Europe Wants To Regulate Free-To-Play Games

The European Commission is holding talks with member state authorities and companies such as Google and Apple in order to reach an agreement to enforce stronger regulations on free-to-play games.

The European Union's executive body is concerned that a substantial number of free-to-play games are marketed as free but dupe customers into purchasing expensive in-app content. It can be argued that adults should be held responsible for their decisions, but the EU believes that children "particularly vulnerable" to such systems.

The European Commission has outlined the four consumer-raised issues that will be discussed in detail at the meeting:

• Games advertised as "free" should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved;
• Games should not contain direct exhortations to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them;
• Consumers should be adequately informed about the payment arrangements and purchases should not be debited through default settings without consumers' explicit consent;
• Traders should provide an email address so that consumers can contact them in case of queries or complaints.

Through the meeting, the European Commission aims to "reach a common understanding with industry," before it takes "any necessary action" to protect European customers.

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