Belgian teen drops 37,000 Euros on free-to-play game

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Belgian teen drops 37,000 Euros on free-to-play game


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It's a steal! (Credit: Machine Zone)

The thing about free-to-play games is that they’re only free when you don’t spend money on them.

That concept was lost on a 15-year-old teenager in Belgium, however, who coughed up a jaw-dropping 37,000 Euros – that’s over $46,000 – on in-app purchases for the popular strategy game, Game of War: Fire Age.

Of course, it wasn’t his money to spend.

The teen’s grandfather was the recipient of the charges, reports Belgian news site Nieuwsblad. Initially, his mother passed on the credit card info while enlisting the boy’s aid in setting up her tablet to download eBooks. Somewhere along the way, the kid linked the credit card to his own iTunes account. He then went about buying in-game gold – and a lot of it.

How much, exactly? You can buy packs of 20,000 gold for $100, so we’re talking about roughly 9,200,000 gold pieces. The kid’s mother says her son claims to have not known he was spending real-world money, though that sounds a little fishy. After all, he was smart enough to link up a credit card to iTunes.

Regardless of the intent, these sort of nightmarish in-app purchasing sprees are hardly uncommon. Smurfberries, keys, mountains of food – the past few years have seen kids do terrible things to their parents’ credit cards simply to get a leg up in a free game.

The tide may be turning, however, now that the FTC is involved. Back in January, Apple settled a case to refund over $30 million in in-app purchases to disgruntled consumers (the company has since added an in-app purchase label to relevant apps.) More recently, Google settled to pay out $19 million in a similar case affecting the Android app store.

Europe in particular has aggressively pursued changes to the way Apple and Google handle in-app purchases. In response to a request from Europe’s Consumer Protection Cooperation Network, Google no longer calls games with in-app purchases “free,” though Apple has yet to comply.

The good news? Turning off in-app purchases for iOS devices is pretty easy. Here's how:

1. Go to 'Settings' and tap 'General'
2. Scroll down a bit and tap 'Restrictions'
3. Tap 'Enable Restrictions'. Now enter and re-enter a passcode, preferably something your kids won't easily crack (for instance, don't use their birthday.)
4. Scroll down to 'In-App Purchases' and simply turn it off.

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Some people have no willpower.

Another idiot kid then...

How could anyone not know they are spending real money? I mean come on, it isn't that hard to realise surely?

Bet Shiken that COD would outsell Battlefield in 2018. http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8749702

Good cause if hes dumb enough to spend that much money on a single game, he doesn't deserve it anyway


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that kid would get so much discipline from me.

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See free to play, you're ruining lives!

Bet with Xander XT: 

I can beat more games on his 3DS than he can on my PSVita in a month. Loser has to buy the winner a game on his/her handheld Guess who won? http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread.php?id=193531


No wonder SE is so thirsty for the mobile market lol

Back when I was like 11 years old I was playing Perfect Dark Zero and the guns in that game cost "credits" which I was paranoid were somehow linked to real money, so I didn't buy any guns for the first couple games I played lol

Seems these days it's the opposite - kids think in-game stuff is really free

Why... what, why?!

And afterwards he was actually claiming that he didn't know about the stuff costing real money? Yeah right...

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Yeah, he know that he was paying with real money. If they wanna teach the kid a real lesson, they take away all his gaming devices and make him pay all the money back.