Many people are convinced that micro-transaction riddled free-to-play games are the scourge of the gaming industry, and will result in the entire industry a crumbling mess. That may be a little extreme, but there’s certainly an inherent distrust of games bearing the “F2P” label. You may start seeing fewer games with that label.
Complaints about inadvertent in-game purchases are common enough that the European commission has looked in to it, and is taking action by meeting with developers and tech companies.
“Consumers and in particular children need better protection against unexpected costs from in-app purchases,” consumer policy commissioner Neven Mimica said in a statement. “National enforcement authorities and the European Commission are discussing with industry how to address this issue which not only causes financial harm to consumers but can also put at stake the credibility of this very promising market. Coming up with concrete solutions as soon as possible will be a win-win for all.”
The biggest issue they seem to have with the “free-to-play” moniker is that it amounts to false advertising.
“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,” the group said.
Games, especially those mobile ones on your phone and tablet should cut out buttons and the like for purchasing in-game items like “Buy Now!” or “Upgrade now!” – especially if they’re targeted at children. Their aim is to make it so that any purchases within a game are done explicitly, without any ambiguity.
This won’t make free to play games go away, of course – they’ll just be called something else…like not-really-all-that-free-to-play.
Last Updated: February 28, 2014