Apple Owes Your Mom Some Money
According to the Federal Trade Commission, Apple must refund parents for in-app purchases made by their kids. Apple's set to give back $32.5 million to parents' bank account. Thanks to a ruling on Wednesday, the FTC has forced Apple to refund thousands of these claims.
Micro-transactions in games are quite a common sight. What's meant as an extra revenue stream for the game studio, can sometimes comes at the cost of a person's monthly salary. Per CVG, one case in particular "a daughter ran up a $2,600 tab while playing Tap Pet Hotel."
Though that seems like an extreme case. The amount of money Apple's app store earned in 2013 alone was a whopping $10 Billion. Yup, that's right Billion, with a capital "B." Apple's response to the FTC's order about this issue was surprising. A spokesperson for Apple said:
"To us, it smacked of double jeopardy. However, the consent decree the FTC proposed does not require us to do anything we weren't already going to do, so we decided to accept it rather than take on a long and distracting legal fight."
At the surface this seems fine, but what does that mean for all other micro-transactions? The implementation this ruling has, begs the question: "Why can't I just say my kid bought some downloadable content (DLC), without my consent?" Does that mean I get my money back via the Apple scenario?
Of course, there is a difference between mobile micro-transactions and DLC for a console/PC game - but even those games have micro-transactions sometimes. At what point do we discern what Apple's required to uphold, versus other digital distribution services?
As for now, I'm sure Apple is working on something to curb this from happening again. In the coming months it will be interesting to see how this affects other outlets that rely on micro-transactions and other DLC for profits.