A forum user of the Neogaf board was perplexed to discover that when he tried to register a Nintendo Network account for his daughter, he was prompted to charge a credit card with a one-time $0.50 fee to ensure that a ‘parent or guardian’ was actually authorizing the action.
This is apparently Nintendo’s attempt at ensuring that minors don’t access online features without parental consent, and it’s certainly a novel method. As a comparative example, on the Xbox 360, parental settings can be set up to ensure that whenever any major changes to a user’s account are attempted, the parental email account must verify the action. Now while this is a less intrusive way to try and ensure that any changes go through mom or dad, it’s also not too difficult to circumvent if the user knows (or, let’s face it, can guess) the required email password. Whereas the requirement for a credit card transaction seems to increase the difficulty for little Jimmy to independently make an account and start playing online and contacting other users.
Of course Nintendo’s method may not be entirely foolproof either. Crediting the nominal fee to one of the widely available disposal/pre-paid credit cards may be a potential alternative to getting a parent to sign off on the account creation.
Plus, though this is obviously a small fee, the question arises about why Nintendo doesn’t return the money once the transaction has been approved and parental consent has been (reasonably) implied.
Still, parents knowledgeable about console parental settings will probably welcome this added layer of security, and seeing as the credit card details don’t seem to be saved to the system, they don’t have to worry about their kids making any inadvertent (or, again, let’s face it, clandestinely intentional) eShop downloadable game purchases.
Article from Gamersyndrome.com