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Critics To FTC: Why Do You Hate In-App Purchasing Freedom?

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the it-does-seem-a-bit-overreachy dept.

Businesses 171

jfruh writes The FTC has moved aggressively recently against companies that make it too easy for people — especially kids — to rack up huge charges on purchases within apps. But at a dicussion panel sponsored by free-market think tank TechFreedom, critics pushed back. Joshua Wright, an FTC commissioner who dissented in a recent settlement with Apple, says a 15-minute open purchase window produced "obvious and intuitive consumer benefits" and that the FTC "simply substituted its own judgment for a private firm's decision as to how to design a product to satisfy as many users as possible."

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Because The Children (-1, Flamebait)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 3 months ago | (#47588209)

In the 21st century, people are screaming for the government to regulate their lives in order to protect them, to provide "security", and to "make people feel safe". It's the fag end of the smoldering socialist experiment. Sadly, America's just getting on the end of the demographic tidal wave which will make this impossible, so the golden years where everything is perfect are going to seem really short.

Re:Because The Children (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#47588251)

Sadly, America's just getting on the end of the demographic tidal wave which will make this impossible, so the golden years where everything is perfect are going to seem really short.

True unless, ironically, the nation can still grow its' population base ahead of the European models... most likely through imigration.

Re:Because The Children (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588359)

Sure, hey, why not? Not sure where to put that apostrophe, slap it on at the end!!

Re:Because The Children (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#47588429)

It seemed safer than leaving it out, what with the growing strength of the punctuation lobby.

Re: Because The Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588667)

But, y'know, reading up for 30 seconds on Google to learn the right place to put it was out of the question.

Re: Because The Children (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588889)

Just because somebody messes up grammar doesn't give you the right to be an asshole about it. Bullies are bullies even if their aims are admirable from some angle.

Re:Because The Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588463)

Must not be from the Midwest. Almost every so called Christian family is big. This will grow exponentially. The model should be slanted for a high population of Christian Fundamentalist Republicans buying games.

Re:Because The Children (1)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | about 3 months ago | (#47588253)

In the 21st century, people are screaming for the government to regulate their lives in order to protect them, to provide "security", and to "make people feel safe". It's the fag end of the smoldering socialist experiment.

It has nothing to do with socialism. There are a lot of self-described conservatives in favor of restrictive and intrusive regulation in the name of security.

Re:Because The Children (-1, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 3 months ago | (#47588313)

Consider the concept of "socialism", then consider those who self-describe as "conservative", and you will have the answer to the apparent contradiction.

Because The Children (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588327)

Socialism is democratic worker control of the means of production, you troglodyte. That's all it is. There is less security under socialism than capitalism, because nobody is allowed to rely on invested capital. This minor controversy has absolutely nothing to do with socialism.

All that's going on here is a few rich guys whining that they want ways of taking money from people using a technological loophole - the ease with which a child can use mom's credit card - rather than directly as a result of a contract formed between two adults providing informed consent. If anything, the capitalist position would run contrary to TechFreedom's argument because capitalism strives for informed, rational agents, necessarily treating children as a special case. To be clear, children usually cannot form contracts, but nobody owns children, therefore they cannot be entirely responsible for their actions.This reflects their status as developing humans.

So get off your high horse and stop worrying that the sky is falling. Every dull member of every new generation speaks like the "golden days" have come to an end because xyz minor thing that they don't really understand means the end of the world.

Re:Because The Children (-1, Troll)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 3 months ago | (#47588385)

Socialism is democratic worker control of the means of production, you troglodyte.

Way to go! Let one particular brand of 'socialist' define the term in as colorful a language as their doctrine specifies.

Now let's have Josef Stalin tell us what 'communism' is.

Re:Because The Children (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588481)

What do you mean by "brand of socialist"? Are you trying to re-define "socialist" as a pejorative rather than a label for a specific system? "Anything which doesn't agree with a particular sort of free market system," perhaps? I understand that "socialist" is sometimes used in the United States like "terrorist" - the latter is a person who inflicts terror on civilians to achieve a political aim, but is commonly re-"branded" to mean "anyone I'm fighting against".

I am not judging socialism - I am merely telling you how its "founding fathers", supporting Parties and every political text identify it. Whether it succeeds is another matter. OK, we could listen to how hypocritical dictator Stalin defines communism, and we could also listen to how he defines capitalism... what is your point? Tell me what you're for. IOW, tell me what you references you accept in your understanding of the definition of "socialism". And, to be transparent, I'm not asking about whether it works, but testing your intellectual integrity.

Re:Because The Children (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 months ago | (#47588535)

Socialism isn't a system, it's a class of systems. It encompasses everything from social democratic state on Scandinavia to Marxist-Leninist states.

Re: Because The Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588683)

You need to read more. You have no idea what you're talking about.

Re: Because The Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47589093)

Another useless reply from the "Is not! Is too!" school of debate. I fucking hate slashdot sometimes.

