Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Friday, March 11, 2011

Apple Closes In-App Purchase Loophole

Is this Capcom's insidious device for plucking the cash out of your credit card?
No doubt responding to the flurry of stories in the media about kids running up hundreds or thousands in charges on mom's credit had something to do with this, but Apple has made an important change in iOS 4.3. Previously, you could buy an app, which requires entering your password, and then for the next 15 minutes any purchase on your iOS device does not require a password. So mom would buy, say, The Smurf's Village, then hand the iPad over to Junior, who would find that he could load up on smurfberries and win the game with mom none the wiser... until the credit card bill arrived.

After much wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and rumors of tense conversations between Apple and Capcom, and an FTC investigation, Apple's got a fix in place. When you use iOS 4.3,  you still have a 15-minute window once you enter your password where you can purchase apps without re-entering the password. However, should you try to make an in-app purchase, you'll need to re-enter the password. This simple change should fix the problem in the vast majority of cases.

However, I predict a big drop in the smurfberry futures market. Perhaps Capcom will have to rely on getting more "adult power users" to play The Smurf's Village if they want to keep their revenue numbers up. Wehn you can't steal from unsuspecting small children, it's so much harder to make money.

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