I was watching the WAN Show on Youtube and they featured an article about a father who received a CA$7,625.88 credit card bill from Xbox Live game FIFA (2016, I presume). I have long believed that DLC and micro transactions to enable characters/features is a mechanism to rip people off. Gran Turismo 6 has micro transactions that enables you to pay REAL cash for virtual cash to buy virtual cars in game, seriously, what the f**k is the point of buying the game if you going to pay $$$ to cheat? I have never bought DLC or add-ons, if they choose not to give me the full game, my money remains in my wallet.
Anyway, back to the story, first question I ask is; why on Earth do you give your teenage son/daughter a credit card, supposedly for “emergency use only” with an almost CA$8,000 limit or above? That in itself is asking for trouble, your children will push the limits of what they can get away with, even at 17 years old.
The father has contacted Xbox (Microsoft), his credit card company and understandably they have told him to suck it up. The credit card company said he could not dispute the charges unless his son is charged with fraud. And Xbox say that the purchases are legitimate; even though his son is technically a minor, stating that there are options to block online transactions built into the Xbox platform.
I can not confirm Xbox’s claim about parental controls restricting online transactions as I have never owned or want to own a Xbox, I have a PC; why do I need a Xbox? But I do know that all transactions on the PS3 and I’m assuming PS4 can be password protected for every single purchase made. Obviously you have to make sure your sneaky little children don’t learn the password, but you get the point.
The father is now vowing to never have any consoles in his home ever again, which I can understand, the $400 console has cost him $8,000, but he has to take some of the blame for the reasons I have outlined above. You can not reasonably expect a 17 year old to be responsible with a high limit credit card when they have no liability for it’s usage. I will never give my kids a credit card, even a low limit card, I would rather go down the route of pre-paid cards, which have a finite limit. I will always have control over computers, consoles and tablets, limiting what my kids can and can not do on those devices.
Getting back to the title, it’s not always made obvious in some games that transactions are REAL MONEY TRANSACTIONS and in some cases, it is made to look like part of the game, which is grossly misleading. Maybe making these transactions illegal is extreme, but there needs to be tighter regulation of these systems, with secondary “are you sure you want to charge $$$ to your credit card?” warnings and require a password to purchase by default, instead of having to go into settings to enable the password option.