Re: Because The Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47589485)

Fuck you people. Its like having someone tell you the sky is green even when your both standing there and looking at it. Hell "You have no idea what you are talking about." is a hell of a lot nicer then how I would have put it. The truth is you're a fucking idiot who has no idea what the word socialism actually means. Go fucking look it up in any dictionary. Stupid mother fuckers.

Re:Because The Children (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588731)

Social democracy is a nod in the direction of socialism, and it may have institutions which operate partly according to socialist principles, but it is certainly not socialism. It's not just that the majority of work is conducted through private enterprise, but that state ownership of the commanding heights of the economy tends to be selective, and their organisation tends not to focus on democratic control: a government may merely have a controlling share in a business run as any other capitalist business.

Indeed, capitalism itself is an accommodating system which allows individual organisations to operate according to socialist principles, but this doesn't mean that capitalism is one of the set of socialist systems.

If you want to use the terminology of computer science, socialism may be a "superclass" in that there are various different ways of instantiating a socialist regime, but it is certainly not a "class of systems" in the sense of a spectrum of real-world regimes from centre left to far left.

Marxism-Leninism as it was written about is socialist, yeah. As it was implemented, well, it's as safe to call the US a "free market"!

Re:Because The Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588663)

> Socialism is democratic worker control of the means of production, you troglodyte

Dear Asshole,

Someone as ignorant of political science as you are has no business chastising people, especially as vehemently as you do.

Socialism is also the political movement which AIMS at establishing worker ownership. Actual establishment of such a system is not necessary for a thing to be called "socialist" (as in the "Socialist movement") you retard.

Re:Because The Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47589449)

Socialism is also the political movement which AIMS at establishing worker ownership.

You're concurring most angrily, dullard.

Would you feel gratuitously ball-twisting urge to point out the same thing about, say, the Libertarian Party? After all, the LP doesn't actually run a libertarian country, does it? It merely aims at establishing a government run under libertarian principles.

Or maybe your point is that socialism is merely a movement in the opera of Marxist dialectical materialism, in which case you're subclassing socialism as Marxism sees it, but still not substantively disagreeing with me.

Re:Because The Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47589075)

"There is less security under socialism than capitalism"
You're certainly not referring to medical care, or welfare, which everyone needs at some point in their life. Oh, wait, you mean the top 1% that get bailouts. Yes, I have to agree then.

Draw Your Own Conclusion (0)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 3 months ago | (#47588351)

"Fascism is the marriage of government and business."
                                                                              --Benito Mussolini

Re: Draw Your Own Conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588797)

Which is different from socialism how?

Re: Draw Your Own Conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588907)

Fascism is a bit like the GOP, it's run on fear, xenophobia and corporatism. Socialists don't normally involve themselves in that, in fact it would be very hard to run a socialist campaign where you were trying to scare the crap out of people to get them to persecute their neighbors.

Re: Draw Your Own Conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47589505)

In fascism the corporations control the government. In socialism the government controls the corporations. You may claim there is no difference but you'd be very wrong. Go read a social studies book.

Re:Because The Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588579)

"so the golden years where everything is perfect" - your golden years ? You don't lead the world in anything except prisoners in some respects your hardly even a civilized nation and your are so polarising your society rich\have not and right wing \ not quite so right you are sleep walking into a complete totalitarian society ,

Everything ok as long as you can mouth platitudes like free equals tax cuts and America #1 !

Their Job (5, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | about 3 months ago | (#47588215)

Because its their job to hate people who take advantage of others in matters of trade?

This convenience bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588295)

I hate the whole "for your convenience" bullshit. I do not trust having my payment information on file. What prevents an app from just making purchases without your consent?

Or saying something is free when it isn't like some of the Roku channels. I can't tell you how many times I went to look at a "free" channel only to have a message pop up that my account will be billed every month. Fortunately, I bitched to Roku's customer service when signing up about their requirement to supply payment information for "my convenience".

And the bank will not back you up if you dispute the charges. The vendor just says "They clicked on the accept button" and your out the money.

Re: This convenience bullshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588369)

Nobody gives a shit about the opinion of someone who doesn't know what the difference between "your" and "you're" is.

Re:This convenience bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588473)

I do not trust having my payment information on file. What prevents an app from just making purchases without your consent?

If Apple is the only one having your payment information, then an OS-generated dialog for every purchase would prevent the problem you mentioned.

Re: This convenience bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588951)

That is EXACTLY how purchases in iOS work RIGHT NOW. The App has to ask the OS to have the user approve and Apple sends the developer a receipt of the purchase.

