Home Gaming My wife is a whale and yet I still love her

My wife is a whale and yet I still love her

3 min read


Have you noticed the proliferation of the free games on the iStore or Android markets? Have you ever wondered how these guys can make so much money from games that are totally free and quite enjoyable to play? Well I will tell you how.

All these games have something in common and that is in-game purchases; you can spend a little money to make the game that little bit easier or to add something cool to the game. Most people don’t do this but a very small portion of gamers are classed as whales by the developers of these games as they put in a relative fortune to continue enjoying these “free” titles.

My wife is a whale

Yes my wife is a whale. I didn’t know this until this month but I’ve come to realise this is an undeniable fact. All her in-app purchases get invoiced by iTunes and all these invoices go to her Lazygamer email account that she never ever checks as we only set it up for iTunes.

Thus each of those mails comes to my inbox and I just delete them… I’ve literally never opened a single one until Tuesday this week when I clicked open instead of delete by mistake and noticed a few in-app purchases.So being the investigative journalist I am I decided to go back into the archived emails and pull up the invoices for July… and only July.

Prepare to be amused or shocked depending on how you feel about this.


Yes 10 invoices in July alone and we are only on the 18th of the month. Take out the 3 movie rentals and it comes to a total of $47.68 or R469.47 solely on cheap in app purchases. This is not a totally weird month; she can easily spend $50 a month on in app purchases which makes her a bigger contributor to the gaming industry than the majority of gamers out there who buy a new AAA every second month.

Oddly enough she isn’t the only whale in my family, according to the developers my mother is also a whale. Yet she’s an accidental whale.

An Accidental Whale?

My dad recently left on a trip and before he left he topped up my mom’s iPad with $100 in case she wanted some movies and books while he was away. Older generation struggling with topping up credit and all that.

Anyway she let my cousins play on her iPad and they managed to download a fashion game of some sort and within 30 minutes they had blown $98 on lipstick, outfits and shoes… R1000 on virtual fashion items which has made some developer out there very happy indeed. So these whales definitely exist; my wife is one and yet I still love her. I won’t show her how to buy iTunes vouchers on www.evopoints.co.za (our friends who have the best local website for point purchases) but yes I still love her.

So I’ve aired my dirty laundry in public now it’s your turn. How many whales do you know and do you think this new-found money pit is a good or bad thing for the future of the AAA titles which originally made the industry what it is today.

  • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

    This is what is WRONG with gaming and apps these day!!!

    Admiral Chief does NOT approve, at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Trevor Davies

      Don’t lie – I can see you eyeing that Lollypop Hammer 😉

    • RinceWind

      Nor does Rincethis! I wouldn’t!

    • Argentil

      Ja, I feel the same way.

  • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

    Hence the figures are all wrong, you think these guys get money because the games are doing so well?

    HELL NO!

    Its because of accidental clicks and so on. FILTH I tell ya, FILTH.

    Look, if I download a game, and its fun (here is looking at you Puzzle Force) I will gladly support the devs.

    • CrasH

      Pen and Paper adventure. Don’t even really play tablet games, but could not stop till i finished it.

  • Guess who is not getting supper tonight :p

    • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

      Oh snap, or “dessert”

    • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

      Couch time!!

      • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

        Forget the couch. It’s dog box time

        • HvR

          I think Candy Crash has one for $2.99

          • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew


  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    Good grief Gavin 0_o.

  • Kromas

    My name is Kromas and I am a whale. This month I am doing really well though with only $11 spent. then again $120 went to steam for games I most likely won’t play.

  • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

    All I can say is, buy flowers now!……hell knows no fury like a wife scorned

    But in terms of a topic, I know more accidental whales than actual whales, I for one think it’s horrible, I don’t like it, I wana buy a game and have a complete package. IAP for those type of games don’t mean anything to me as long as it just for those impatient people

    • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

      I can understand the accidental whale in the case of above with the old people lending the device to the kids.

      But I never understood how people can say they accidentally purchased something in game because let’s be honest. To do so you have to click the item, it then redirects you to your store (iTunes or Google Play) where you have to accept the purchase and provide a password. You can’t just “missclick”

      • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

        exactly. “Oh man I accidentally clicked on the store icon, then I accidentally chose my item, then I accidentally accepted terms and conditions and I accidentally looked my download bar to complete”

        • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

          But I do feel bad for the unsuspecting victims where they lend out the device only to find things have been bought 🙁

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            Happened to me a few times lol, understandable but man…..dat bills 🙁

          • Alex Hicks

            I have twin boys. Just turned 5. I’ve got my google play account automatically linked to my credit card. I’m removing that now – since one of my boys really likes Angry birds – but less to play; and more to watch the game play itself.

