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Reader Comments (37)

Posted: Sep 19th 2011 8:08AM Omali said

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I'm fine with it, but this is a free market and if Sony had kept the feature people would simply find a new free to play MMO to play.

Posted: Sep 19th 2011 8:11AM Vyris said

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As much as parents should do their own parenting. I'm well aware of the fact that the majority of parents DON'T do that. Especially in the United States where I live.
One one side of the argument, there's people with children who are responsible enough to game for longer periods of time and still maintain their productivity. The parents of these children may be outraged at this annoying feature. If that's the case, don't have your child make a "minor" account. The fact that such an account exists -implies- that there's limitations to it. As such, if you trust your kids that much, don't bother making such an account.
On the other side, some parents are so lousy at teaching their children restraint and some self-discipline to the point where they want everything else to be done for them so they won't have to do something challenging, like parenting. For them, such a feature is created.

No matter how hard you try, one party will be unhappy, for a bad reason, or a good reason. Usually a bad reason. It's impossible to satisfy everybody unless you make a ridiculous amount of options to sate -every- person's needs. As we know, that's way too many options.

I think once people stop taking things so seriously, and people decide to take care of their damn kids for once, maybe they'll start not caring about these stupid little devices that are put into games as a substitute for good parenting. It doesn't teach children anything, it just limits them and makes them pent-up and frustrated. It doesn't even get explained why breaks are important usually. So, it's almost a useless measure in most cases.

That's my two bits on the matter. Good article.

Posted: Sep 19th 2011 8:19AM DataShade said

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@Vyris
"I'm well aware of the fact that the majority of parents DON'T do that." Sorry to be trite, but: [Citation needed]

"On the other side, some parents are so lousy at teaching their children restraint and some self-discipline to the point where they want everything else to be done for them so they won't have to do something challenging, like parenting. For them, such a feature is created."
Don't be condescending. A vital stage of psychological development involves pushing the boundaries your parents set down. Rebellion *is* a phase, as long as the parent pushes back: you need to reinforce the superego.
Giving parents tools to do that is a good thing - as long as the parents actually have control over those tools, not Sony.
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Posted: Sep 19th 2011 8:31AM PanamaAlex said

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@Vyris At least here in the US, some parents like to blame video games for everything. So here is a video game company doing what parents say they want and this is what happens. So, what's the solution: Like you said, responsible parenting. Great article!!

Note: The parents upset over this aren't the same parents who blame video games for everything. I should point that out right now before there is any confusion.
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Posted: Sep 19th 2011 12:18PM rockman0 said

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@DataShade I love that idea. If Sony made the feature available for parents to turn on and off as they see fit, it would probably make a lot of people happy.

Kind of how Disney allows parents to enable "SafeChat (chatting with preset phrases) or disable it.
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Posted: Sep 20th 2011 2:30AM Vyris said

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@DataShade
I don't need to include a citation, I'm not making a research paper. I'm giving my opinion.

You're right. Parents should be given control. The only families that would use it are the ones who actually care.
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Posted: Sep 19th 2011 8:13AM (Unverified) said

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The Free Realms change honestly didn't bother me at all and I would have applauded them if they had stood by it. All that would have really happened though is that accounts would be changed to remove the minor tag and parents could once again continue to neglect them while they played for eight hours a day.

It's amazing honestly how little a parent might care until they are asked to care about their caring...

Posted: Sep 19th 2011 8:14AM DataShade said

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Features like that are fine if they're under the parents' control: if I can turn my daughter's XP gain on and off at will, then I'm OK with it, but if I'm paying Sony and *they* get to turn it on and off when *they* want, then I suppose I don't know what I'm paying for.

Posted: Sep 19th 2011 8:37AM Kyzgar said

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@DataShade

That's my opinion as well. As parents, if we're the ones paying, [game company name] should let us configure such a feature to our liking.
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Posted: Sep 19th 2011 8:49AM Chiren said

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@DataShade

What you (Datashade) said.
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Posted: Sep 19th 2011 8:28AM Strangeland said

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Its a great feature. Simply add it to the options in the parental controls that obviously a "minor" account implies, and allow the parents to either turn it off or on. And even better, let the parent set the exact fatigue schedule. (i.e. fatigue activates after 1 hour on weekdays and after 3 hours on weekends, etc...)

Posted: Sep 19th 2011 8:50AM Lucidus said

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@Strangeland Exactly. Sony's problem wasn't the feature itself, it was their implementation.
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Posted: Sep 19th 2011 8:30AM Dumac said

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Aren't we a wee bit optimistic that an unsupervised child will turn off the computer and go do something else when these limitations kick in? They'll just start playing another game. Useless crap. Not a substitute for parenting is an understatement.

Posted: Sep 19th 2011 8:42AM pcgneurotic said

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It was a good idea that SOE had, and a shame to see it go. Something like that is, as someone stated above, a tool, an extra help for parents. There was no reason to get all Constitutional about it. Perhaps if they had allowed parents to set their own time instead of just mandating 3 hours, it might have gone down better. But then again, smart kids would know how to change that, unless you passworded it.

*sigh* Someone always has to be affronted.

Posted: Sep 19th 2011 8:57AM Halldorr said

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I don't see the issue with it. They are giving parents a tool, the parent can use it or not.

Posted: Sep 19th 2011 9:04AM Bhagpuss said

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Why would SoE even bother to spend development time on a feature such as this? Presumably for the same reason other gaming companies have done it in the past, because they're concerned about potential litigation.

The idea that a feature like this could be "unintended", as the article above quotes SoE as claiming, is mind-boggling. Free Realms isn't a sentient entity capable of emergent behavior. Someone had to write the code and add it to the game. The timing may have been unintended but the feature itself can't have been.

Posted: Sep 19th 2011 9:09AM smartstep said

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Sure , I support it if it is parent who control if to turn on this feature or not.

Posted: Sep 19th 2011 9:11AM canex502 said

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Honestly I think you need a bit of both to help save and reverse the state of childhood obesity. I've played video games my whole life and didn't have a lot of restrictions, but then again I am fortunate enough to have awesome parents. However, if you make a minor account that requires a parents email. then have the company email those parents about the child's play hours. That way you're not restricting your own product directly, but you're allowing the parents to see just how many hours their child says they play versus how many they actually play. Balance is key.

Posted: Sep 19th 2011 9:11AM Manistine said

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It's a good feature to offer for parents to use but a game shouldn't decide on the limits or do it automatically. If a game wants to add those features maybe a little more effort to inform the parents about it might help for those that don't know a lot about it. If the parents aren't doing their job the kid will just find another way to play so it isn't really going to matter if the game tries to stop them.

Posted: Sep 19th 2011 9:12AM Irem said

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I don't have a problem with tools like this when they allow parents to set the time limit and make it optional. Whether or not it's a good thing, I take issue with developers trying to set mandatory limits. I know they're in the business of applied sociology to a certain extent, but some of them don't need much encouragement to go overboard with it and start acting as though players in general need strict guidelines to play the game the way it's "meant" to be played.


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