What has been up for discussion is the timer feature. By default, once you approve a purchase Apple Assumes you want to CONTINUE purchasing for 15 minutes. For most things that's enough.. Except those g'damn kids games that deliberately keep throwing up the "buy more" buttons. Apple has a feature to force EVERY SINGLE purchase through manual approval, but then you have to turn on other "kid settings". I think people would rather the DEFAULT FEATURE be to ALWAYS ASK with the OPTION to turn it down under "safety settings"

Re: This convenience bullshit (1)

Xenx (2211586) | about 3 months ago | (#47588993)

Or, people could start using their brain and actually learn how to use their devices that they feel that HAVE to have. As long as the option is there to ask every time, it's in the user's court. I'm tired of everyone being too dumb to even try.

Re:This convenience bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588617)

> I hate the whole "for your convenience" bullshit. I do not trust having my payment information on file.

Neither do I. That's why I don't give my info to such apps, and I don't let random apps have network access permissions.

Problem solved.

Re: This convenience bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588881)

Because the capitalist makers should be in charge of your money.
You gave apple your card number and your kids the password. Your not responsible.
Corporate America will use the increase share holder value rule to create rules that benifit the customer like they alwAys have.

Re:Their Job (5, Informative)

jd (1658) | about 3 months ago | (#47588317)

Very true. A wholly free market is actually quite toxic, as a certain Adam Smith noted. Especially when it's dishonest.

In-app purchases are the return of micropayments, but for virtual goods less valuable than Second Life real estate. It is, of course, entirely fair for companies to sell such products and for customers to buy them, but the control system is poor, virtual goods have an amazingly high failure rate for delivery, and prices are often in the small print.

Re:Their Job (5, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 3 months ago | (#47588583)

>> Because its their job to hate people who take advantage of others in matters of trade?

> Very true. A wholly free market is actually quite toxic, as a certain Adam Smith noted. Especially when it's dishonest.

Yes. Yes, yes, yes! Exactly this.

the FTC "simply substituted its own judgment for a private firm's decision as to how to design a product to satisfy as many users as possible."

Because that is what we pay them to do. And there is a very good reason; because private firms measure customer satisfaction through the lens of maximization of profit (fairly short run profit in the case of apps), and the FTC measures it through imperfect objective analysis of the rational self-interest and informedness of the transaction participants. Gee, here's a surprise: Those two measures don't always agree, and sometimes, when they are far enough out of whack, it actually increases GDP in the long run if you limit the freedom of people to engage in inefficienty transactions.

A really good example of such potentially inefficient transactions is children, who do not understand how much time and effort it costs to acquire money, are in the throes of video game passion and a screen pops up saying, "Win More, Only $3.99! Buy Now!"

Joshua Wright, an FTC commissioner who dissented...

A market filled with efficient transactions increases GDP in the long run relative to a market with less efficient transactions. So, tell me, Joshua Wright; do you hate the economy? Do you want a lower GDP? Do you want our corporations to lose money? Do want our wealthiest stockholders to have to buy slightly smaller Gulfstreams? Answer me, Mr. Wright: Do you hate America?

Re:Their Job (0)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47588809)

A really good example of such potentially inefficient transactions is children, who do not understand how much time and effort it costs to acquire money, are in the throes of video game passion and a screen pops up saying, "Win More, Only $3.99! Buy Now!"

If they can do that, those children have much larger issues than a $4 charge - they have stupid and irresponsible parents, who are not only providing inadequate supervision, but are incompetent at teaching their children life skills.

Those in-app purchases require an account password - that's a parental responsibility. Allowing the kids to know the password is no different than sending them to the toy store with a blank check. Not only are the parents not teaching their children to take responsibility for their actions, the parents themselves aren't being responsible.

Re:Their Job (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 3 months ago | (#47589009)

If they can do that, those children have much larger issues than a $4 charge - they have stupid and irresponsible parents, who are not only providing inadequate supervision, but are incompetent at teaching their children life skills.

Your observation, whether true or not, does not make the transactions efficient. Inefficient transactions are bad for the economy, regardless of their cause. Do you want American companies to lose money? Do you hate America?

Re:Their Job (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 3 months ago | (#47589079)

I really liked my last snarky response, but I just thought of another one:

Those in-app purchases require an account password - that's a parental responsibility. Allowing the kids to know the password is no different than sending them to the toy store with a blank check. Not only are the parents not teaching their children to take responsibility for their actions, the parents themselves aren't being responsible.

I've long been thinking the same thing about crosswalk signals. Children whose parents fail to teach them to look at the vehicular traffic signals to know when it is safe to cross are not giving their children an important life skill. Spending taxpayer money on crosswalk signals, just to protect the children of a few incompetent parents, is grossly wasteful nanny-stateism. If we don't allow natural car-versus-pedestrian fatalities to punish stupid parents by killing their children, how will they ever learn?

Re:Their Job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47589163)

So you're one of those parents who tells his kids to go play unsupervised in the street. You suck as a parent.

Re:Their Job (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47589123)

Perhaps you haven't educated yourself sufficiently on the issue at hand. The problem was that parents would enter their password to allow a single purchase and then hand the device to a child, unaware that the password would be cached for the next X minutes. They expected that the child not knowing the password would secure them from unauthorized in-app purchases. That is a reasonable expectation, one would think.

