You’re probably familiar with those game apps with the option of purchasing five extra hearts to continue playing. Or maybe you want to buy an add-on feature to decorate your character. These additional features of a game – costing only a couple dollars at a time – can snowball into amounts that you can’t (but the game companies can) imagine!
According to Candy Crush Saga, the company makes $2.1 million a day from their in-app add-ons. These choices within the games have taken heaps of money from users like Kensgold, a 19-year-old who is seriously into gambling. He has spent over $13,000 in microtransactions – and he’s not the only one. NPD reports that consumers have spent $30.4 billion where $24.5 billion were on content including power boosts and level skips.
The most worrisome part of this problem is one that most users are not even aware of. When the buyers give up their money for these features, they may think “Oh, at least I’ll own it forever.” Right? Wrong. When users buy these items, they are only paying for the license. In other words, they only own it as long as the company allows them to. If, for say, Amazon signs off a contract with Kindle. Then your books that you purchased through Amazon will disappear into thin air, gone forever!
Mashable suggests the following tips:
- Purchase physical games, books, audio that you can keep for yourself.
- If you do buy online, look for services that allow you to keep backup downloadable files.
- Check an app before downloading if it offers in-app purchases.
So, these microtransactions may as well be called macrotransactions, unless safety practices are exercised with awareness.