It’s a scene being replayed across the United States: A parent remembers watching The Smurfs on television as a child, and promptly downloads Smurfs’ Village, the free iOS game featuring the lovable blue creatures, for their son or daughter to play.
Then the iTunes bill arrives.
Thanks to in-app purchases made by a five year old, Papa Smurf has gobbled up lots of real money to buy virtual Smurfberries in the game.
Now it appears, Apple is striking back.
According to PocketGamer, Apple has had “strong words” with the publisher of the game, Capcom Interactive, Inc. This comes after an “increasingly significant number of parents” have complained about the purchases and asked for their money back.
Capcom, for their part, has done nothing wrong. They simply took advantage of a loophole Apple had created for in-app purchases.
As part of Apple’s iTunes protocol, once an account password is entered, all successive downloads, paid or free, do not require the password to be re-entered for 15 minutes.
While it is not known what steps, if any, Capcom plans to take after its talk with Apple, a new policy may soon be announced.
Instead of 15 minutes, Apple might cut the time between password re-entries to five minutes.
Still, this news hasn’t stop Capcom (or Apple for that matter) from making a huge amount of money. Since its debut last fall, Smurfs’ Village remains a top grossing app, despite being “free.”
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