TIGA, the trade association representing game developers and digital publishers, has said the EU’s investigation of the use of in-app purchases (IAPs) in games marked as free-to-play (F2P) is a positive development.
TIGA has consistently argued there needs to be a common global regulatory approach towards IAP in order to protect both UK consumers and export-focused UK games businesses from unscrupulous practices by competitors from abroad.
Since 2013, TIGA has been working closely with the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on this issue. TIGA has helped to inform the OFT’s ‘Principles for Online and App-based Games” with which all games businesses selling games to UK consumers will have to comply by April 1st 2014. TIGA hopes that these principles will inform the administration of IAP throughout the EU and beyond.
Dr. Richard Wilson, CEO, TIGA commented:
“TIGA welcomed the OFT’s Principles for Online and App-based Games because they should help to protect consumers and clarify the responsibilities of games businesses. TIGA hopes that the EU Commission’s investigation into F2P games will result in the adoption of the OFT’s Principles by consumer regulators throughout the EU.
“It is important and commendable that the OFT is working with international partners to implement a consistent regulatory approach towards IAP. If this did not happen then UK consumers and export-focused UK games businesses could be hurt by unscrupulous practices from overseas competitors.
“F2P can be of great value to consumers and developers alike. This is because the F2P business model allows consumers to play extremely high quality games entirely free before actually spending any money. A report published by TIGA in 2013 showed that typically 95% of consumers playing a F2P game don’t spend any money at all.
“However, it is important that the games industry adheres to high standards. The UK games industry, working with the OFT, is at the forefront of establishing and following best practice principles in respect of F2P games and IAP. We look forward to the OFT’s Principles being adopted throughout the EU.”