Europe is looking to correct the perception of current free-to-play games in its region, which are free to download but then press the user to make in-app purchases for a ‘better’ experience.
A commission set to discuss complaints and issues surrounding this is going to be met by Apple, Google and the UK’s Office of Fair Trading. During the meeting the following points are going to be addressed:
- That games should not mislead consumers as to their true cost
- That games should not contain direct exhortations to children to make purchases or get adults to do so for them
- That purchases should not be debited through default settings without explicit consent from the consumer
- That traders need to be contactable by email in order to resolve queries and complaints
The commission further stated that it intends to improve consumer protection and wants developers to stop calling games free if they have in-app purchases.
Last month the Office of Fair Trading suggested that consumers should be told upfront of the amount of in-game advertisements to expect in a game, and the true cost of a title which includes in-app purchases as well.
“Misleading consumers is clearly the wrong business model and also goes against the spirit of EU rules on consumer protection,” said Commissioner Neven Mimica, the one responsible for consumer policy. “The European Commission will expect very concrete answers from the app industry to the concerns raised by citizens and national consumer organizations.”
EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding further stated that “Europe’s app industry has enormous potential” and to make use of that, consumers must have confidence in new products.