As developers continue to weigh the pros and cons of offering in-app purchasing in the mobile games they create, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) decision to settle a class-action lawsuit over the use of IAPs by children for $100 million sparked considerable disagreement across social media about how well consumers understand the way they work.
According to the terms put forth by Apple, anyone whose children purchased currency, medals, weapons or other virtual goods in an iOS app will be given a $5 iTunes store credit. There were some catches; it's up to the estimated 23 million U.S. consumers to prove they didn't give their children their iTunes account password, and that the IAPs were made by a minor. If they can prove their child spent more than $30, they will be entitled to a full refund rather than an iTunes credit, Apple said.
While some consumers applauded Apple's decision, there seemed to be concern among some developers that the company was giving into undue pressure from those involved in the class action suit:
Sheesh - its about time - apple game settlement cnn.com/2013/02/26/tec…— Natasha Brown (@writersd3sk) February 26, 2013
There were several comments that suggested unintentional or inappropriate IAPs from children could have been curtailed the issue long before Apple got sued.
What? I disabled in app purchases on my kids iPad - problem solved! ... Apple settles suit over in app purchases ow.ly/i7Oje— Brian Norris (@Geek_Nurse) February 28, 2013
Though Apple may be far away from completing payments according to the terms of its proposed settlement, the story may spark a larger discussion on how well IAPs are explained to the public at large, and whether or not there is an onus on parents to have a better idea of how children's games and apps work.
The result from making things too easy to use can be painful - "Apple settles lawsuit over in-app purchasing by kids" appleinsider.com/articles/13/02…— Krissada Dechokul (@boatboat001) February 26, 2013
Events like this are further indication that articles about IAP should strive to educate as much as provoke ire:eurogamer.net/articles/2013-…— Groping The Elephant (@GTElephant) February 28, 2013
Whether you blame the parents or the IAPs, however, most social media observers, including developers, seemed to think Apple would by no means suffer from paying out iTunes credits.
i'm guessing apple still made millions, despite the settlement. well played cnn.com/2013/02/26/tec…— Matt G (@msg317) February 26, 2013