So, How Many Video Games Can I Get For This Baby?

Chinese couple A Hui and A Mei have been arrested after selling both of their children to human traffickers to feed their "freemium" game addiction.

Chinese couple A Hui and A Mei bonded over their love of online "freemium" games and would spend all night in internet cafes. Eventually they welcomed their first child, a baby boy.  But having a child didn't stop them from playing their games and purchasing in-game upgrades and soon after his birth they realized that they couldn't afford to take care of the child and continue to play their games, so they did the only sensible thing that they could think of-- they sold their child.

No, I did not mean they put their baby up for adoption.  I mean they sold him to human traffickers for about 20,000 Chinese yuan, or about $3,225. For extra gems and weapons...

Aw man, I could buy like 650 of these with my baby!

Soon after they became pregnant again and faced the same dilemma-- do we support our child, or our gaming? So after the child, another baby boy, was born they sold him again to traffickers.

A Hui's father realized what was happening--most likely when his grandchildren started disappearing--and alerted the authorities.  The couple is currently behind bars awaiting trial.

From behind bars A Mei told reporters that her boyfried A Hui  "likes buying items in online games, and he likes staying out all night at internet cafes"

As upsetting as this is--so upsetting that there is a petition around the internet to denounce the two for their acts-- this is not the first time something like this has happened. In 2011, Chinese couple Li Lin and Li Juan sold all three of their children to human traffickers.  In 2009 the two had a daughter, their second child, and decided to try and sell her, receiving about $500 for her.  They later sold both of their sons for about $4600.  When they were arrested after their mother notified the authorities, they claimed that they didn't realize that it was illegal to sell their children and that they "don't want to raise them, (they) just want to sell them for some money."

This incident with A Hui and A Mei comes after the 14-year ban on video game consoles was finally lifted at the beginning of the year, but perhaps there needs to be a greater restriction on what happens at internet cafes all together.

And perhaps some people just should just be more careful so that they don't have children all together. 

Published Jul. 15th 2014
View Comments
  • Spyke_3447
    A lot of Micro-Transations are literally based on manipulative psychological practices which are KNOWN to condition compulsive behavior... so... no, folks are not going to go out and sell their baby's en masse. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be looking to adding in stiffer regulation in regards to what is acceptable in "freemium" models and how that lack of regulation has caused games markets to literally become flooded with games that utilize these often exploitative methods to make money.

    These two are clearly mentally ill, but that doesn't for one single solitary second, mean that they're the only ones to blame for this mess. There is a clear cut lack of responsibility on the parts of these companies to avoid nurturing compulsive behavior in the pursuit of the all powerful buck, they need to start treating these freemium titles as online casino's etc. Because a lot of their basis are coming from that area of manipulative psychology.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    As a gaming parent, I find this so disturbing. Some humans make me sad.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Microtransactions operate on the same principles as gambling and casinos, so yeah, they can be horribly addictive.

    But nobody is forced to partake. We're all responsible for our own actions.
  • topher339
    So, they don't want kids but keep having them... They spend hundreds on games but can't spend a bit on birth control.... What?!? I just don't get it.
  • Krystina Butler
    Senior Intern
    Honestly, I can't say that I fully understand it either. In both cases the couple were both under 21, so they were very young. But it still doesn't make much sense. Especially with how apparently easy it is to obtain birth control in China
  • topher339
    Between ease of obtaining birth control and the birth control laws I see no logical reason whatsoever for their choice except for the profit. Even then, going through pregnancy and birth twice for a couple thousand doesn't seem worth it. People just get don't make sense any more.
  • Chai Chien Liang
    Wow, this gives a new meaning to f2p (family to play) I wonder who is buying these babies with China's strict birth control laws though...
  • Krystina Butler
    Senior Intern
    human traffickers. In China they're pretty much purchasing babies on the black market and selling them to adoption agencies and what not. It's sad.
  • Chris_Lemus
    Featured Correspondent
    Finally, a legit and good argument against micro transactions *sarcasm*
  • Zachary Welter
    Featured Contributor
    It's an argument against Mictrotransactions in the same way that shootings by crazy people are arguments against videogames, or overdoses are an argument against recreational drugs.

    Meaning, it's not. Mentally unstable people are mentally unstable. Period.
  • Chris_Lemus
    Featured Correspondent
    It was sarcasm. I edited it back into my post.
  • Krystina Butler
    Senior Intern
    I personally didn't really mean for this to be an argument against microtransactions. I just thought it was crazy that someone would sell their children for a free-to-play game. The simple fact that it has to do with microtransactions is just an added craziness.

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