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How Micro-Transactions Will Shake Up iPhone 148

Spanner Spencer writes "Talk to iPhone games developers, and the feature they're most excited about in the new iPhone 3.0 software is the ability to do in-game micro-transactions. And while you might wonder if this is just an excuse to get iPhone gamers to dip into their wallets even more often, it's actually a hugely positive thing for several reasons. Downloadable content, virtual items, subscription billing and fast-track social advancement are some of them, so Pocket Gamer looks into a bit more depth about what you can expect on the micro-payments side once iPhone 3.0 debuts."
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How Micro-Transactions Will Shake Up iPhone

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  • I hope Apple makes very sure that "micro-transactions" don't let developers try to keep slipping their fingers into my wallet quietly.

    As I understand it, $0.00 apps can't call the microtransaction API. That's why you can't buy new books in Amazon's Kindle app; you have to close it and open Safari.

  • by TinBromide ( 921574 ) on Monday June 01, 2009 @12:11PM (#28169267)
    I don't think that the slashdotters are afraid of individual dev's abusing the power, but instead when apple (which is a company with shareholders and a responsibiltiy to share holders and has a history of wishing to turn a profit []) decides that they want to follow other content market administrators and limit what dev's can give away for free. []
  • by webdog314 ( 960286 ) on Monday June 01, 2009 @12:22PM (#28169433)

    I thought the whole point about the App Store was that you could BUY an app (as in, ONCE). This is very different than services such as Verizon's Get It Now, which allows you to get a SUBSCRIPTION to an app that you will pay for again and again each month for as long as you own the phone (or cancel the subscription). I understand about being able to "try" something to see if it's worth sticking with, but come on, most apps for the iPhone are a buck or two. You pick up a dozen for the cost of lunch. And how long is it going to be before the average "micropayment" starts creeping up to near what the greater percentage of apps cost now (.99)? Poof! You're Verizon again.

  • by bickle ( 101226 ) on Monday June 01, 2009 @12:30PM (#28169531)
    Mircotransactions would be fine if they didn't morph into macrotransactions. Xbox Live is a great example. Games and add-ons were routinely priced at $5. A little pricey, but doable. Then a few started charging $10. But these were just larger, premium items (sure...). These days, a $5 item is a rarity, most are $10, with a few reaching to $20. We will get to the same situation as we are with full price games (if we aren't there already), where you can pay $69-79 for a special edition game, and still not have all of the content (Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter IV). Micropayment, blech. Mine are going to be so micro that the publishers will never see them.
  • by tattood ( 855883 ) on Monday June 01, 2009 @12:52PM (#28169827)

    I hope Apple makes very sure that "micro-transactions" don't let developers try to keep slipping their fingers into my wallet quietly.

    Yes, it is very clearly marked with a popup window that asks you "Do you want to purchase (insert item here) for (insert price here)" window that you have to confirm or deny. They showed an example of this in the 3.0 press conference when they announced it.

  • by TinBromide ( 921574 ) on Monday June 01, 2009 @01:27PM (#28170233)
    I apologize for that. Here's the proper link. []
  • Re:Huh. (Score:3, Informative)

    by keytoe ( 91531 ) on Monday June 01, 2009 @03:16PM (#28171841) Homepage

    This is currently true. While nobody can publicly discuss the exact terms of the 3.0 payment model without breaking the NDA, you can draw some conclusions by looking at the spirit of the current contracts. In short, the 'free means free' part of the payment model is to keep you from making a free app and then charging for it in some way other than the app store. In effect, they're saying that you must Give Unto Caesar or GTFO (or go free). Trying to get around giving Apple their cut is a good way to be stuck in the 'unexpected delays' black hole.

    With 3.0 offering in-app micro payments, you can now Give Unto Caesar with every transaction - so why NOT offer a lite->pro upgrade path? Apple still gets their tax, you get a cleaner process, the user is a lot less confused, and you can modularize your app like a good little developer. Everybody wins.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein