In-app purchases, or micropayments, have their bad name, especially in the video game sector; However, it has been proven that leaving the application free is the easiest way to attract the user and then get money with small purchases, either with new functions or with help and more content in the case of games. Can a game in which we need to pay be considered free to have any chance of continuing? It is a controversy that continues, and in which the companies behind the app stores such as Google, Amazon and Apple have a lot to lose.
A controversial expense
This has been demonstrated by a recent case in the USA where Google has agreed to pay $ 19 million to parents of children who spent money on these types of purchases. within applications hosted on Google Play. In this way the company avoids taking the case to court where perhaps it could have had to pay more, in addition to setting legal precedent. According to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Google unfairly charged parents of children by failing to obtain express authorizationfor spending; The FTC includes this type of measures in the protection of users, to prevent users from being charged for purchases that they did not authorize.
This type of situation occurs when parents leave the devices to their children; games aimed at this audience tend to encourage players to spend real money for upgrades as new weapons, accessories or jewelry to advance the construction of buildings in strategy games. If the owner of the device has not configured their Google Play account to ask for the password with each purchase, the child can get all those improvements in just two easy steps; the price can be around 99 cents and 200, which can destroy the owner’s bank account in red numbers.
It is worth asking if the owners of the stores are really to blame for this, and if the parents do not make a mistake by not setting up their account correctly and leaving the child unsupervised. On the other hand, when we get an app and it ensures that it is free, it is logical to think that the whole experience is; that’s why one of the changes that Google has already made is to stop calling games for free with purchases. Another option would be to force to enter the password whenever we are going to pay, but this can be tiresome for most users and reduce the number of sales. Google is not the only one with pending cases with the FTC; In January the commission decided that Apple had to pay $ 32.5 million for a similar case, and Amazon has already stated that it will fight this policy.
Source | CNet