15-Year-Old Kid Spends Over $50,000 On Gold In Free-To-Play Game

15-Year-Old Kid Spends Over $50,000 On Gold In Free-To-Play Game
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He spent 37,000 euros, or $53,377, according to today’s conversion rates. More than some people make in a year!

Horror stories about how much money people have spent on stuff you can buy in games have been around as long as there has been microtransactions and in-app purchases. But one teenager in Belgium went absolutely crazy with the amount of money he poured into online strategy game Game of War: Fire Age.

According to Belgian news outlet Nieuwsblad, the unnamed kid was reportedly buying in-game gold via his grandfather’s credit card. The credit card info was given to him by his mother, who had requested her son’s help to buy and download eBooks onto her tablet. After linking the credit card to his own iTunes account, he spent thousands of euros on gold in Game of War: Fire Age over the course of a couple of months. The boy’s mother says that he claims not to have known that he was spending real money.

There’s been recent concern about the messaging around in-app purchases in similar free-to-play games, which has led the European Commission to strongly recommend that apps built on the business model no longer call themselves ‘free’. Google’s App Store has changed its policies to fall in line with the new rules. While Apple hasn’t followed suit, the company behind the iPhone and iPad has intervened in the past when kids have unwittingly made large in-app purchases. We’ve reached out to representatives for Machine Zone, the company that makes Game of War: Fire Age and will update this post if we hear back.

[via NeoGAF]


  • Don’t apple require you to put in a password to buy now that is on by default? I thought there was some EU requirement.

    • He linked the card to his own iTunes account, so that wouldn’t have been a problem for him.

      But what about how it was the grandfather’s card, and the mother gave the details to the kid?! Unless the mother is an authorised holder, she may get in trouble for fraud.

      • She likely is, though, in that situation. That said, I find a lot of these cases to be BS, especially hiding behind ‘I didn’t know it was real money’. BS. Apple and Google make it blindingly clear you are spending real money, far more than they get credit for. There is only so much they can do, and when you give your kid a credit card, there is literally no way for the other side to tell if it is ‘legit’ or ‘not’. 50K is insane, sure, but there are people out there who can spend that and not care.

  • I honestly have no idea how he didn’t know he was spending real money. It says it just about everywhere that it uses real money. Does he not know what a credit card is?

    • “credit card info was given to him by his mother, who had requested her son’s help” – he knew exactly what a credit card was and how to use it.

  • these companies know exactly what they are doing, and therefore they are the most evil scum of the earth and are giving gaming a very bad name.

  • The credit card info was given to him by his mother, who had requested her son’s help to buy and download eBooks onto her tablet.


    Don’t do this. Learn how to do stuff yourself. Don’t be closed-minded adults.

    That’s like saying, “I don’t know how to get a home loan and pay off a mortage. Thankfully my 15 year old son who presses ‘Accept’ without reading term and conditions, or even stops to comprehend what the hell he is about to do, is going to help me”

    • A company which I shall not name supplies the boss’s credit card details to certain key members of staff for billing of company expenses and certain other purchases. Note the CC is in his name, not the company’s name.

      The bills are audited in detail each month and the number of people who have those details is quite small; I’m not aware of any abuses. I think he does it this way to get credit card points.

      I’m not sure whether he’s ever stopped to think about the awkward position his staff would be left in if an abuse was discovered.

  • My kids don’t know the passwords to anything in the house. We all use the same account so they ask me or the old lady whether they can download anything. Only problem is when Game Centre wants to put my gaming progress on multiple devices…’you used 47 of my hard earned gems for WHAT in Clash of clans?’ Is pretty much an everyday sentence in my house lol

  • According to the article, the kid was 15…. There is no way he didn’t know what he was doing, if the kid was like 8 or something then it would be debatable but a 15 year old has no excuse.

  • They can’t blame supercell games they need to put parental lock on kids don’t understand anything I would rather go get an App Store iTunes card and activate then buy gems or gold or elixir or dark elixir

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