BRB UK 88: Artiticulated Goats

Hello! It’s that time of the week for some Anglicised gaming goodness – Jon’s still mystified by calendars, so Dan and Tim are once again joined by Coleman, the official BRB UK stalker.

This week’s ramblings include:

  • Details emerge on new Hitman title
  • Microsoft reveal a Titanfall-themed Xbox One controller
  • Apple forced to refund parents for the in-app purchases made by their sprogs
  • Steam Greenlight turns off the light
  • Sim City (finally) gets its ‘impossible to do’ offline mode
  • The Unity engine adds Vita support
  • Starbound

We appreciate you chaps and chapettes taking time out of your week to listen to our show. For your convenience, you can simply download the MP3 by clicking HERE or you can subscribe via iTunes, RSS or Zune and stay up to date.

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Comments

  1. Good show guys. Some well-artiticulated arguments made.

    Guacamelee was one of my favourite games last year. Well worth investing some time in. It gets quite difficult as Dan said but is the definition of funstration.

     

  2. I feel more like I belong having been ribbed by Dan.

  3. p1ge0n

    Oh boy…

     

    I have to disagree with you guys completely on this occasion guys. It’s not a simple case of “oh it’s just down to stupid parents” and frankly I find that sort of blanket statement a tad insulting. Have you ever looked or seen some of these apps with absurd in app purchases target specifically at kids?!

    I have a 3 year old sister and my step mother often lets her use the ipad, she plays basic colouring in games and “dot to dot” games. because hey, it’s free right… i mean there is a big red label stating that it’s free so why wouldn’t you let a 3 year old play those games. i mean she has colouring in books sure, but she gets bored of those quickly because she’s a child. I sat and watched her colour in a “hello kitty” image, after a set time had expired a big button flashed up asking if she would like the image coloured in for her for you know a small fee… now… my sister can’t read… she’s only 3 for christ sakes but she pressed it… not because she needed help colouring in but because it caught her attention. we didn’t get charged for it sure but that’s because it’s password protected… but only because i had previously intervened and informed my parents. not because i thought “oh my, my parents are idiots i need to teach them a thing or two.” but because it’s taken me long enough to get my head around how in the hell such apps can exist without some freaking regulation! This is predatory behaviour on the app developers part reminiscent of those phone lines you could ring in the early 2000’s where you would unknowingly enter a year long contract in order to download one polyphonic ring tone. I consider those a scam, and i sure as hell consider hello kitten colouring in app purchases a scam too. I can no for the life of me understand how people can defend these sorts of apps.

     

    I for one am happy that Apple has to cough up for this, hopefully this will make them wise up and put some regulations to stop greedy app companies releasing apps with ridicules in app purchases. how in the hell any one can justify even being able to spend £2,600 on any “game” called “barbies hotel tap” is freaking insane!  

  4. I think the argument revolves around personal responsibility. For example, I usually give my 6 year old nephew my Vita when I visit home as he loves it. It keeps him relatively quiet and entertained. However, this Christmas, I found out that he had accidentally purchased Muramasa Rebirth when messing around in the menus (thankfully, he had the good sense to mess around with quite a good game).

    Despite holding the opinion that Sony should restrict Store purchases with an additional request for your PSN password, I have absolutely no qualms about holding my hands up and saying I was stupid to give my nephew my Vita unsupervised. Neither Apple nor Sony (in my case) should have to accept parental responsibility for how children use your tech.

  5. p1ge0n

    Sure, you don’t need to have a card registered to your vita, also the vita doesn’t have any apps like the hoard of apps designed purely for young kids designed to coax kids into tapping on colourful buttons that cost money.

     

    In order to use your idevice you need to register a card to it, also none of these “apps” are regulated, as the venders (Apple, Sony, whoever) need to take responsability for what kind of rubbish they are “selling” in their stores and there should be no way in hell you should physically be able to spend £2,600 when playing a game designed for 6 year olds.  

  6. Actually, I am fairly sure you do not need to register a card on your Apple device for it to work. I don’t have one myself but had to set up almost fifty of them through work. There was a ‘None’ option in the card registration during the set up.

    As mentioned, I agree all companies should provide adequate safeguards around this kind of thing. The outright exploitation you describe will also hurt app developers and the platforms they are on in the long run too – unless they are stamped out.

    But, in my opinion, personal responsibility should never be surrendered or taken for granted.

