Office of Fair Trading to investigate ethics and practices of IAP in youth-targeted games

UK government scrutinises F2P kids games

The UK government has expressed concern over the way IAP is used in some children’s free-to-play games.

Its Office of Fair Trading, which enforces consumer protection and competition law, and monitors business practice, has expressed concern that some games may be using ‘unfair’ practices in encouraging children to spend parents’ money through IAP.

The concern comes from numerous high profile cases where youngsters have spent four-figure sums of their parents’ through games.

"We are concerned that children and their parents could be subject to unfair pressure to purchase when they are playing games they thought were free, but which can actually run up substantial costs," Cavendish Elithorn, the OFT’s senior director for goods and consumer, told the BBC.

The OFT is set to investigate whether ‘misleading, commercially aggressive or otherwise unfair’ practices are to be found in the games development space, and is keen to hear from parents who believe that they have come across practices that push in-game purchases onto their offspring.

The OFT has no plans to ban free-to-play or IAP, but wants to be sure developers and distributors are complying with relevant laws, states the BBC.

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