            Heck, I found him 6 pages deep in the Rovio developer’s pages on google play (you know the bit … Users who purchased this also purchased this … click).

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            LOL did you take identification off also (Entering your password)? that was my downfall 🙁 …. so when someone clicks pay it automatically goes through… I know that feel man

          • RinceWind

            Actually, not if you are logged into your Xboxlive. If I have my account set up so that when I turn my console on it logs in, all I have to do is click ‘buy’ and it charges my credit card. I think it only asks twice as well.

          • Alex Hicks

            Just tried to do a purchase on google play on the tablet. phew – asks for a password. *wipes brow*

            Of course it has the checkbox “never ask me again” … if he guesses right 🙁

      • lol my mom would kill you if she saw you calling her old 😉

        • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

          I am so sorry! I did not mean anything nasty by it.
          DOH. Remove right foot from mouth. Insert left foot.

  • Sir Twakkus

    Man she really loves them Candy Crush.

  • jerriep

    Gavin, I read an article a week or so back stating that something like 80% of the money being made in the iTunes store is from the in-app purchases of these “free” games. Unfortunately I cannot find the article right now, so I stand to be corrected on the exact percentage, but it was exceptionally high

  • ElimiNathan

    Oh no she didn!!!!

    • RinceWind

      Oh hell she DID!

      • ElimiNathan

        That shits crazy yo!

  • Warren Ross

    Interest’s sake: the term “whale” in this context was (I believe) coined by stock traders who refer to the big money players (and therefore the big commission targets) as “whales”.

    • Alex Hicks

      Even more interestingly, I used to work for an online casino; and our big customers are also referred to as whales. I find it more than mere coincidence that the online gambling industry and the “pay-to-win” developers share the term, I feel they share the “lack of moral fibre” and “desire to fleece millions” too …

      • RinceWind

        Damn, just saw this 🙂

    • RinceWind

      Yeah, it’s also used in casinos for big players.

  • Hammersteyn
    • ElimiNathan


    • RinceWind

      Brilliant! Good job sir.


    • JincksLotus

      hahahaha absolutely brilliant

  • RinceWind

    What!? No way man, this is shocking. I never realised one could spend this much on microtransaction shit! I literally just bought Xcom, Dishonoured and Hitman for less than this one statement! *Falls over in shock…

  • RinceWind

    What I would like to see now, is Gavin’s transaction list… Or is this actually his? WIFE you say Gavin, REALLY? How do we know, HOW DO WE KNOW!

    • My transaction list includes a couple $0.99 purchases to the train ticket in Candy Crush as I prefer not to FB spam.. and then new games and movies.

      I don’t think I’ve ever paid for a micro transaction

      • Ultimo_Cleric N7

        And yet If you buy something random for yourself, you get into trouble, right?

        • lol no.. I spend way too much on useless crap

          • Ultimo_Cleric N7

            Hahaha. ^^

          • good answer 😉

      • RinceWind

        Nor I. I don’t think I will, ever. Not only because OVG will remove my skull and use it as a football should I ever. I buy games that are finished, as in, it’s all there. I don’t mind the occasional patch (still irks me to hell) or extra DLC ala Borderlands, but buying clothes or weapons in a game goes against the gaming I want.

  • Argentil

    Wow, that’s pretty shocking. I mean, I might purchase R100 worth of keys in Dota 2 every couple of months as a treat, but that’s Dota 2. That game has infinitely more depth and investment than Candy Crush saga. I know you can’t quantify these things, but it’s a shocking perspective into the success of in-app purchases and the f2p model. If your wife were to realised how much money she spent monthly, she might even be surprised.

  • RinceWind

    This is like Asura’s Wrath. @360Mirror:disqus bought it for R600 for my Bday, and after ‘finishing’ the thing, we realised actually, if you want to finish it, you need to bond your house, sell your car, live on one kidney, and then, JUST, you can see the final chapter.

