gamerboom.com订阅到鲜果订阅到抓虾google reader订阅到有道订阅到QQ邮箱订阅到帮看


发布时间:2013-08-19 15:15:25 Tags:,,,

作者:William Volk

《Soupy Sales》是一档搞笑电视真人节目。在节目中,Sales要求年幼的观众们,偷偷摸进仍在酣睡的父母的卧室,把父母的裤子口袋和皮夹子里的“印着美国总统的绿纸片”(美元)拿出来,“放进信封并邮寄给我”。结果是,他被停职两周。









是的,父母给孩子他们自己的帐号密码是错误的。而且,这些孩子玩的还是针对更加大龄的受众的游戏(游戏邦注:如某儿童在策略游戏《Clash of Clans》中狂砸3000美元)。


许多儿童游戏,如《SpongeBob Moves In》、《My Little Pony》、《Skylanders: Lost Islands》和《Littlest Pet Shop》都提供IAP,甚至标价高达99.99美元。《SpongeBob Moves In》(4岁以上)的下载费用是3.99美元,根本算不上免费游戏。所以甚至那些想避开免费游戏的父母也为这些IAP感到震惊。


正如加拿大网络政策和公共安全局(Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic)的领导David Fewer所说:“3000美元、5000美元、10000美元的信用卡账单——当看到这些数字时,人们肯定要抱怨的,因为实在不是小数目。但如果只是20美元或40美元,父母就不会太计较了。”

这里的危险是政治机会。在2011年,Edward J. Markey、Amy Klobuchar和Mark Pryor分别致信联邦贸易委员会主席Jon Leibowitz,要求消费者保护局调查《Smurfs Village》和《Tap Zoo》等游戏。调查的结果是,要求App Store更加严格管理购买IAP的密码。同年2月,苹果被若干家长一起送上诉讼席。




注意:8月14日,苹果修改了它的App Store审查准则,如添加了一个新栏目叫作“儿童的应用”,为作iOS 7 引入教育应用作准备。改进后的开发者指南要求针对13岁及以下的儿童应用必须加入隐私政策、不可以插入行为性广告(如以IAP活动为基础的广告)、允许儿童“链接到IAP”时必须经过父母同意。另外,App Store的儿童类应该必须明确地分为“5岁及以下、6-8岁、9-11岁”。


Free-to-play games are having their Soupy Sales moment

by William Volk

Angered by having to work on the holiday on Jan. 1, 1965, comic Soupy Sales ended a live TV children’s show by asking his young viewers to tiptoe into their still-sleeping parents’ bedrooms and remove those “funny green pieces of paper with pictures of U.S. presidents” from their pants and pocketbooks. “Put them in an envelope and mail them to me,” Sales instructed the children. He received a two-week suspension.

Sales’ stunt only netted a few dollars in the mail, as most viewers didn’t know how to mail in cash. After all, this was a live TV show in the 1960s, not a mobile game with in-app purchases. Nowadays, if a child can get the password to say, an iTunes account, it’s far easier for them to send those “funny green pieces of paper with pictures of U.S. presidents” on them. Parents are often shocked to find their children running up charges in the tens, hundreds, or even thousands of dollars.

Consider these headlines:

$3,000 iTunes bill stun mom

iDad gets Apple refund for girl’s £4k game bill

Apple refunds $6,131 iTunes bill for 8-year-old’s unauthorized in-app purchases

iTunes refund after Bristol boy’s £1,700 spending spree

Yes, the parents are erring by giving their own passwords to their children. Often the children are playing games targeted at an older audience (the $3,000 example was for the strategy game Clash of Clans).

Freemium games depend on “whales,” users who make large purchases, for much of their income. A typical title may only have 2 percent to 3 percent of players making purchases. This isn’t a problem with social casino games targeted at teens and adults. These are rated at ages 12+ by Apple.

Many children’s games, like SpongeBob Moves In, My Little Pony, Skylanders: Lost Islands, and Littlest Pet Shop, offer in-app items as expensive as $99.99. The SpongeBob game (rated ages 4+) isn’t even a freemium title, as the download runs $3.99. So even parents trying to avoid free-to-play games can get surprised by these purchases.

In the headlines above, Apple eventually did refund the purchases, a wise decision.

As David Fewer, the director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, says, “The $3,000, $5,000, $10,000 bills — people are really going to complain about that when they show up, because it’s pretty noticeable on your credit card statement. But if it’s just $20 or $40, parents are going to go into that cost-benefit calculation.”

The danger here is political opportunity. In 2011 these stories motivated then-Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) to send separate letters to Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz, asking the consumer protection agency to investigate games such as Smurfs Village and Tap Zoo. The investigation led to a tightening of the App Store by Apple, making passwords mandatory for in-app purchases. In February, Apple settled a class action lawsuit by parents.

The problem today is that apps targeted for 5 year olds are relying on in-app purchases even more so than they did in 2011. The top-grossing children’s game category shows 17 out of the top 20 are doing just that.

I believe it is just a matter of time before political opportunity strikes again. The danger is that additional restriction on in-app purchasing could hurt social casino and other games not intended for children. Spending caps could be required.

It would be wise for publishers and Apple to encourage a switch to paid apps for very young children. I admit a bias. I didn’t even consider going the freemium route for our children’s games. Ad supported titles are also an alternative. Parents would be wise to look for paid games with no in-app purchases for their youngest children who may lack to maturity level to deal with the consequences of buying items for their favorite games. Apple does offer an “allowance” system that allows parents to set monthly spending limits.

Note: On Aug. 14, Apple modified its App Store Review Guidelines. These changes include a whole new section on “Kids Apps” in preparation for the implementation of sweeping changes to its educational program with the introduction of iOS 7. The revised developer guidelines detailing apps for children under aged 13 specify that such apps must include a privacy policy, may not include behavioral advertising (ads based on in-app activity, for example), and must ask for parental permission before allowing children to “link out of the app or engage in commerce.” Also, apps in the Kids Category of the App Store must be made specifically for children “ages 5 and under, ages 6–8, or ages 9–11.”

I suspect Apple will be playing close attention to apps targeted to these age segments that include high cost in-app digital content.(source:venturebeat)