The latest craze in iPhone app development, specifically for games, is to create "Free to Play" games. Unlike an earlier trend for selling $0.99 games in large quantities, this one gives away the games for free, but offers purchases of consumable things within the app.
Trey Smith explains the trend by showing how much more money companies can make by giving away their app, and then sucking cash out of addicted gamers who just have to have that $5 powerup.
With Riley's iPod restored somewhat to working condition after the screen repair, he's been asking for more "free" games. It's easy for Berta to agree to it because the game is free, and Riley makes that argument vehemently. What neither of them realize is that the game has a subsequent expensive upkeep, depending on how necessary the consumable in-app purchases are.
MacRumors recently reported on changes in Apple's iOS6 that allow free apps to be installed without entering the Apple ID password. They have apparently reverted this change, and it's always been possible to lock the device down more regarding installing apps, but it's still a pretty chilling thought that kids could be allowed to freely install, play, and become addicted to games that earn their money after the "purchase". It's like giving someone their first taste of a drug for free.
Even not for the kids, I have a twinge of excitement when I see a game that looks fun but is offered for free. Then I look through the in-app purchases and see things like "Handful of Diamonds $1.99". It's very disappointing. I would appreciate it if Apple would somehow mark these apps - free apps with consumable in-app purchases - so that I could skip over them entirely, or even better, filter them out completely. I suppose that they'd also need to offer some way for app developers to provide trial versions of their apps other than unlocking features with in-app purchases. Although, I understand that this is a long-requested feature, since refunds on full apps within 15 minutes is something that Android offers.