Alas, businesses wanted to make impulse buys as easy as possible and so violated that reasonable expectation AND failed to make it clear that they had. That's why the FTC got involved and insisted that they EITHER meet that expectation OR make it very clear that it was violated.

That seems to me to be both reasonable and EXACTLY the sort of thing the FTC should be doing.

Re:Their Job (0, Troll)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47589237)

The 15 minute behavior [archive.org] has been documented for over 3 years. Additionally, every purchase requires confirmation. As I said, this is a parental failure. If you can't raise kids who can be trusted with a blank check, simply don't give them one. If you don't understand how the purchasing system works, don't use it, and certainly don't authorize your kid to do so.

Re:Their Job (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 3 months ago | (#47589345)

The 15 minute behavior has been documented for over 3 years.

Which doesn't mean that you can expect any non-geek to know it. Heck I'm a geek, and I've owned iOS devices since 2008 and if I ever knew about a 15 minute window I've forgotten.

And the attitude that if a kid does something against it's parents wishes, it's a bad parent is just risible. ALL kids find the opportunities available to them to skirt the rules. Even when they're old enough to know what the rules are. And they can be pretty cunning.

Your judgements show a remarkable lack of knowledge of the real world. Not just of parenting but of what people know of technology.

And for what are you protecting the businesses here, in their efforts to fleece the public? They don't need your help.

The FTC are absolutely there to protect consumers from businesses that seek to exploit expected gaps in consumer knowledge. Even more so when the actor is a child.

Re:Their Job (0, Troll)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47589349)

Turn in your phone. You're obviously too stupid to be responsible for it.

Re:Their Job (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 3 months ago | (#47589375)

Turn in your computer. You shouldn't be posting on the internet if that's the best you can do.

Their Job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588623)

Trade works because A's and B's goods are more valuable to the other party than to the owner. The exchange actually generates wealth and both people (and their society) are richer because of it.

Fraudulent trade, i.e. an exchange that would never have happened if both parties had complete foreknowledge of the situation, has the opposite effect. It destroys wealth and makes society poorer. A business that could not make a sale while being honest is just as much a drain on society as a common thief.

Oh yes, hate freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588233)

The undisputed freedom of corporations to trick "free" citizen consumers into perpetual debt bondage. That freedom. Such haters.

"Free Market[tm]" isn't the be-all end-all of economics, people.

Capacity & infancy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588235)

It causes a lot of issues when children try to enter into contracts, aka buy crap. Generally they aren't even bound at all unless it's a necessity. We don't want to bind children to stuff because holy cow kids are stupid. It's easier to just make it harder for kids to buy stuff inadvertently than deal with all the lawsuits and aftermath of trying to bind parents to their kids voidable transactions.

corrected.... (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 3 months ago | (#47588239)

Joshua Wright, an FTC commissioner who dissented in a recent settlement with Apple, says a 15-minute open purchase window produced "obvious and intuitive consumer benefits" and that the FTC "simply substituted its own judgment for a private firm's decision as to how to design a product to satisfy as many shareholdersas possible."

FTFY

Socialism? ... riiiiiiight (1)

Jumperalex (185007) | about 3 months ago | (#47588243)

If a 15 minute open refund period produced "obvious and intuitive consumer benefits" just think about what an hour could do. You know, like enough to actually test out the app for REAL. Especially apps that are more complicated than flappy bird and, oh yeah, more expensive.

Mea Culpa: though I will acknowledge that a "free" app with in-app purchase, that works well enough to test it out before spending money, is indeed one way to get around the limited 15 minutes to test the app.

But of course those apps are not the problem. The problem the government (you know, the supposedly by the people FOR the people) is trying to prevent predatory sharks from bilking people of money through shady practices like kids games that make it very easy to just click click spend a shed load of money.

Re:Socialism? ... riiiiiiight (1)

aitikin (909209) | about 3 months ago | (#47588331)

If a 15 minute open refund period produced "obvious and intuitive consumer benefits" just think about what an hour could do.

Uhyou misread that. "15-minute open purchase window produced 'obvious and intuitive consumer benefits'" I doubt the FTC would be opposed to an open refund period...

Re:Socialism? ... riiiiiiight (1)

teg (97890) | about 3 months ago | (#47588335)

If a 15 minute open refund period produced "obvious and intuitive consumer benefits" just think about what an hour could do. You know, like enough to actually test out the app for REAL. Especially apps that are more complicated than flappy bird and, oh yeah, more expensive.

Mea Culpa: though I will acknowledge that a "free" app with in-app purchase, that works well enough to test it out before spending money, is indeed one way to get around the limited 15 minutes to test the app.

But of course those apps are not the problem. The problem the government (you know, the supposedly by the people FOR the people) is trying to prevent predatory sharks from bilking people of money through shady practices like kids games that make it very easy to just click click spend a shed load of money.

