Unfortunately for the father, it seems that his child has become what company businessmen in the app sector call a “whale” because a 7-year-old kid spends $5,900 of his father’s money on Jurassic World iPad game. This whole sum was achieved over the course of 5 days, between the 13th and 18th of December, leaving the father, UK citizen Mohamed Shuggaa, to realize that his kid had some fun during December after his debit card was declined.
Although the iPad was blocked through a password, his child most likely noticed his father enter it and simply memorized it. Shuggaa contacted Apple once the bill reached him, claiming that the company should have contacted him after they saw how large amounts of money were shoved into the Jurassic World game, given the fact that up to this point, he had never made transactions similar to this one.
Apple support, even if claiming at first that nothing could be done, has refunded the entire sum of $5,900 with the added piece of advice consisting of enabling Touch ID on the iPad or have a higher degree of security concerning his password. The option of making a separate account for his son is viable as well, but switching from one account to another on the iPad is rather tedious and time-consuming.
Mohamed Shuggaa does indeed raise a rather important point. Apple should function as a banking company in regards to money expenditures done through their service. Once several transactions, that have not appeared in the past, are made, an email should be sent to the account pointing out these expenditures. Apple does have pretty secure Parental Controls, but if your offspring manages to get hold of your password, these are deemed completely moot.
Games like Jurassic World are well known by market aficionados as veritable money traps, some of the specifically designed to allow a higher degree of ease-of-access towards payments made by kids. This may be seen by the general public as malicious business practices, but they are viable nonetheless and completely legal, even though unethical. It falls to parents to ensure that their device does not fall into their children’s hands without any supervision.
In regards to the “whale” title awarded by businessmen refers to how in-app purchases work. Even if the public may think that app profits are made in a widespread manner, with numerous small-sized transactions, this is not entirely the case. Almost 75% of the total purchases made through an in-game marketplace, paying for boosts or other similar bonuses, are accounted by only 8% of the total user base. If you are part of that small group, you are deemed a “whale”.
Most mobile gaming companies have the specific focus of attracting as many “whales” as possible so that their game can rack up large sums of money. If one would go to conferences and events aimed at businesses instead of the gaming demographic, one can easily see panels entitled “How to attract whales” and “In-game purchases for children-viable tactics”.
Bearing in mind the fact that a 7-year-old kid spends $5,900 of his father’s money on Jurassic World iPad game, parents should start paying more attention to their kids when they are on iPads or iPhones. Everyone is vulnerable to this kind of event, and that is entirely the point of these apps’ design, to make in-app purchases as easy to do as possible, so that children of any age can simply press a button and spend large amounts of money.