Nintendo doesn’t want you to spend too much on its mobile games

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Nintendo iPhone
Nintendo wants some of your cash, but not all of it.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Nintendo

Nothing pleases Nintendo more than fans enjoying its game, but the Japanese company doesn’t want them spending too much on in-app purchases.

Nintendo has reportedly told development partners like DeNA that it wants them to limit micro-transactions to prevent its loyal fanbase from dumping too much of their hard-earned cash into free-to-play titles.

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App Store
More than a dozen apps have been removed this week.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

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Screens remote desktop iOS
Has Apple changed its mind about Steam Link?
Photo: Screens

Why freemium apps suck for everyone (and how Apple is killing paid apps)

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Only one of the top 200 grossing apps is a paid app
Paid apps are an endangered species: Only one of the 200 top-grossing apps on the App Store is a paid download.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

I work on an iPhone app called Reps & Sets as a hobby project in my spare time. This week, my partner and I came to the conclusion that there is no future for our app as a paid download, so we have reluctantly decided to make it free.

This was an incredibly tough call, because we have invested literally thousands of hours in developing our app over the years. Giving all that hard work away for free is heartbreaking. But we didn’t feel we had much choice.

Kid racks up almost $6,000 on Jurassic World in-app purchases

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Jurassic World
Cloning dinosaurs comes with a price tag. Who knew?
Photo: Lydia

Aside from a few big developers, no-one much likes in-app purchases, which have long been used to ruin mobile gaming on iOS.

However, the parents of 7-year-old Faisall Shugaa probably like them less than most — after their son racked up almost $6,000 in IAP bills, including $2,200 spent in just one hour.

In-app purchases flaw exposes developers to costly hacks

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App Store icon
With 2 million apps, the App Store is almost too big.
Photo: PhotoAtelier/Flickr

Sloppy coding in some popular iOS games allows hackers to give themselves and others thousands of dollars’ worth of in-app purchases for free.

The hole was discovered by developers at DigiDNA, creator of a backup tool called iMazing that allows iPhone and iPad users to access their devices’ hidden file systems. The developers found that the app backup/restore feature in iMazing 1.3 exposes weaknesses in the way games like Angry Birds 2 and Tetris Free handle in-app purchases.

To demonstrate how easy it is to hack in-app purchases using this method, the DigiDNA team tweaked Angry Birds 2 to start the game with 999,999,999 gems — the equivalent of $10,000 of in-game credits.

How Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff keeps the laughs coming

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Exclusive behind-the-scenes sketches show Quahog destroyed by Peter's fowl archnemesis. Photo: TinyCo/Fox

Hit TV show Family Guy followed a trajectory that’s very similar to Apple’s. The show appeared as a breath of fresh air early on, underwent a decline during which it almost vanished, then made a triumphant return.

In that way, Family Guy always seemed a perfect fit for iOS. Earlier this year, that pairing finally happened when developer TinyCo debuted Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, a mobile game that follows Peter Griffin and the rest of the Fox TV show’s colorful supporting cast as they rebuild the town of Quahog after it’s been destroyed.

Six months down the line — and with the game currently in the middle of a haunting, courtesy of its Halloween update — Cult of Mac spoke with the developers about Seth McFarlane, making games funny, and the perils of in-app purchases.