"Open purchase window" here does not mean "open refund". It means "you don't have to enter your password again to buy something". Go smurfberries! [escapistmagazine.com]

Re:Socialism? ... riiiiiiight (2, Insightful)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 3 months ago | (#47588445)

A 15 minute refund period would be delicious. It would completely destroy the IAP marketplace. I'd be able to again buy high quality games for $5-15 and not be faced with game designers who focus on nickel-and-dime ripping me off. They'd actually have to work on making the game fun enough for me to be willing to pay for the non-trial version. Wolfenstein 3D and later Doom did this well with shareware trial versions. Similarly a whole bunch of games from that era: Jill of the Jungle, Commander Keen, etc.

"Disable In App Purchases" should be a checkbox in the settings for the App Market and it should simply render invisible any games that incorporate In App Purchases, just the way games for the Tablet don't appear in the Google Play market when I open the Google Play app on my cellphone.

Entitlements vs. consumables (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47588511)

"Disable In App Purchases" should be a checkbox in the settings for the App Market and it should simply render invisible any games that incorporate In App Purchases

It would also render invisible any games that use your suggested shareware model. There are two distinct kings of IAP: "entitlements", which are purchased once and stay with the user as long as the use continues to use the platform, and "consumables", whose purchase can be repeated. Purchases of paid apps are essentially an entitlement inside the App Store app, and registering shareware is the same as buying mission packs, which are entitlements. Most of the IAP ire comes from consumables like "smurfberries". What you appear to want is a way to hide apps that use consumable IAP while keeping those that use entitlements.

Re:Entitlements vs. consumables (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 3 months ago | (#47588893)

Nope. It would enable games with a 'trail' shareware version, and a 'paid' full version. There are many games that are distributed this way in the App Store. In particular, one of the market leaders, Minecraft Pocket Edition, is distributed this way.

The 'entitlements' model for 'upgrading' are just an alternative path. With a 'block IAP' checkbox, it would cease to exist.

How would the player move saved progress? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47589127)

It would enable games with a 'trail' shareware version, and a 'paid' full version.

If the trial version and the full version are separate apps, then how would the player move saved progress from the trial version to the full version? Or would the player be forced to restart the campaign?

Re:Entitlements vs. consumables (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47589173)

They could always offer the non-shareware version separately in the App Store. That would be better anyway since it would assert control over the purchase and avoid deceptive in-app interfaces.

Redownloading under cap; migration of saved games (0)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47589285)

Cellular ISPs in the United States charge roughly $1 per MB. If the player spent 100 MB of data to download the free version, the player will have to spend another 100 MB of data to download the paid version, a few MB of data to upload the player's saved progress from the free version to the Internet, and a few MB of data to download the player's saved progress from the Internet to the paid version. IAPs save the player money on his data plan.

How about... (1)

Torp (199297) | about 3 months ago | (#47588247)

... labeling all games with IAPs as rentals and displaying the average cost of being able to keep playing... per hour or something like that?

Re:How about... (1)

sqlrob (173498) | about 3 months ago | (#47588393)

I don't know that an average cost would actually show that much. With the articles about "whales", it seems that the average would be fairly low.

Entitlement based shareware style IAP (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47588531)

What would it display for "price per hour" in the case of games that ship with one episode and use a one-time in-app purchase to "register" the game and unlock the entire rest of the campaign? Historical examples include Doom, which had "Knee-Deep in the Dead" without charge and two mission packs called "Ultimate Doom" and "Doom II".

Re:How about... (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 3 months ago | (#47588705)

... labeling all games with IAPs as rentals and displaying the average cost of being able to keep playing... per hour or something like that?

But most are not rentals. For example, "Candy Crush" with levels 1 to 35 is free. Candy Crush with levels 1 to 50 costs £0.69. Candy Crush with levels 1 to 64 costs £1.38. And so on. There's no rental. Once you paid it's yours. For £1.38 you get a game with 65 levels, which you can download on all your devices and play as long as you like.

Re:How about... (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 3 months ago | (#47588963)

Candy Crush is a massive pig of a game, though. One that is close to collapsing under the weight of the bullshit they've shoved in there. The spash screens, side-game spam and extra garbage that rumbles into your face while you're trying to... well... get to the screens to crush candy, are really annoying. Thank goodness it's such a well-cloned game, because there are many lightweight competitors where you can actually play the game. King, the publishers of Candy Crush Saga, are a Zynga wannabe. Let's hope they die soon, the way Zynga is headed: a company that has grown to the point where they have way too many people trying to chisel money out of the players of their product. When a critical mass develops to the point where they have whole teams working on the splash screens, mini-games and diversions, the cubicle farm needs to be collapsed.

