- Famous Youtuber Pewdiepie advertises Blockchain-based game Wallem.
- The app gamifies cryptocurrency mining and spending.
- Players are rewarded with Pteria, which can be exchanged for access to events.
Pewdiepie backs blockchain game.
On October 30th, Youtube’s number one gaming channel Pewdiepie released a video titled ‘The Ultimate Among us Imposter Duo.’ The video was standard fare for the channel – featuring video footage of the hit game Among Us, popular with children of ages nine and above, with commentary by the man behind the channel – Felix Kjellberg. However, there was an unusual addition to the video, sponsorship from an app called Wallem. The seemingly innocuous app with gameplay similar to 2016 hit Pokemon Go allows players to collect coins to be exchanged for avatar skins and access to events. However, Kjellberg fails to mention that this currency is Pteria – a legitimate cryptocurrency. The app also supports Ethereum and Bitcoin.
So, is Wallem a game that may have a large appeal to children or a wallet for adult investors? The app advertises itself as both. The majority of gameplay sees players mining for Pteria coins by walking around the local area and catching coins, again very similar in style to Pokémon Go. The amount of currency mined is limited per day, but users can buy extra coins in exchange for physical currencies. The player can then spend their hard-earned coins on skins and to access events where there is potential to earn big prizes and discounts from high fashion brands like Armani and Versace to children’s brands such as Fortnite and WWE. Wallem claims their brand is good for everyone – pushing consumers to exercise and allowing brands to flourish.
‘Wallem is a platform that helps users keep in shape by walking around in search of products in a competitive and profitable environment… The new frontier of smart e-commerce has arrived.’
With the app featuring products aimed at children and teens and the lack of any real age restriction, ethical questions must be raised about the appropriateness of allowing children to enter into the investment arena. Previous scandals in online gaming have seen accusations and companies and individuals pushing children into gambling.
Parents Zone: Rip off games report.
‘Our research found multiple ways in which young gamers are encouraged to maximize their spending – from gambling-like offers that are opaque about the odds of winning desirable items, to impenetrable pricing models that make it difficult for players to assess the true value, in real-world currency, of their in-game purchases.’
Similarly, here, an uncomfortable mix of spending and addictive gameplay takes place. In the case of buying extra currency, the game does not provide a like-for-like conversion, adding an extra fare of around 30 cents (USD) to the transaction for the purchase of 0.23 PTE – i.e., the small pack. Alongside this, when entering events, the entry prices may be low, but the odds of victory are extremely unclear – depending heavily on the number of competitors and required achievements.
The integration of cryptocurrency into gaming and gambling is clear and even has benefits in terms of protecting the consumer. But while some will have the opportunity to succeed, it’s also undeniable that other players will fail and make financial losses. With the clear backing of Pewdiepie, it’s highly likely that a large portion of the audience for this game will be under the age of 18.