Apple is Being Threatened With A New Legal Battle Against Parents
Some parents are suing Apple accusing it for unfairly profiting from uninformed children. Many free games in Apple’s App Store offer add-ons that can be much more expensive than normal paid games. Children who are often clueless of tricks employed by game developers may run up big bills without parental permission. Apple argued that in-app purchasing can be disabled by parents and called for the case to be dismissed. However, a US District judge stated that the hearing could go ahead. App Market requires users to input their credit card details only once during the registration process. This is intended to make it easier for users to purchase more apps. In a recent iOS update, Apple added an extra step for an in-app process, requiring users to input an additional password.
Apple said that parents can now disable the in-app purchases feature entirely. However, parents said that children are being encouraged to purchase certain items and many parents are still not aware of this issue. Android’s Google Play also offers in-app purchasing feature. The first court filing of this issue was made in 2011, when several titles such as “Smurfs’ Village” were believed to strategically induce users to purchase game currency. While the game is free to download, various in-app purchases can be as high as to £69.99.
The game posted a warning message that these add-ons require financial transactions; however a child could be unaware that additional in-app content charges real money. Playing free games is possible without spending money, however the progress can be very slow making gameplay feels more tedious.