  7. spikeychris

    My 17 month old son managed to book at £75 groupon on my iphone.  He plays a few little games on it (giggle time I think its called and a few others) and had my phone playing one of these games.  Next thing I know I look down and see “thank you for booking this groupon…”.  Turns out the last time I used groupon they saved my card details, without my knowledge, and I had to phone up to have my card details removed and the purchase refunded (which was actually fairly quick and easy).  However at no point does the app make it clear your card details are stored, there is no way to remove said card details in the app or their website and you have to phone up to have them change it so it doesn’t automatically save it.

  8. WarMachine

    spikeychris said
    My 17 month old son managed to book at £75 groupon on my iphone.  He plays a few little games on it (giggle time I think its called and a few others) and had my phone playing one of these games.  Next thing I know I look down and see “thank you for booking this groupon…”.  Turns out the last time I used groupon they saved my card details, without my knowledge, and I had to phone up to have my card details removed and the purchase refunded (which was actually fairly quick and easy).  However at no point does the app make it clear your card details are stored, there is no way to remove said card details in the app or their website and you have to phone up to have them change it so it doesn’t automatically save it.

    That is some shady business practice, You should definately complain and insist they allow you to use an easier method to remove card details and allow users  to choose whether to save their card details or not.
    I never keep my card details tied to something longer than I need to. I even remove it from amazon and paypal after I know I wont be making purchases for a while. It may seem parionaid but it means that evens if someone manages to hack my amazon or paypal account they wont be able to use my money :-)

  9. Ricardo Kirkabon

    Another fun show. Though can somebody assure me Jon is ok. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from him. 

     

    Something that technology (which my phone has just autocorrected to “hat technology” for some reason) has not caught up with is how easy technology has made it to spend money. With two or three taps of a screen I can order anything on Amazon because the app automatically saves all of your details. 

    As somebody who frequently lends his phone and tablet to small children, I now place it in Airplane mode (Shirley, you can’t be serious) to make sure they cannot spend any money while I am not looking. 

  10. Ricardo Kirkabon

    Can’t help but feel children making in-app purchases would have made a perfect Great British Debate. Those were the days…

  11. spikeychris

    WarMachine said

    spikeychris said
    My 17 month old son managed to book at £75 groupon on my iphone.  He plays a few little games on it (giggle time I think its called and a few others) and had my phone playing one of these games.  Next thing I know I look down and see “thank you for booking this groupon…”.  Turns out the last time I used groupon they saved my card details, without my knowledge, and I had to phone up to have my card details removed and the purchase refunded (which was actually fairly quick and easy).  However at no point does the app make it clear your card details are stored, there is no way to remove said card details in the app or their website and you have to phone up to have them change it so it doesn’t automatically save it.

    That is some shady business practice, You should definately complain and insist they allow you to use an easier method to remove card details and allow users  to choose whether to save their card details or not.
    I never keep my card details tied to something longer than I need to. I even remove it from amazon and paypal after I know I wont be making purchases for a while. It may seem parionaid but it means that evens if someone manages to hack my amazon or paypal account they wont be able to use my money :-)

    See I could complain but I really can’t be arsed as groupon won’t ever do anything about it.  I learned this the hard way with O2 after several months of complaining I never even got my complain acknowledged by them.

  12. Ricardo Kirkabon

    spikeychris said

    See I could complain but I really can’t be arsed as groupon won’t ever do anything about it.  I learned this the hard way with O2 after several months of complaining I never even got my complain acknowledged by them.

    Can I suggest using twitter (and including the company’s official twitter handle in the tweet) to complain? I always find it very effective. Companies are frequently very conscious thar twitter is very public and very global. 

     

    For or example I have  National Care Hire’s North West regional manager’a personal mobile phone number (and instructions to use it to book my next National car) after complaining via twitter. 

  13. p1ge0n

    Diarmuid said 
    Actually, I am fairly sure you do not need to register a card on your Apple device for it to work.

     

    I’m pretty sure I have had to enter card details on two occasions. I could be mixing it up with having to store the details in order to make any purchases from the store (even when completely free) and quite frankly if you have an ipad and no access to the store then you might as well just use it solely for web browsing. 

    Either way, my beef is with the exploitative nature of these apps. 

  14. Stygmata

    Loved this episode, great work as always guys!

     

    On the whole Apple debate, I don’t think it’s black and white (is anything?!). I agree with P1ge0n in that there is a wide range of apps that are exploitative in the most cynical ways, which I find abhorrent. There is, however, still an additional responsibility on the parents to ensure that devices are used safely and sensibly. All too often irresponsible parents wash their hands of their responsibilities and blame everyone else but themselves.

