that run by charging for digital items like virtual weapons, upgrades, and even furniture and clothing, but they’re not well accepted by adult gamers, and companies that attempt to introduce microtransactions into games to which they are not usually included are often accused of “nickel and diming” their fans, or of deliberately not packaging finished content with a game’s initial release and instead charging extra for it after it comes out. Not so much in the Asian market, where MMORPGs regularly run on this model, and South Korea institutes a video gaming curfew for children of school age.
But I digress: Ah Hong (not her real name) is a 10-year old girl of Quangang, China, who found an open and unattended cash register at a cellphone shop near her house too tempting to resist, and grabbed 10,300 yuan, or about $1620. At the end of the day, upon finding the absence of the money, clerks phoned the police and looked over the security tapes, when store employees recognized her as one of their customers from earlier in the day, when she’d returned to use some of the stolen money to buy virtual currency. From Kotaku:
Ah Hong, was apparently stealing money from the cell phone store to purchase Q coins. Q coins are a form of digital currency used by Tencent. The coins can be used from buying add ons for avatars, stickers and digital furniture for homepages, to buying in game items for Tencent published games (most notably games that are related to the QQ Chat client).
Police visited her home, found the money, and returned it. Her age kept her from the ramifications of any legal charges, but according to The People’s Daily her grandparents were instructed by police to make sure she was punished.