Re:How about... (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 3 months ago | (#47588921)

A lot of the games that have IAP are 'pay to win' games. One of the most popular games in the market from one of the successful developers is Hay Day by Supercell. It's essentially a 'play to win' game. My spouse plays it and has a lot of fun doing so but has never, ever, made an In App Purchase to do so. The leaderboards are completely meaningless and irrelevant to people who've never paid for 'gems' though, because the 'Top Players' are entitled rich children (one presumes) who've bought their way to the top. In all categories of 'Leader' on that game, the people who spend money are at the top. That's just how pay-to-win goes, and the game has to be fun on the merits of gameplay to be successful. Which Hay Day is. There is some peculiar sociology going on there, because the game's popularity is clearly NOT geared by being on the Leaderboard.

The arcade (3, Insightful)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about 3 months ago | (#47588263)

As the arcades closed I thought that never again people would accept coin-op's.
But the Smurfberries in all their incarnations and the DLC's on PC clearly shows I was wrong. :)

Arcades had their place (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 3 months ago | (#47588573)

and often weren't bad value for the money. You got to play games on far more advanced hardware than you could afford at the time and the operators maintained a public space you could play others in.

DLC's & free to play are the same. You can do them right and wrong. I've generally heard good things about Warframe and League of Legends. On the other end of the spectrum you've got Dungeon Keeper and Candy Crush Saga. And right in the middle you've got stuff like Mechwarrior tactics.

Heck, if you want a real world example look at the stuff Games Workshop is doing recently where Expensive high value models that used to belong in specific rule expansions have been introduced into the main game to sell more of them. I expected a backlash but instead the fans were happy they could justify the purchase of a $300 model kit with the knowledge they could use it in game :P, go figure.

Re:Arcades had their place (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47589209)

DLC's & free to play are the same.

How so? They don't upgrade your phone/tablet hardware in any way and they don't provide a place to hang out with friends.

Real world equivalent (4, Informative)

StripedCow (776465) | about 3 months ago | (#47588265)

You go to a theme-park with your children.
If the kids want to have an ice-cream, they just go to the ice-cream stand, order and say the name of their parents (you), so they get the bill when you leave.

Who thinks this is not a brilliant idea?

(Sorry for not posting a car-analogy)

Re:Real world equivalent (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 3 months ago | (#47588299)

You go to a theme-park with your children. If the kids want to have an ice-cream, they just go to the ice-cream stand, order and say the name of their parents (you), so they get the bill when you leave.

Who thinks this is not a brilliant idea?

Meanwhile the park employees are all atwitter about StripedCow's 300 children.

Twitter (disambiguation) (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47588569)

Meanwhile the park employees are all atwitter about StripedCow's 300 children.

But once management finds out about their tweets, watch them end up fired for spilling the beans, like Nicole Crowther in this BI article [businessinsider.com] , in favor of people who can keep their mouth shut. Then watch management find people like twitter [slashdot.org] , who can do the job of a dozen people [slashdot.org] .

Re:Twitter (disambiguation) (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 3 months ago | (#47588723)

Meanwhile the park employees are all atwitter about StripedCow's 300 children.

But once management finds out about their tweets, watch them end up fired for spilling the beans, like Nicole Crowther in this BI article [businessinsider.com] , in favor of people who can keep their mouth shut. Then watch management find people like twitter [slashdot.org] , who can do the job of a dozen people [slashdot.org] .

Consider that "atwitter" does not necessarily mean "tweeting", or whatever social that people use to destroy their lives.

My point was that StripedCow seems to think that kids telling an ice cream vendor that they are his kids, so they can buy their munchies at the park was a good idea. Then suddenly everyone becomes StripedCow's children. It's like in-app purchases gone wild.

Re:Twitter (disambiguation) (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 3 months ago | (#47588979)

I'm certain the park would issue bar-coded or electronic armbands to each child, so that the consumption could be tagged to a specific parent.

Re:Twitter (disambiguation) (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 3 months ago | (#47589493)

I'm certain the park would issue bar-coded or electronic armbands to each child, so that the consumption could be tagged to a specific parent.

And hopefully medical restrictions, like Suzy who is diabetic, who really has a craving for ice-cream, of maybe some kids with religious food bans, or Bruce with the peanut allergy who wants to commit suicide by park vendor.

There are just so many things wrong with the idea. Perhaps the parent might make a sensible judgement and be around their children.

There is a simple solution (2)

DrXym (126579) | about 3 months ago | (#47588281)

Impose a maximum in-game purchase to the game's rating and impose a maximum spend per account per month. i.e. an E for everyone game may have a max spend of $5. If a user wants to override these settings then they can from the account settings. The power of the default mean the majority won't and thus people will be protected from nasty surprises. Oh and ban more than 1 in game currency that maps onto real world money and require them to show a dollar / euro / pound value against any purchase that uses it.

Aside from protecting users it deters games from being glorified skinner boxes with cow-clicker complexity and micropayments galore and encourages producers to start making actual games again.

Re: There is a simple solution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588379)

Why not just have your government make all your games for you, faggot?

