Well it looks like Capcom has smurfed its way into some iTunes App Store controversy. Capcom is the development company behind Smurfs’ Village, a top grossing iPhone game that’s free to download but charges users real money to purchase in-app content.
Apple reportedly had strong words for Capcom following a rash of customer complaints from parents alleging that the free app has resulted in huge iTunes bills on account of children purchasing excessively priced in-app content in the form of “Smurf Berries.” And when we say excessive, we’re talking in store purchases that range from $4.99 all the way up to $99.99 – and it’s not like kids know or appreciate the difference.
This is mainly due to Apple’s iTunes protocol that means that once your account password has been entered, all subsequent downloads, paid or free, don’t require the password to be re-entered for 15 minutes.
Pocketgamer reports that most parents who have lobbied complaints have had their money refunded, though it remains unclear if Apple or the Credit Card is footing the bill. As a result, Apple is reportedly exploring a new protocol wherein users looking to purchase content will have to re-enter their password within 5 minutes, as opposed to the current 15 minute lag time.
Meanwhile, Capcom is denying the existence of a rift.
“We are in a frequent communication with Apple,” the company said in a statement, “and at no point have they expressed any displeasure to any representatives of Capcom Mobile in regards to our handling of in-app purchases within Smurfs’ Village.”