    • Yip and they cut out the fight against RYU for future DLC.
      But I suppose we did kind of get away with a good game that was not totally raped by CRAPCOM

      • RinceWind

        Also very true. Awesome game! I wonder, was it Asura’s Wrath that created OVG RAGE?

        • ASURA has got nothing on me after I have read another article relating to my hobby getting but fondled by another GREEDY ASSHAT SUIT.

          As for the Bone… do not go there.

  • Trevor Davies

    It’s not really much different from buying vanity items in normal games. Like the Borderlands 2 skins I totally didn’t buy. Totally.

    • RinceWind

      Me neither, you don’t need to. When they have a new dlc come out they often give them away for free. Recently they threw out mods for free too.

      • Trevor Davies

        They’ve certainly hit on something with their shift codes.

        • RinceWind

          I love them! I get all ‘it’s birthday time’ excited! But then again, this year’s birthday was totally cluster fu**ed with Aliens: Colonial Marines. I’ve decided I will never have a birthday again in protest…

  • Trevor Davies

    Where they catch you with these things is the price, because what’s $1 really? It seems small & insignificant, until you start adding up all the $$$.

  • Noodlez49

    I for one am all for it. I’m going to relate to Kingdom Rush. It is by far my favorite Tower Defense game on my Ipad and I have bought more Heroes to either make the game easier or just to see how they are, not because I was forced but rather because I was more than happy to support the dev’s that created the game for my enjoyment. Same with Gavin’s Whale, she is clearly getting her daily fix of enjoyment from Candy Crush and supporting the dev’s.

    With continued support the dev’s finally released a second edition of Kingdom Rush and as usual I supported them again and have clocked some hours on it again.

    This just has to be self moderated and avoiding impulse buy’s are key, ohh and not completely sucking at gaming and having to continue to buy more lives in a game surely helps

  • loftie

    My fiance forgot to keep tabs on her credit card and blew R20000 (the limit on the card) on coffee, simba chips and droewors and other crap over a 3-4 month period. Bank calls every few days asking for payment etc etc, she’s learned her lesson. Checks her account everyday now. heheh 🙂

    • Hammersteyn

      Damn, lesson well learned

    • CrasH

      oO simpe solution, notification… can enable it on any account and get a sms when you spend cash and will tell you how much is left/owed?

  • Ultimo_Cleric N7

    Gav, you gotta crack that whip pal. That is FAAAR too much money on App purchases every month. Hot damn!
    Was so funny, I just kept on scrolling and scrolling and got more shocked as I went along.

  • FoxOneZA – X-Therminator

    Wii U – R999
    Nunchuk controller pack + Sensor bar – R999
    Nintendoland – R400
    Trine 2 – R99
    ME3 – R300
    New Super Mario Bros – R599

    All in about a month :/

    • Ultimo_Cleric N7

      WHERE DO YOU ALL GET THE MONEY!! *runs off and cries in a corner

      • FoxOneZA – X-Therminator

        The console is going for cheap they said XD

        • Ultimo_Cleric N7

          Hahahaa! Marketing hypnotism………ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL OF THIS BUDGET.

      • RinceWind

        You see, if you own a console that is more powerful than a PC, we don’t need to upgrade, it saves us money man, you should try it! Toll level 9000 reached

        • Trevor Davies

          Toll level indeed given how much you pay for games! *cough*

          • RinceWind

            Lol! Agreed, R600 is a fortune. Did managed to get some nice ones recently for R129 a piece. Though I hate Xcom at the moment. It owned me last night. OWNED ME.

          • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

            Do tell?

        • FoxOneZA – X-Therminator


    • fred


      Wii U – 949
      motionplus controller – 350
      sensor bar – 189
      New super mario U – 580
      Nintendoland – 200
      the last of Us – 569
      Sonic Racing Transformed U – 180
      Pilotwings resort 3DS – 99
      Lego Lord Of the rings PS3 – 200
      Resident Evil 6 – 200

      also in about a month…..

  • Guest
  • Weanerdog

    I bought a virtual tank once, a Chinese one for about 30 euro.

  • DrKiller

    I think this is a sensitive subject for some Steam users 😉 Heard of a guy last night who spend over $450 on Steam specials

  • Brenz

    I have a confession…

  • Craig Boonzaier

    Sounds like what is happening to me on the Steam Summer sale.
    “It’s only 2 dollars, that’s basically free”
    Lots of 2 dollars later, they start to add up.
    Then I founf out last night I can level up the badges, sigh….

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