European game developers might be in trouble. We have received reports that the European Commission is unhappy with developer who are using microtransactions model in their Free to Play games.
If you look at the statement given by justice commissioner Viviane Reding, the sternness of European Commission’s approach is clearly visible in it.
The commissioner actually stated that the game developers are lying to the gamers:
Misleading consumers is clearly the wrong business model and also goes against the spirit of EU rules on consumer protection.
The European Commission will expect very concrete answers from the app industry to the concerns raised by citizens and national consumer organizations.
The European Commission also issued an official statement on the matter of game developers who call games free to play but ask for microtransactions:
The use of the word ‘free’ (or similar unequivocal terms) as such, and without any appropriate qualifications, should only be allowed for games which are indeed free in their entirety, or in other words which contain no possibility of making in-app purchases, not even on an optional basis
Isn’t it a little funny? The law enforcement agencies might have some point in all what they are saying but if you really look into it, ‘free to play’ means the game will be free if you want to ‘play’ it.
Although gamers who play titles using the micrtransactions model might end up paying more for the overall experience, technically they got the game itself for free. However, it is a long story and quite a lot of us have disliked the high dependency on in-game purchases.
Do you think game developers should be banned from advertising their games as free to play if there are microtransactions in them?