… even when it works, freemium has a dark side. In fact, along with boatloads of cash, it’s starting to earn a bad name. Part of the problem is simply that in-app purchase and kids are a bad mix: last year the FTC forced Apple to refund $32.5 million worth of in-app purchases made by children. Since then Apple has added tools for parents to prevent this sort of thing, but you still have to marvel at the gumption of a game like Disney’s Maleficent Free Fall, a “puzzle-adventure” based on the movie, in which players can buy a “Cauldron of Magic” for $49.99.1
As far as I’m concerned, ‘freemium’ is the worst thing to happen to the gaming industry since… well, ever. The in-app purchase mentality is starting to work its way into console gaming, a development that actually made me happy about how little gaming I do anymore.
- From Time Magazine, June 22, 2015, The Candy-Colored Ninja Doodle Angry Flappy Baby ↩