game_of_war

In the “How on earth did they manage to do that” section of the news, a Belgium boy has reportedly spent almost $46,000 USD (37,000 Euros) in the “free to play” mobile game “Game of War.”




While we’ve heard stories like this in the past, they are usually tied to children of younger ages who, arguably, don’t know any better. This particular story has a slew of things going awry in my opinion. While we don’t know much about the teenage boy, in most cases this boy probably knew better (barring of course a learning issue or other developmental concern). Second, the account used was his mother’s account so there’s certainly a concern with the parents maybe not watching as closely as they should have been. Third, how did Game of War allow this to happen?

While all of us may focus on all three of those points, the Belgian Gaming Commission has focused on that final question by saying that they “need stricter rules” to keep this from happening to other families.

In the original Flemish article, the boy’s mother claims that her account was not put on the tablet for the purposes of gaming. She asked her son to install some e-books for her since she was planning a vacation and she supplied her son with her card number to purchase the books. The card numbers found their way to the boy’s iTunes account and many (MANY) one touch “Buy” clicks later the $46,000 bill was tallied up.

Heads would roll at may house for this, but Google and Apple have issued refunds for similar situations in the past. Should they issue a refund in this case? Let me know your thoughts below!

the author

Mike "Magicman" Byrne has been a part of the MMOBomb family for years and serves as the site's current Editor-in-Chief. His love for MMOs and gaming in general has led him to covering games for numerous websites including Gamebreaker TV and XIV Nation where he proudly displays his fanboy flag for FFXIV:ARR.

33 Readers Commented

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  1. Sky on December 13, 2016

    He’s probably 17 now close to 18 years old and my answer will be irrelevant but I wanna comment anyway. But I think the parents should of gotten a refund if they promise to severly punish their son. Like sending him to a military school or sending him to juvenile prison or made him work off that money. Well one of the 3 options anyway but it’s 2 late now since he’s about 18 years old I’m sure he’s already about to turn into an adult if he isn’t one already.

  2. Big Boi on October 11, 2014

    Kids these days…

    Nope, I don’t think the parents should get a refund. No, I think the kid just needs a good ass whooping. Once upon a time you could beat your kids–I distinctly remember children listening a good deal better back then…

    No refund, just whoop his ass.

  3. anip on October 9, 2014

    Been done before
    Here:
    http://www.insidemobileapps.com/2012/05/08/how-japans-social-game-regulations-will-impact-gree-dena-and-the-u-s/
    “a boy in middle school racked up more than $5,000 (400,000 yen) in charges in a single month”

  4. LordHikaru on October 9, 2014

    i would of had to say good bye to all my friends because I would probably never be seen again if I ever did that when I was that young lol.

  5. StupidOrCrazy on October 9, 2014

    well.
    i will say it & don’t mistake the understand.
    i have bought many things, and i got many times cheated from a trusted company, even when i report or i call the police they always get some way to get out of the problem.
    so she lost 46.000 USA, it’s her problem. they must not got any refunds back.

  6. DeathDawg on October 8, 2014

    I don’t think this is exactly the parents fault. The mom trusted her son with her credit card information and he betrayed that trust.my parents trust me and i never did anything like this. And what the boy did was clearly theft, I think they should get a refund and sent the boy to a juvenile prison.

  7. Neverwrong on October 8, 2014

    he’s freak’n TOP 1 player, BRAVO!

  8. evilrofl on October 8, 2014

    I’m not satisfied with the obvious.

    Maybe there is a real obscured reason for his actions… He’s at an age where you seem to know what you’re doing. It’s possible that he was mistreated by his parents (or at least his mother). Maybe his parents didn’t care about him at all.

    I really believe one needs be better informed to be able to judge this case.

    • StupidOrCrazy on October 9, 2014

      agree. more information to judge the truth but.
      in fact the world doesn’t got a real information it’s just a lies around.
      few only say the truth from their hearts but what about the rest ?
      maybe the kid still scared from his parents, so he might lie to keep his parents always the true and he is the fault 😉
      life-style……………

  9. Frodo on October 8, 2014

    Belgian….BelgiaN…BELGIAN :p

  10. Vinal on October 8, 2014

    Might I add. At age 15, should the teenager be old enough to know about credit card things and money doesn’t grow on bitcoin, is already on a road to adulthood and should have understood or grasped the idea of financial responsibility.

    If he were 9 or 12 this is excusable. But come on, ask yourself were you that ignorant at that age? Big chance that your teenage self is way smarter than this boy

    • Vinal on October 8, 2014

      I watched a video about young entrepreneurs few years ago. A girl saved up money since 13 and did her own business so she can buy her own car at age 21.

      No excuse. This dude just want to fortify his dumb city or something.

  11. You trippin on October 8, 2014

    Those kids here talking about refunding the money, so adorable.
    Wake up lil ones and say hello to the real world.

    • Skyless on October 13, 2014

      My question is: If he is clever enough to make his mother trust him with her credit card, why would he spend such a HUGE amount of money at once? Or why would he play Game of War? 😐
      I blame the parents

  12. Andrew on October 8, 2014

    1. DAYUM! 46k on a credit card? That family is rollin in the dough.

    2. That kid isn’t Grounded…he’s more than likely already dead.

  13. Jellopy on October 7, 2014

    Hate to sound like a complete and total jerk but no,they don’t need to get a refund and further the parents need to push the issue of having the child charged and put in juvenile detention for a good six months and have him work his ass off until he puts for an equivalent of 46 grand in work. If they let this slip he’ll repeatedly do stuff like this in the future, learning nothing from it. There is no excuse for this at his age. His mother trusted him and he completely screwed her over for something so meaningless.

