UK game industry trade body TIGA has urged the European Union to adopt the Office of Fair Trading’s recently announced principles regarding the use of in-app purchases in online and mobile games.
Last Friday the European Commission said it had received of complaints across Europe on free-to-play games, and would be looking into the model, discussing the matter with developers and platform holders on how to make the business more transparent.
Commissioner Neven Mimica said consumers and children needed better protection against "unexpected costs" from in-app purchases.
The OFT had stated it was looking to work with global partners for a clear set of rules on IAPs when publishing its own principles for the UK, and TIGA CEO Richard Wilson has called on the EC to adopt the measures it has already laid out, which come into effect from April 1st.
“TIGA welcomed the OFT’s principles for online and app-based games because they should help to protect consumers and clarify the responsibilities of games businesses," said Wilson.
"TIGA hopes that the EU Commission’s investigation into F2P games will result in the adoption of the OFT’s principles by consumer regulators throughout the EU.
“It is important and welcome that the OFT is working with international partners to implement a consistent regulatory approach towards IAPs. If this did not happen then UK consumers and export-focused UK games businesses could be hurt by unscrupulous practices from overseas competitors.
“F2P can be of great value to consumers and developers alike. This is because the F2P business model allows consumers to play extremely high quality games entirely free before actually spending any money. A report published by TIGA in 2013 showed that typically 95 per cent of consumers playing a F2P game don’t spend any money at all.
“However, it is important that the game industry adheres to high standards. The game industry, working with the OFT, is at the forefront of establishing and following best practice principles in respect of F2P games and IAPs. We look forward to the OFT’s principles being adopted throughout the EU.”