Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 31st Oct 2018 20:52 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

In the children's gaming app Doctor Kids, a popular purchase in the Google and Amazon app stores, kids get to play doctor in a children's hospital. They clean patients' teeth as a dentist, straighten crooked bones inside an X-ray scan, and play optometrist by helping kids with blurry vision find the right prescription glasses, all against a backdrop of brightly colored characters and a twinkling soundtrack.

Until suddenly, the game is interrupted. A bubble pops up with a new mini game idea, and when a child clicks on the bubble, they are invited to purchase it for $1.99, or unlock all new games for $3.99. There's a red X button to cancel the pop-up, but if the child clicks on it, the character on the screen shakes its head, looks sad, and even begins to cry.

Next time you see Tim Cook or Sundar Pichai on stage waxing lyrically about how much they value society and how humbled they are they are playing role in making the world a better place, just remember - Apple and Google are complicit in extorting money from toddlers.

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Comment by PJBonoVox
by PJBonoVox on Wed 31st Oct 2018 22:35 UTC
PJBonoVox
Member since:
2006-08-14

I'm usually the one who would come out and say "It's the parents' fault! They should be watching what their kids do!".

But the technique described seems like it is designed to play on their emotions, and that's not cool.

Edited 2018-10-31 22:36 UTC

Reply Score: 6

Comment by jimmystewpot
by jimmystewpot on Thu 1st Nov 2018 00:05 UTC
jimmystewpot
Member since:
2006-01-19

This is actually an output of a broken business model. The customer expectations of application pricing of "a couple of bucks/euros".. doesn't pay the bills for most developers so they are incentivized by trying to make a living to have "additional revenue streams", in this case the additional games, but often it's through in game purchases of life, health, cash to buy upgrades etc.

For my kids I would be happy to pay $20 or more for a game that was actually a game and not purely a revenue source for the developer. I support developers making money from their work, I just don't want me kids to be sucked in through deceptive business practices. In some countries if a physical shop front did this type of activity they would be shut down.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by jimmystewpot
by PJBonoVox on Thu 1st Nov 2018 00:37 UTC in reply to "Comment by jimmystewpot"
PJBonoVox Member since:
2006-08-14

By revenue source are you talking about repeated revenue? Otherwise I don't quite understand your point.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by jimmystewpot
by kuiash on Thu 1st Nov 2018 05:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by jimmystewpot"
kuiash Member since:
2018-05-21

This is an excellent point.

Advertising revenue is a repeated income. App sales only happen once.

Thanks.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by jimmystewpot
by kuiash on Thu 1st Nov 2018 05:38 UTC in reply to "Comment by jimmystewpot"
kuiash Member since:
2018-05-21

It's seems odd to me that 99p is considered "expensive" e.g. "I'm not paying that for an app!" when it's running on a £200+ device.

So, yes, you're right. Developers will try anything to make a buck. Not all of them but developers are just people and a reasonable percentage of them would happily sell advertising (it made Zuckerberg rich right?!) for basically anything. Junk food, sweets, emotion you name it.

I suppose my real query (in general) is why is 1 pound considered a barrier to purchase when many people would think nothing of buying other, tangible, goods for a pound for their children.

Why is that small cost considered prohibitive. When I spend 25 pounds on a synth for my iPad people look at me shocked. "WHAT! That's SOOO expensive". It isn't of course, not for the amount of pleasure I get from it and not for the amount of functionality I get. A 25 quid application can trivially replicate the work of a 1000 pounds worth of out board gear.

Maybe time will change this but I feel people have got into the mindset of "if it's on my screen it'd better be free"

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by jimmystewpot
by ahferroin7 on Thu 1st Nov 2018 12:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by jimmystewpot"
ahferroin7 Member since:
2015-10-30

It's not only software, it's just a whole lot more visible there. People don't seem to realize for some reason that quality and functionality are not something that you get for free all the time.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by jimmystewpot
by kuiash on Thu 1st Nov 2018 14:00 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by jimmystewpot"
kuiash Member since:
2018-05-21

"Pay peanuts, get monkeys".

Reply Score: 2

Comment by raom
by raom on Thu 1st Nov 2018 02:31 UTC
raom
Member since:
2016-06-26

I laughed quite a bit at that concept

Reply Score: 1

Not surprising
by r_a_trip on Thu 1st Nov 2018 12:19 UTC
r_a_trip
Member since:
2005-07-06

This is what happens when a walled garden creates expectations. In the early days it was fashionable to encourage asking low prices in the hope of boosting the app eco-system. The idea being that volume would make up for it. It only did two things. It flooded the app stores with cheap, low quality stuff and it made people wary of paying for anything. The expectation is that apps are abysmal in their quality and that the buck they cost is too much to pay for them.

I haven't purchased anything in years in the play store. It just takes too much time to sift through all the low quality detritus and it also is a chore to look up reliable app reviews. I predominantly use my phone as a portable browser, snapshot camera, IM tool and easy banking access. Oh yeah, it can also make phone calls.

So it doesn't surprise me that there are apps preying on defenseless toddlers. Lax curating and allowing in app purchases encourage these excesses.

Reply Score: 4

Cheap training
by Iapx432 on Thu 1st Nov 2018 14:32 UTC
Iapx432
Member since:
2017-09-30

My youngest daughter learned quickly from this malarkey. She is now far more astute than her older sister who was not exposed to these psychological pathogens at such an early age. In app peddling has taken the place of the "Be the first on your block to see through walls (i.e. clothing)!" comic book adds, that many of you are probably too young to remember.

Not much new under the sun!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Cheap training
by grat on Thu 1st Nov 2018 16:10 UTC in reply to "Cheap training"
grat Member since:
2006-02-02

The difference is that then you had to clip out the coupon, mail off money (thus needing envelopes, stamps, some form of non-cash payment), and then wait 6 to 8 weeks for delivery.

Now, you click the button, the money's taken out of your electronic wallet, and the bright-and-shiny thing is delivered nearly instantly.

It's like loading up the vending machine at the Circle-K with crack and meth.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Cheap training
by kuiash on Thu 1st Nov 2018 18:11 UTC in reply to "Cheap training"
kuiash Member since:
2018-05-21

My boy came out with a classic a few years back.

Various shovel-ware had ended up on the iPad and nearly all of it was made with the free version of Unity. One can tell as it's not possible to change the splash screen from the Unity logo splash.

Whenever he saw the Unity logo after that his response was "All their games are RUBBISH"!

Reply Score: 2

Somewhat on OSNews too...
by zima on Sat 3rd Nov 2018 19:13 UTC
zima
Member since:
2005-07-06

Hm, I got here an ad for "the most popular SDK to monetize kids oriented apps": http://kidoz.net/publishers/

Reply Score: 2

That's Capitalism
by TheForumTroll on Mon 5th Nov 2018 18:06 UTC
TheForumTroll
Member since:
2018-04-28

Only one place to put the blame: Capitalism.

Reply Score: 1