Re:There is a simple solution (0, Flamebait)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#47588407)

Impose. Ban. Regulate.

Is this where we set the bar of government interference in our private lives?

A very simple solution would be the parents don't allow an irresponsible child to play a game with in-game purchasing. Hell, that might even institute a bit of self-restraint a growing child could use the rest of his life.

Re:There is a simple solution (4, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 3 months ago | (#47588471)

Is this where we set the bar of government interference in our private lives?

Commerce is not your "private life". It is the transfer of "property", something created by government fiat and enforced by government guns. And it in most cases is it the transfer of "property" to or from a corporation, an entity created by government fiat.

If it doesn't directly involve government issued land and resource deeds (the root of all physical property), copyright and patents and trademarks (the root of all so-called "intellectual property"), or corporate charters, and doesn't involve government-enforced contracts, then you can maybe complain about government interference in your "private life".

Re:There is a simple solution (1)

Jartan (219704) | about 3 months ago | (#47588585)

Your idea falls apart when ALL the games have in-game purchasing.

Re:There is a simple solution (1)

cob666 (656740) | about 3 months ago | (#47588645)

Apple already has most of these restrictions and more.
The ability to turn off in app purchasing and / or making purchases. The also have 'allowances' which once reached the user can't spend pass that unless they provide an additional form of payment. iDevices also allow you to turn OFF the 15 minute window and specify that a password is required for every purchase.

Parents really have NO right to complain if their children are racking up purchases on their iDevice because they have the ability to limit that spending.

Untrue statements (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588283)

When companies take advantage of customer addiction tendencies, it's predatory, and causes long-term suffering, for short-term satisfaction.
Since the companies can't regulate themselves, the government must do it for them.

Coke is without coke these days as well, and that is a good thing (coke causes the brain to become psychopathic over time).

Re:Untrue statements (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#47588419)

I see the Pepsibot is up and running.

Re:Untrue statements (1)

f16c (13581) | about 3 months ago | (#47589445)

He was referring to cocaine, which was once a component of the soft drink. That version is no longer sold because it would be illegal.

Laws tend to change due to both public knowledge and awareness changing over time. This is likely the reason why the extreme conservatives are doing their best to limit access and affordability of education for the middle and working classes and consolidation of the media. You can't really vote rationally without a universally efficient education or even awareness that a problem exists. It's hard enough to catch the news when you work 60+ hours to make ends meet. Calling this a "Democracy" is a bit of a stretch under such circumstances. As long as this remains the case the American Dream is just another big lie from the corporate big-shots and hangers-on.

I was born in the US and I don't recognize the country I grew up in. I grew up in the sixties and seventies and started a family in the eighties. I don't think the country I grew up in really exists any more. Both political parties had plenty of people I had great admiration for. Both had the fringe but they were a tiny minority. Back then I think both parties realized the damage to the country if we followed the path that politics is on now. The country no longer seems to matter as much as the power and wealth that accompany it for those chosen by the parties to participate in the political arena. A country in decline no matter how you choose to measure it.

The FTC is hardly without a flawless record. It also does pretty well considering the meager resources it brings to it's mission. The article reminds us that they do go after those that are blatant about their greed, customer antagonism and deception when they have the ability to do so. They tend to try to follow a reasonable middle ground, which is very difficult in today's political environment.

Re:Untrue statements (1)

f16c (13581) | about 3 months ago | (#47589453)

I meant it hardly has a flawless record...

Back to the fray.

Here's an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588319)

Wall it off!

Require a special wallet to be used for in-app purchases. Kind of like how you load credit to Skype to make out-going calls without a subscription... something like that.

Imagine loading $20 and then it being empty. Then you have to manually reload money into the special wallet.

Also, make it illegal to call it a free app if in-app purchases are possible.

Re:Here's an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588423)

It's called free app because you don't have to shell out the money up front. At least most of them have the decency to warn you about in app purchase before downloading.

Re:Here's an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588467)

Maybe I should have put it another way.

It's like prepaid cell phone service. It's not free cell phone service. You pay as you go. The same can be said for in-app purchases provided said purchases advance the gameplay.

just who are these "critics" anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588373)

perhaps those affiliated with 'app stores' that rake in around 30% off the top for in app purchases? perhaps those who rake in big bucks from in app purchases (or have dreams of doing so)? misinformed users addicted to (and thus spending lots of money) an app just doing what it or its developers say?

no informed *user* of an 'app' is going to side with the greedy fucks on the other side wrt in app purchases and steps taken to make it a little more difficult to run up huge charges.

Freedom Hater? (3)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 3 months ago | (#47588413)

Why is this phrased from the extreme viewpoint of one of the sides in the issue? The phrase "Why Do You Hate In-App Purchasing Freedom?" could be rewritten "Why Do You Hate Me Exercising My Freedom To Steal Your Kid's Cellphone By Trading It For a Cheap Toy He Wants?"

