App Developers Warned
App developers warned, that is the message from the Office of fair trading and in particular Gaming App Developers. The Office of fair trading have issued a shake up in policy for app developers and have given a two week period for the change to occur. The reason for this shake up in the app developer world is in app purchases and the hidden costs they have been racking up for parents.
Hundreds of parents across the world have been, much to their astonishment, hit with iTunes fees falling into the hundreds of pounds, only to discover that the fee was racked up by their unsuspecting child playing a free game they downloaded form the App Store, be it iTunes, Google Play Store or any other.
In App Purchasing
children and parents have been downloading games from the App store, which are advertised as free, however, with a lot of the games, you can buy add ons, which take real money from your actual bank account or credit card. For example, I play a game called Tapped Out, it is a Simpsons game were you build Springfield and the characters from the hit TV series. Throughout the game you set your charters to work and they will earn money for you, whereby you can buy additional buildings. However, some of the characters and buildings can only be purchased by Doughnuts, but in order to get Doughnuts, you need to spend real money for them. You can earn Doughnuts, but approximately one every blue moon and on average buildings can cost 200 Doughnuts, so impatient idiots such as myself pay for more.
Because this aspect of the game is not made very clear when purchasing, children are clicking the buy option, not understanding that when they do this, real money is being taken from their parents accounts. Of course the parents have to take some responsibility on this matter and I know what I am talking about, as this very matter happened to me.
My Farmville Nightmare
A few years ago, a game called Farmville, which used to be a Facebook game, was eventually launched on the App store. Again this was a game were you played the part of a farmer and had to build up your farm by purchasing animals. This was a perfect game for kids and I allowed my then 7 year old son to play the game. A week later I noticed that my son had this amazing farm on the iPad and when I checked my iTunes Account, I soon discovered that my account had been charged over £330.
Obviously I was in shock and didn’t know what to do, however, the only one at fault was me, it was my fault entirely, not my sons nor the game developers. I should have password protected my iTunes account and been watching my son much closer. I did get the money back after I explained to them what had happened and I also admitted that this was my fault. I personally think the admission of guilt helped in getting my money back, however, in my eyes then and now, they did not have to pay me the money back.
Needless to say this has been a widespread problem to which the Office of Fair trading are cracking down and given game developers two weeks to make the matter much more clear on the initial purchase. Once again parents escape responsibility and society is blamed for the mistakes of their children. They are our children and we must as decent parents be accountable for their actions, certainly at least until they are 16, from then on, it is not practical to know their every move. Any way I am not offering parental advice, goodness knows I have made hundreds of mistakes and am in no position what so ever to offer advice.
What do you think, should Game Developers be held responsible, or should it be the parents, really what more can the developers do? I’d love to get your thoughts on the matter.
App Developers Warned