    If Apple had put tighter controls on things from a front end point of view, it would certainly help, but no one party is to blame here, and yet it’s one party paying the bill, which seems a little unfair.

    In summary, the App makers, Apple and the parents are all equally responsible in my opinion.

    They should offer to settle with everyone by way of motorised artiticulated goats, and that way, everyone’s a winner!

     

  15. Zombellic

    In regards to the “do you need to have card details for an apple account” yes you do even to purchase free apps. I don’t believe changing your details to a non existent card would work because I have been blocked from downloading apps because the bank has sent me a new card for my account. 

     

    Apple has been force pay the money because once a password had been used any “Buy” made in the next 15 minutes did not require another password and Apple never put any warnings about this which makes them liable not the unknowing parents giving their children the ability to spend at will.

  16. p1ge0n

    Zombellic said
    In regards to the “do you need to have card details for an apple account” yes you do even to purchase free apps. I don’t believe changing your details to a non existent card would work because I have been blocked from downloading apps because the bank has sent me a new card for my account. 

     

    Apple has been force pay the money because once a password had been used any “Buy” made in the next 15 minutes did not require another password and Apple never put any warnings about this which makes them liable not the unknowing parents giving their children the ability to spend at will.

    I was pretty sure that was the case.

  17. If Apple had put tighter controls on things from a front end point of view, it would certainly help, but no one party is to blame here, and yet it’s one party paying the bill, which seems a little unfair.

     

    But Apple are the ones that will have profited substantially from this. hmmm I bet they will still be better off having done this than not.

     

    But, in my opinion, personal responsibility should never be surrendered or taken for granted.

     

    I am all for responsible parenting but do question the morality of a £75 doughnut (or similar) in a kid friendly game that is specifically designed to fool people into confusing whether they are spending real money or not. hmmm

     

    Either way, my beef is with the exploitative nature of these apps. 

     

    Glad I am not the only one who thinks that Apple are in the wrong here, but it isn’t *just* due to my desire to protect the weak or the stupid (which Dan/Coleman/Jon obviously doesn’t care abouttongue) but stems from my desire to protect the games industry. There is the argument that the FtP business model is only sustainable as long as you are attracting in enough Whales (or people with more money than sense to put this in non-marketing terms) but any gaming business model that involves microtransactions or DLC (or similar add-ons) can often be underwritten by the obscene amount of money that a comparatively small percentage of heavy users pump into the game.

    While I would argue that there are some of these users who could do with greater levels of protection, it is likely that they are either capable of making stupid decisions (and entitled to do so) or at least not spending someone else’s money without their permission. As such I think that is a fair (or certainly fairer) market to try and exploit. By not regulating this properly themselves, I have always argued that Apple/Game devs run the risk of losing this valuable section of the market just for the short term, shady moral gain of tricking children. I fully expect at some point in the future for there to be guidelines set in place (i.e. by government rather than Apple, if Apple don’t do so first) that will set hard limits on the maximums that can be taken in any one transaction or an overall maximum taken by any game. It will be the normal user/average gamer that will be expected to make up this short fall in income.

     

    They should offer to settle with everyone by way of motorised artiticulated goats, and that way, everyone’s a winner!

     

    You, sir win the internet…and a cookie! thumb

  18. p1ge0n

    Totally agree with you Tim on all points!

  19. Aurochs

    Good show chaps, cheers!

    Pretty much all my thoughts on in-app purchases have been voiced already; it’s just a little sleazy to be honest. They’re companies trying to make money at the end of the day, but it’s definitely a slightly dishonest way of doing it.

    In other news, can confirm that Starbound is pretty good fun! thumb

  20. spikeychris

    Another fun thing that phone companies are now allowing is the charging of people to access content through popups you cannot stop or most of the time see due to the number of redirects.  I opened a link to something that was apparently fairly benign and got put through a long list of redirects until eventually my iphone decided it didn’t like it and safari crashed.  Next moment I get a text message from a company saying I have been charged £5 for accessing a movie (I think it may have been porn but I didn’t dare open the link for fear of being charged again).  Phoned up O2 and they won’t refund it. 

    So beware of the links you click on your iphone it could cost you a fiver without you ever knowing.

  21. steroidtulip

    The answer is very simple . Do as I do . Never have any money , then your card will never work ! Easy sad

  22. spikeychris

    steroidtulip said
    The answer is very simple . Do as I do . Never have any money , then your card will never work ! Easy sad

    Depending on your bank they can and will automatically accept the transaction even if you don’t have the funds.  Bank of Scotland/Halifax were always a good one for that. 

     

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