While freemium games are a developer’s new way to make a lot of money, such as Candy Crush that was reported to be raking in $633,000 per day, they are the bane of parents around the world where there have been reports of children racking up thousands because they thought that the items they were purchasing were free, due to the app being free itself.
Some kids probably had no idea what they were getting themselves into, while others probably did not think it would add up to much, but either way the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has had enough and are launching an investigation which will hopefully allow parents and children to be better educated when using freemium apps.
The ACCC are not alone in this and together with 50 agencies globally, plan to engage with platform operators, such as Google with their Play Store, and Apple with their iTunes App Store, to see what can be done about this.
According to the ACCC’s Deputy Chair, Delia Rickard, “Consumers need to be aware that ‘free’ may not mean free. Games and apps in the ‘free’ area of an online store may be free to download but attract costs for in-app purchases. Some of these apps are marketed for children, who do not connect the game they are playing with spending their parent’s money in the real world.”
We’re not sure what will be the result of their investigation, but hopefully we will start seeing less reports of parents getting bill shock at the end of the month. What do you guys think? Any ideas on how the freemium model can be better managed to prevent such cases in the future?