Apple calls in Capcom over Smurfs' Village IAP controversy

Might reduce iTunes log in time period to pacify disquiet

Apple calls in Capcom over Smurfs' Village IAP controversy
Smurfs' Village is a top grossing iPhone game, but one which has proved controversial in terms of claims that many in-app purchases have been made accidentally.

And now it seems that Apple has had strong words with publisher Capcom about such purchases.

According to a well placed source, Apple has told Capcom in no uncertain terms that its freemium childrens' game has been causing problems with an increasingly significant number of parents who have complained that their children have been racking up large amounts of in-app purchases without their knowledge.

This is mainly due to Apple's iTunes protocol that means that once your account password has been entered, all subsequent downloads, paid or free, don't require the password to be re-entered for 15 minutes.

Not so freemium

It's a situation that has seen some parents getting bills of hundreds and thousands of dollars from their children who have unwittingly purchased in-app items - in this case Smurfberries - without realising the consequences.

Indeed, we hear that many parents have been refunded these "accidental purchases" although it's not entirely clear whether this is due to action from Apple, credit card companies or Capcom.

However, the rumour is that Apple is looking to tighten up its iTunes log in procedure, with the current 15 minutes default before relogging in reduced to around five minutes so that accidental purchases are limited.

Obviously, nothing is as yet confirmed, but with the number of freemium games for kids and adult exploding on the App Store, this seems like a logical move from Apple to control the flow of bad publicity from parents whose credit cards have been wacked by their free spending offspring.
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.


1 comment
View options
  • Order by latest to oldest
  • Order by oldest to latest
  • Show all replies
Any parent can set up restriction codes on a child's phone to prevent them from making in app purchases and can also set it to where iTunes will ask for a password every time instead of the 15 minutes as well and passwords can also b changed for iTunes as well. I have 2 kids who use iTunes and I have set up so that netime they r wanting to purchase content it has to go thru me first and I put in the password to avoid unwanted charges. They dnt know the pw and cannot make in app purchases and also will ask for password for iTunes immediately even if the app is free so that way I have control ove what my kids r buying or even getting free. There r too many adult apps and some even free that a child can get into so I do this to avoid things like that and a big bill as well. Not only that u also have the option to take ur credit card off of ur acct so that things aren't automatically charged to it and just use the iTunes cards which I have also implemented as well. It's alot safer and easier that way so u can limit what a child spends