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!