With the advent of digital downloads on the major consoles, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have found a way to make additional revenue on retail games after purchase and from brand new digital-only titles. But, as one mother found out, such instant-buy systems can cost a small fortune if the gamer doesn’t realize what he’s doing.11-year-old UK gamer Brendan Jordan managed to spend around $1,600 on Xbox Live over the course of six months. He was buying additional content for the games he played, but also purchasing new games using Microsoft’s points system. According to his mother, Dawn Matthews, Brendan had no idea he was actually spending money taken from her credit card:Brendan is 11 and knows his times tables but it was only when I explained to him that he realised how much money he had spent. When I showed him he burst into tears. He unplugged the Xbox and said he didn’t want it anymore.I haven’t punished him because he feels bad enough and I know he won’t do it again. It is ridiculous to allow someone of his age to make payments without any checks being done. The credit card used for the purchases was registered when Dawn signed up for Xbox Live Gold Membership. What she didn’t realize is that the details of the card were kept so as to be used for future purposes such as buying Microsoft Points.Apparently complaints to Microsoft were ignored, but a spokesperson has now responded to Dawn’s case:With over 30M Xbox LIVE members across the world customer complaints of this nature are extremely rare.Microsoft’s goal is to provide parents and caregivers with tools and resources to manage their children’s gaming and entertainment experiences so that they can play in ways that are safer, healthy and more balanced. To accomplish this, we’ve built-in parental controls in every Xbox 360, work closely with retailers and recently launched the Play Smart, Play Safe website as an online resource for families.It should also be noted that LIVE accounts registered for children’s use have online activity automatically defaulted to off, these can be enabled by the parent should they wish in the Family Settings section. Read more at Mail OnlineMatthew’s OpinionI think the blame here has to fall at the feet of the mother. I don’t know of any credit card company that asks for payment every six months. You get a statement every month and the charges are clearly noted. She could have stopped this after one month, not six, and saved hereself most of the $1600 her son spent. As Microsoft also point out, online activity has to be enabled by a guardian if the console is registered to a minor.I also don’t understand how the son managed to spend so much without realizing. You have to purchase points to buy the goods, so he must have done this multiple times. This linked with the credit card statements Dawn must have received makes this a family issue not Microsoft’s problem to solve.The one issue I take with Microsoft is the use of points rather than applying a dollar value to everything on Live. There really is no need for it, and I would prefer to just know how much stuff costs rather than having to work it out myself.