Hidden costs of free-to-play games

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The computer and smartphone gaming business is booming. Many of the games are available for free, but in-game purchases generate a steady flow of money anyway.

When gamers buy extra features, expansion packs or game statuses, these are known as 'in-game purchases'. The game itself may be free-to-play, but gamers can progress much faster and easier if they acquire virtual currency, weapons, vehicles or avatars. Last year in Germany alone, free-to-play games made some 659 Mmillion euros from such virtual extras.