Out of nowhere, Capcom's Smurfs' Village beats Angry Birds as highest grossing Apple App Store game

A game called Smurfs' Village is taking the iTunes App Store by storm, and if you can believe it, in just a short time it has already surpassed Angry Birds as the top-grossing iOS game. But there are real concerns about the game's purchasing system.

Smurfs' Village itself is a free download. The game makes its money by charging players for in-game currency known as Smurfberries. Your average adult ought to be able to identify and knowingly agree to or decline microtransactions in the game, but children may be more easily duped, and that's where the controversy is coming from.

Apparently, here's what's happening: Dad goes into the App Store to download Smurfs' Village for his daughter. He logs into his iTunes account to trigger the download, then lets the daughter have at it. But to Dad's dismay, Apple iOS keeps him logged into his iTunes account for 15 minutes after the purchase, and unless he's disabled in-app purchases in his device's settings, his daughter can unwittingly rack up a hefty bill without ever being prompted for a password.

And we mean 'hefty.' One "bucket" of Smurfberries is $4.99. That's the lowest denomination. Three wheelbarrows of Smurfberries costs a stunning $59.99.

A recent review of the game on reads, "Steer clear of this scam. Allows the user to spend a lot of real money without requiring a password. It should be removed from the app store."

Perhaps the game isn't doing anything technically disallowed by Apple, but it certainly doesn't appear to be making an effort to prevent children from buying its unusually expensive content without approval from their parents.

The game is published by Capcom, which hasn't sent out an official reaction to the criticism. For now, though, it's earned the designation of highest-grossing iPhone game of all time... with a possible asterisk.


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  • Nodoudt - November 18, 2010 5:24 p.m.

    I dunno why you guys are freaking out so much...those damn berries are a hard commodity to come by in THIS economy...
  • db1331 - November 18, 2010 1:06 p.m.

    God I hate phone "gamers"...
  • Syncmaster - November 18, 2010 11:56 a.m.

    capcom is famous for their ripoffs, at least on the DLC market. wouldnt expect anything else. how many smurfberries for a night with Smurfette??
  • Hobojedi - November 18, 2010 7:09 a.m.

    There sure is a monopoly on the smurfberry market.
  • Zepaw - November 18, 2010 3:27 a.m.

    I despise these freemium games, it is ruining iOS as a gaming platform. Why set a flat rate for games when you can milk your customers? NGmoco used to have a pictionary style game for a few bucks. They recently rmoved it and brought out a remodeled version of the game free with things you can buy to help.
  • CH3BURASHKA - November 18, 2010 3:07 a.m.

    Thanks, Capcom! The article title is confusing without knowing the details - it was baffling to think that Smurfs were still THAT popular.
  • ventanger - November 18, 2010 3 a.m.

    Uh oh... I smell lawsuit... which coincidentally smells of smurfberries.
  • Engage183 - November 18, 2010 2:58 a.m.

    I agree with Vanilla, if your kid(s) don't know any better about what they're actually doing, or if the parents don't resarch it first, you shouldn't give them a friggin iphone/ipod touch but to their defense, that is a kindof a cheap move for Capcom to do, they'll probably come out to PR saying "Oh we fixed it now so that you need permission we had NO idea that it was doing that..." this is released JUST after capcom made Jill and sho-gath only available if you get the Collectors Edition -____- did i mention I <3 VALVe? XD
  • Crabhand - November 18, 2010 1:26 a.m.

    Surprising to see this from a Capcom game, it seems like something from a lesser known developer. Or one that specifically builds stupid apps, like Zynga.
  • n00b - November 18, 2010 1:16 a.m.

    i though that was in game money not REAL F-ING MONEY for the price of three wheelbarrows of Smurfberries you could get.. oh i dono marvel vs capcom 3, which just so happens to be another game made by capcom. decisions, decisions
  • PlainLikeVanilla - November 18, 2010 12:44 a.m.

    If your child isn't old enough to know better you shouldn't have given them an ipod.

Showing 1-11 of 11 comments

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