Here at Cult of Mac, we’ve got our own axe to grind against freemium App Store games that try to get kids to max out their daddy’s credit cards with expensive in-app purchases, so it’s nice to see The Daily Show take freemium game makers to town in an absolutely hilarious, spot-on segment that shows how scummy these waters of the App Store can really be.
The report is by Daily Show correspondent Aasiv Mandvi, who reports primarily on a game called Tap Fish 2, which gives kids control of their own fish tank… and charges a pretty penny if kids want to, say, feed their favorite fish more found when they run out, instead of just watching them swim, suffer, then die.
According to Tap Fish 2‘s creators at Gameview Studios, this teaches kids valuable life lessons about responsibility… lessons that a developmental expert also interviewed by Mandvi says are completely lost on kids, who are willing to max out their parents’ credit cards just to avoid seeing a “living creature” die.
This report is a complete skewering of disreputable freemium game makers. The best part is when Gameview Studios CEO Rizwan Virk visibly squirms when Mandvi suggests they call the parent of a child who spent over $1500 on in-app purchases in Tap Fish 2 on the phone, saying he’d prefer to deal with such an encounter “via e-mail.” I bet he would: the parent eventually heaps obscenities upon Virk for twenty minutes.
Mandvi’s brief encapsulation of the freemium trend is just perfect: “Turns out these games are free, up until the point when you don’t want them to suck.” Indeed.