In App Purchasing, or IAP for short. Three little words that can turn a “free” game, into a nightmare.
UK news reporters have recently done a report about a young boy who spent 1500 on a game that is supposed to be free. The parents of the young boy raise a valid point. Are games with in app purchases labeled clearly? Are there enough measures in place to ensure accidental purchases cannot be made? Aside from possibly supervising your child more when they’re using your account, are there enough measures in place to stop a child spending a small fortune?
Case in point, The graphically incredible Real Racing 3 by EA games. Its a free game, and looks fantastic. The name says it all, its as close to real as you can get without stopping at a petrol station every few days. However, Real Racing 3 has a dark side. Like most free games from major developers and publishers, Real Racing 3 is supported by in app purchasing. If you want to upgrade your wheels but running a little low on cash, you can use real money to buy in game money. It’s a method that has worked incredibly well for many developers and publishers since it was first launched. It offers a high quality gaming experience for the average user, while giving a bonus to those that wish to spend a little. But how far is too far?
Real Racing 3 offers in game currency for real money in varying quantities and prices. R$, the in game currency for RR3 can be purchased from as little as 1.49 for R$50,000, which should be enough for the casual racer to tune their car to beat that race they’ve been stuck on for a while. Perfectly acceptable by my standards, however there’s an option to purchase R$5,000,000 which would cost the player a staggering 69.99!
Thats right, for the price of a full tank of unleaded, you can be a virtual millionaire and buy a few pixels on a screen. Bargain! (sarcasm)
If that wasn’t enough, you can also spend £69.99 on 1000 gold, which can be used for other bonuses or you can also spend a total of £32.45 buying “packs” to unlock more cars and tracks.
Personally i think this is taking things a little too far in terms of IAP and could cast a dark shadow over the idea. a few quid here and there is fine, but as an optional extra, that’s too much. I can already hear parents groaning in the background that their unsupervised child has spent 70 quid on a virtual bugatti veyron and an engine upgrade.
The way EA have done IAP with real racing 3 is in my opinion, selfish, greedy and inconsiderate.
The other side of the argument is simple. Either play the game and enjoy it, or spend a weeks wage and have everything from the start and ruin the game. its your choice.
I wont be spending that much on any game ever.