I'm sorry. The issue concerns In App Purchases that are engineered to allow gullible kids to rack up charges on their parent's phone.

Re:Freedom Hater? (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47588599)

So, how do they engineer forcing the parents to provide a credit card to the kids? My understanding is that no purchases can be made unless an account password is entered - that's a parental responsibility. They're not preying on gullible kids, they're taking advantage of stupid and irresponsible parents. Such stupidity should be painful.

Re:Freedom Hater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588633)

Many places want keep my credit card on file for convenience. Some I even let do it.

How long do sessions stay open? Buy something at noon and kid plays with the phone at 2:00 are you still logged in? They have an inventive for you to stay in an authorized session, why log you out at all?

Re:Freedom Hater? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 months ago | (#47588661)

They're not preying on gullible kids, they're taking advantage of stupid and irresponsible parents

Or parents who think that they can just let the kids do what they want now, to shut them up, and dispute the charges later with the credit card company. That way they don't "have to be the bad guy" with their kids either, by saying "no".

It's really screwed up, and I've seen it most in broken families.

My kids both have Android devices, and once in a while they'll get a gift card for a holiday, but by and large they just find stuff to do that's free. Do they have to earn their way up in games? Yep, just like we did as kids (here I'm willfully ignoring turning my paper route money into quarters at the arcade).

Re:Freedom Hater? (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about 3 months ago | (#47588915)

My understanding is that no purchases can be made unless an account password is entered

That wasn't always the case, and also a 15 minute window for "convenience" is clearly a loophole waiting to happen.

If this isn't a scam, that window needs to pop up every single time the app is hitting the user up for money. I do not give my son my password, and I've already told him I don't pay for in-app purchases ever (because individually I hate the practice), so he either needs to be able to play without, or find another game. However before all this became a big deal and the apps could hit the market without a password, there'd be lots of charges for crap that were purchased in game. Now that the awareness is out, there has to be the fear of God in app developers that they're going to lose their ill-gotten money if they don't play fair. I think the FTC has done that adequately.

If the app requires a password every time it racks up a charge (and iTunes/Play/Amazon stores do as well), then customers have no legitimate complaint about the charges. Either they gave their kids the password (idiots), or they authorized the charge. I have no sympathy for this crowd.

Re:Freedom Hater? (1)

Jiro (131519) | about 3 months ago | (#47588673)

Whoosh.

"Why do you hate freedom" is a phrase which, at least on Slashdot, is used only ironically. It means "this is the kind of thing which is pushed on the basis that everyone who hates it hates freedom". It doesn't mean that the person writing those words himself makes that claim.

Obvious and Intuitive (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 months ago | (#47588541)

What the fuck are these so-called "benefits" of a "15 minute open purchase window" that are so obvious and intuitive?

Forget about "the children". Who is so badly damaged as a person that they feel that it's currently just too hard to buy stuff online?

You know, I'm starting to think those kooks over at Adbusters might be on to something. We are one fucked-up society, and it looks like the marketing/industrial complex is in large part to blame.

Re:Obvious and Intuitive (3, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 3 months ago | (#47588743)

What the fuck are these so-called "benefits" of a "15 minute open purchase window" that are so obvious and intuitive?

Forget about "the children". Who is so badly damaged as a person that they feel that it's currently just too hard to buy stuff online?

Let's see... I want to spend £10 on some music. So I go to the iTunes Store. Find a song that I like, click on buy, and I'm asked to enter the password for my AppleId. The song downloads. I go on looking for other stuff to buy. Find another song, click on "Buy", and I have to type in my password again. Bugger. I go on looking for more songs. Click on "Buy", and again I have to type in my password. Fuck that.

Maybe it's hard to understand, but the same feature that allows _your_ bloody kids to spend _your_ hard earned money allows _me_ to happily spend _my_ hard earned money on things I like.

Re:Obvious and Intuitive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588847)

Turn off password requirement. You can do it. The problem with 15 minutes window was that parent turned ON password and there was nothing to indicate that the kid has 15 password-less minutes.

Re:Obvious and Intuitive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47589169)

So you had to enter your password 2 additional times. This takes, what, 1-3 seconds each time? Great! You saved about 5 seconds of your time! What a fucking huge benefit! /sarcasm

Re:Obvious and Intuitive (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 months ago | (#47589397)

Find another song, click on "Buy", and I have to type in my password again.

Jesus wept.

one thing i don't get (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588605)

Why would anyone give their credit card info to some random app?

I've never done that, and have never had a problem with behind-the-scenes "purchases", because the apps don't have my purchasing info to begin with!

Seems like a problem with a trivial solution. "It hurts when I do this". "So... don't do that."

"consumer benefits" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47588891)

What? There's zero benefits to those in-app purchases... they are just there because the devs gimped their apps so that you would be forced to buy some junk to make things faster instead of say, take 24 hours to "build" something.

wank tank (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 3 months ago | (#47588917)

free market think tank

pretty sure you mean wank tank

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