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gdc 2014

Kid-Friendly Payment Options Coming To Consoles This Year

by Mike Futter on Mar 18, 2014 at 10:44 AM

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As microtransactions permeate more of the gaming industry, parents increasingly have to be concerned with excessive charges showing up on their accounts. Apple and Google have both recently been the target of lawsuits centered on the in-app transaction practice, with Apple settling for $32.5 million.

The free-to-play boom is already hitting consoles, which leaves Microsoft and Sony potentially vulnerable in the same ways. Oink, formerly known as Virtual Piggy, hopes to offer a solution. The company is getting ready to branch into more mature experiences, and is in talks with Wargaming (World of Tanks) and Crytek (Warface).

Oink is also in discussions with a major third-party publisher and console platform holders, and expects to reach agreements with them for rollout later this year. Oink CEO and founder Dr. Jo Webber tells us that the service is set up such that all transactions made are with an adult. This is designed not only to protect the account holder, but also the game companies from chargebacks related to unauthorized purchases.

Webber is confident that at least one of the console platform holders will be signed on by the end of 2014 (though she won't say which), and that the other might be on board by then, also. The third party publisher she mentioned should also begin participating soon.