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.