    • KainDarkfire on October 7, 2014

      Honestly, if you can’t be bothered to learn things yourself, of course you’re going to be jerked around by the tail by people- anybody really. This case obviously no different.

  14. mark on October 7, 2014

    should have invested that money into his future

  15. unholykrusher on October 7, 2014

    aren’t there limitations on her credit card? or her debit card for that matter. come on this is pure stupidity. unless these are accumulated over time it is just to far fetched to truly believe this is happening. the family must not be to hard up for cash if they have a 40K+ Spending limit on there Credit Cards.

  16. Razer on October 7, 2014

    The unscrupulous douchebags that made this scam of a game most certainly don’t deserve to keep any of that money. I have a feeling that kid is going to be grounded for life though.

  17. John Wayne on October 7, 2014

    “the account used was his mother’s account so there’s certainly a concern with the parents maybe not watching as closely as they should” Case closed…

    “Third, how did Game of War allow this to happen?” They did the exact right thing, getting rich. Cruel world is cruel.

  18. ericb on October 7, 2014

    You get proper warning also before you purchase things and even confirmation of what you are about to do. So NO they should not get any refund and that kid should get more then a slap in the face. It shows he does not appreciate his mom at all.

  19. OMGFrogz on October 7, 2014

    I must concur that the money should be refunded. But only to a degree, the kid’s 15. He should understand the whole credit card situation. So, I think only half should be refunded, but of course to show some decency to whole sum should be refunded. Well as close as possible. I know I shouldn’t even be talking I am 16 after all.

    Now for my own rant that should be ignored. That kid needs a slap in the face, as soon as he got into that game he should have known that there are micro transactions EVERYWHERE. One click of a button and “WOOPS” you just spent 100 dollars.

    On a side note, if you can understand ebooks and want to read it. It’s not that hard to go do it yourself… Unless of course… you’re my parents and… you don’t… understand English all that much. Which if you’re investing in an e-book cannot be the case.

    To wrap up, Yes refund the money, that kid needs a lecture, and some additional measures should be put in place if you’re under the age of 18. Like requiring the credit card number every time. (Tedious but hey, it’s safer!)

    • Skyless on October 13, 2014

      Some parents are too scared, or their child won’t teach them how. I teach my mom how to do stuff once, so I don’t have to help her again( unless she wants me to)

  20. Seraphyx on October 7, 2014

    Initially I would say no, they shouldn’t refund the money. Lessons have to be learned and people need to realize that they can’t just allow their kids to do whatever they want with their phones (much less CC numbers).

    However, there DO need to be stricter policies and security measures in place so this doesn’t happen in the first place. No game should allow people to spend that much money especially if the transactions are all in a short time frame.

    I don’t think they realize how incredibly screwed they would be if someone spammed thousands of dollars worth of purchases then issued a chargeback for all of them… Another question is why did the bank not freeze the credit or debit card? Either way, screw em. Give the people their money back and maybe game developers will learn to be sensible with microtransactions and game design. Or at the very least put in a max amount you can spend per week/month so stupid shit like this doesn’t happen since it’s unlikely people will ever learn themselves.

  21. Kyu on October 7, 2014

    I’ve been playing “Game of War” for the past month, and can’t see why anyone would put money into this. The game is nothing but an endless treadmill costing time and money. You start off with an empty base next to some other players. You can build buildings, an army, some wall traps, and research some basic stuff. This all starts off only taking 10 minutes to an hour. Within the next few days, you find yourself getting on to start some 15 hour upgrades, and 5 hour buildings. A week later you’re getting on the game to start upgrades that take a couple of days to complete.

    Once another player kills your army, who has likely spent money, because only players much more powerful than you attack you, you have to backtrack about a week to re-build up the resources to afford re-building your massive army. Honestly, in the month I’ve been playing, I’ve never been attacked by someone with equal power, and I joined a realm 3 days into its start. Many people spend hundreds and even thousands on this game. Even a guild member of mine was spending $100 a day to build and research faster to get revenge on people who attacked. It’s a joke. You spend $100 to save a weeks worth of time, when the game has years worth of upgrades making it so people who are comfortable spending money, will never be satisfied and continue to do so. People who plan on playing for free, can look forward to wasting a few years of their life waiting to be viable enough for PvP.

  22. Zarrix on October 7, 2014

    o, m and g about sum it up. i’m at a loss for words and i agree that spending such amounts with ease in ANY game on a singular account is a scam. i can see how this may happen in fault for itunes and the play store (which google has gotten a lot better) but the mother of this situation has really given the freedom of her money to her son she is heavily at fault here. this is just my opinion.

  23. Nots on October 7, 2014

    the fact that it is even possible to spend that amount of money in some game is a joke. Those “free to play” games are nothing more then scam. just like hearstone. they should be ilegal.

    • Annonymouse on October 7, 2014

      Alternatively, instead of making said payment model illegal, you could always just not spend money on F2P games instead of trying to remove people’s freedoms on how they decide to run a business.

      IMO the parents are to blame here. Trusting a 15 year old kid with access to 10s of thousands of dollars so that he can buy you books is just silly. Hopefully for the family’s sake the company that publishes this game will refund them however, since this is a rather excessive amount of money and even though i claim it’s the parents fault, mistakes do happen and I think a bit of human decency should apply here.

  24. Austin on October 7, 2014

    I have put money in games like Runescape for membership. other than that the maximum amount on money gone into a game for me is like. $120

  25. Bob Bobberson on October 7, 2014

    This really made an article? what is this AOL storys?

    • Apoth on October 7, 2014

      What in the hell are you talking about? This is the kind of shit that happens in today’s gaming community. Why did you even bother to post if you don’t care?

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