In response to a complaint about Just Dance 2019’s Kids mode on the Switch mixing in songs that require a monthly subscription with the free ones, a spokesperson for Ubisoft said the publisher is currently working on solving the issue.
Just Dance 2019 came out a couple weeks ago, and as with other recent entries in the series, its catalogue of songs is divided up into ones that come with the base game and ones that are only available with Just Dance Unlimited subscription, which costs $4 for a day, $6 for a month, and $35 for a full year. The game also comes with a Kids mode that’s easier and showcases songs geared toward younger ages. The mode still includes songs that require the Unlimited subscription, however, which is what led one parent to complain about the practice in a post on the Switch subreddit.
“Bought the game for my son (6) because he loves to dance,” wrote the parent in question, who goes by darkheartsmd. “Was going fine until he tried selecting the song about sheep in the kids mode. Every time it would ask him to subscribe.” Other commenters in the thread likened it to advertising to minors, which is restricted in some regions.
“I just don’t see how they could be spamming my son in the child mode to pay them money,” they said.
Many parents contend with this problem in other games with gated-off paid content, like Fortnite. While there are ways to restrict kids from making unauthorised purchases on a console, anyone who’s ever tried to come between a six-year old and something they think they want knows that’s hardly the end of the matter.
As Eurogamer pointed out, part of the irony of the situation is that Ubisoft markets the Kids mode as “a safe space for Kids to have fun and enjoy dancing”. The choreography is designed with children in mind and stuff like XP, challenges, and other mechanics from the main game have been removed from this mode. So the notification to pay for a subscription to access certain content seems out of place.
“We realised that the labelling of the content in-game and the difference between what’s included on the cartridge/disc and what’s available in the Just Dance Unlimited streaming service in the Just Dance Kids mode could be confusing for our players,” said a spokesperson for Ubisoft in an email to Kotaku. “Just Dance is a game that’s meant to be accessible for everyone, and it’s really important for us to provide the right information to help parents and players make informed decisions within the game. We are currently working hard on solving this issue as soon as possible.”
Ubisoft didn’t elaborate on what “solving this issue” would entail, but one possible fix would be to add an option to have songs that require a microtransaction simply filtered out of the Kids mode.