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Study: Half of In-App Purchases Come From Only 0.15% of Players 144

An anonymous reader writes "Have you ever seen a goofy microtransaction for a mobile game you play and wondered, 'Does anyone actually buy that junk?' As it turns out, few players actually do. A new study found that only 1.5% of players actually spend money on in-app purchases. Of those who do, more than 50% of the money is spent by the top 10%. 'Some game companies talk openly about the fact that they have whales, but others shy away from discussing them publicly. It costs money to develop and keep a game running, just like those fancy decorations and free drinks at a casino; whales, like gambling addicts, subsidize fun for everyone else.' Eric Johnson at Re/code says he talked to a game company who actually assigned an employee to one particular player who dropped $10,000 every month on in-app purchases." Meanwhile, in-app purchases have come to the attention of the European Commission, and they'll be discussing a set of standards for consumer rights at upcoming meetings. They say, 'Games advertised as "free" should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved.'
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Study: Half of In-App Purchases Come From Only 0.15% of Players

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  • by muffen ( 321442 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @03:33PM (#46369771)
    The problem with in-app purchase is that it is destroying the games. I agree with this article.
    I think the suggestion by the EU, that you cannot label apps with in-app purchases as free, is really good!
  • by galabar ( 518411 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @03:42PM (#46369875)
    I've played games like "Path of Exile" where I've enjoyed the game so much, I decided to drop $20 or so on in-app purchases, even if they weren't going to actually help me advance in the game. I've done the same for other apps that I've enjoyed. If you enjoy the game, it can't hurt to reward the developer. Now, $10,000, well that is a bit extreme.
  • Re:0.15% vs 1.5% (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @09:57PM (#46372869)
    I downloaded that game for my kids when it first came out. I promptly deleted it when I realised how much nagging it does to get kids to make in-app purchases. In-app purchases in games aimed at pre-schoolers and elementary school age kids are unethical in the extreme, and should be the first thing regulators go after.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982