Even celebrities need to be careful about how they have their permissions set up when it comes to in-app purchases for mobile games. In fact, given the money they make, maybe celebs need to be even more careful, as Jack Black can attest.
Black told his tale of woe Monday night on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. His son Sammy, who will be nine next month, apparently took a liking to “this one game he just discovered” with “monsters and stuff, and every monster, you’ve got to buy it.” Black explained that it’s 99 cents per diamond, but Sammy was able to purchase a sack of diamonds — actually, make that 30 sacks of diamonds, each one $100 a pop.
Needless to say, Black wasn’t happy about a game he says was “marketed to children” with IAPs of that magnitude. He did, however, use the experience as a teachable moment, by the sound of it.
His story also might have a happy ending, as Black apparently called the company behind the game and sounded like his fame might get him a refund. Other folks aren’t as lucky, so while there’s plenty of blame to be spread around in cases like this, here’s the moral: if you have kids playing mobile games on your device, it’s up to you to ensure they can’t make IAPs by ensuring the settings are arranged accordingly. Better yet, don’t even fund your iTunes account with a credit card, use gift cards instead so there’s a limit to how much spending can be done if things go awry.
That still leaves one big question unanswered, though. Which game was Black’s son hooked on? It says something about the current market when he could be describing about six different titles, but I’ll leave it to you to figure out exactly what that might be.
You can hear the entire story in Black’s own words (skip to around the 2:00 mark for the relevant part) in the clip below.
(Shout out to Daniel George, editor of our sister gaming site GameSided, for digging this up.)