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  • In-App Purchases in iOS and Android Games Being Investigated by UK Government


    In-app purchases are a popular way for developers to generate revenue off games and apps in the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store but now, a governmental department in the U.K. is looking into whether developers are misleading children into making these payments. The investigation has come into play after several reported cases of children making large amounts of in-app payments without realizing what they were doing.

    According to BBC News, the U.K.’s Office of Fair Trading is launching an investigation into the practices underpinning in-app purchases in games targeting children. The office is requesting input from parents that have seen games aggressively pushing in-game purchases and putting “pressure” on children. Senior Director for Goods and Consumer at OFT, Cavendish Elithorn, said the following:

    We are concerned that children and their parents could be subject to unfair pressure to purchase, when they are playing games they thought were free.
    It should be noted that the OFT isn’t looking to ban in-game purchases according to Elithorn. Instead, they are hoping to ensure that game makers are following relevant laws. The in-app purchases have made several headlines in recent months as many of you might know. There have been a number of reports emerging with children amassing considerable bills making unsupervised purchases on their parents’ mobile devices. The “freemium” model, in which developers give their games away in app store, only to offer the option to buy additional in-app content later, has become increasingly popular in the App Store and other platforms’ app repositories. More specifically, in the App Store, in-app purchases account for 71% of all iPhone app revenue, illustrating the effectiveness of getting one’s apps into the hands of users before asking them to pay for it.

    The issue has gotten so out of hand that even Apple was hit with a class action law suit by plaintiffs alleging that the Cupertino California company doesn’t do enough to ensure that children can’t rack up large in-app bills. In an effort to resolve the issue, Apple recently extended a settlement offer, including refunds for excessive charges. In an effort to close in on the issue, Apple has added a warning to the pages of apps that feature in-app purchase capabilities.

    Source: BBC News
    This article was originally published in forum thread: In-App Purchases in iOS and Android Games Being Investigated by UK Government started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. rickuk's Avatar
      rickuk -
      Apple could resolve this pretty easily, after a certain amount of in app spend you would be prompted to reconfirm your credit card details if you don't have any gift card credit on your iTunes account
    1. lilrican21's Avatar
      lilrican21 -
      Get ready for another iOS update for this.
    1. ProfessorJack's Avatar
      ProfessorJack -
      You can stop this in settings general restrictions purchase apps
    1. bigboyz's Avatar
      bigboyz -
      Not sure why the media is making such a big deal about this. I guess its because every 30 days someone from the UK lets there kid spend $3,000+ on apps?? I mean have some control over your hardware and for that matter your kids haha! Funnny to me. People need to take a little more responsibility and stop blaming the manufacturer for making this an easy purchase.
    1. xXDrizzyyXx's Avatar
      xXDrizzyyXx -
      Quote Originally Posted by bigboyz View Post
      Not sure why the media is making such a big deal about this. I guess its because every 30 days someone from the UK lets there kid spend $3,000+ on apps?? I mean have some control over your hardware and for that matter your kids haha! Funnny to me. People need to take a little more responsibility and stop blaming the manufacturer for making this an easy purchase.
      +1
    1. iamevl's Avatar
      iamevl -
      if you wanna give your kid a 500 quid phone and let them run riot on it - more fool you!
      i cant afford the repair if my kids break my expensive equipment maybe these people can
    1. mattoligy's Avatar
      mattoligy -
      If I had a kid and I even considered giving it an iDevice, it would be in a bullet proof case and have a lot of restrictions enabled! Anyone that didn't do this is an idiot! Ps. I'm from London! It's not the country, you get idiots everywhere! That said, apple should without a doubt refund these types of mishaps as good will gestures!

      Taking advantage of people's idiocy is the same as being a bully!
    1. rickuk's Avatar
      rickuk -
      Most users are unaware that you can turn off in app purchases, Apple needs to make it more prominent, even a sticker on the box would help
    1. PokemonDesigner's Avatar
      PokemonDesigner -
      Iap/micro-transactions need to be removed or extremely modified/monitored. Just my opinion.
    1. Oddlane's Avatar
      Oddlane -
      Why can't they implement a "disable in-app purchases" feature or parental control.

      Never mind, already exists
    1. lukeyb's Avatar
      lukeyb -
      For Christ sake why can't apple just make require password immediately the default setting in restrictions instead of caching it for 15 mins, there's no need for any of this. Then if a parent gives out their password they only have themselves to blame.
    1. emtee25's Avatar
      emtee25 -
      All my kids in the uk have idevices and always on the games.

      My kids are 3, 6 and 9 and none know my password so can't run up bills just the wife does
    1. midnyt's Avatar
      midnyt -
      Quote Originally Posted by mattoligy View Post
      If I had a kid and I even considered giving it an iDevice, it would be in a bullet proof case and have a lot of restrictions enabled! Anyone that didn't do this is an idiot! Ps. I'm from London! It's not the country, you get idiots everywhere! That said, apple should without a doubt refund these types of mishaps as good will gestures!

      Taking advantage of people's idiocy is the same as being a bully!
      Apple refunds thousands of $$ a day on these. But if you don't place restrictions on your device after that, then you should be held responsible.
    1. twitchee3's Avatar
      twitchee3 -
      Quote Originally Posted by mattoligy View Post
      Taking advantage of people's idiocy is the same as being a bully!
      +1000000!!!!!! I think there's entirely too much of this kind of thing in our world these days.

      Honestly though, I think the easy fix for this is for Apple to make 'off' the default setting for in-app purchases. The reason this is happening is because the parents don't even understand that it's possible for their children to make purchases through their account, let alone that it's like a touch or two away and within one app, possibly their favorite and most familiar too. The thing is, Apple purposely leads you to set up your device and account in such a way that it's extremely easy to make purchases. Then, the developers come up with this in-app purchasing scheme to entice users to pay through the use of the app. Basically, Apple and the developers are setting up a certain percentage of their users (who don't understand the ins and outs of their idevices like we do, but nonetheless need a phone and were marketed an iPhone) to sit in the very risky position of potentially making unwanted purchases by mistake, all the while benefiting financially when some do and don't fight to get it all back.

      Taking advantage of others who aren't as aware of the situation as you are is wrong. Plain and simple. It's sad, but this probably seems pretty clever to some in a business sense, but then, one mustn't wonder too much about what's wrong with the world... We're supposed to help each other, not profit from weaknesses of others. Science tells us that we are all connected, and as Carl Sagan once said, "an organism divided against itself is doomed to fail." So, be aware the importance of little things, because even looking the other way as your bank account is exponentially stuffed by the idiocy of your fellow human beings, from here forward, we can never forget that everything is connected.
    1. At3eS's Avatar
      At3eS -
      Quote Originally Posted by bigboyz View Post
      Not sure why the media is making such a big deal about this. I guess its because every 30 days someone from the UK lets there kid spend $3,000+ on apps?? I mean have some control over your hardware and for that matter your kids haha! Funnny to me. People need to take a little more responsibility and stop blaming the manufacturer for making this an easy purchase.
      +2