European Commission Plans Crackdown on Free To Play Games
The European Commission has Free To Play games in its sights. In a press release issued today, it says;
“At present over 50% of the EU online games’ market consists of games advertised as “free”, although they often entail, sometimes costly, in-app purchases. Often consumers are not fully aware that they are spending money because their credit cards get charged by default. Children are particularly vulnerable to marketing of “free to download” games which are not “free to play”. Following complaints from all over Europe, the European Commission is meeting today and tomorrow (27 and 28 February) with national enforcement authorities and large tech companies in order to discuss these concerns.”
Although the Commission notes the importance of the industry to jobs and the economy, it is clearly concerned that the F2P industry is potentially harmful or, worse still, deceitful.
This comes as new research released today has found that just 0.15 per cent of players of free-to-play games account for 50 per cent of actual revenue, highlighting the reliance of developers on a tiny group of what the research refers to as “whales.”
The Intelligent Gamer believes there is nothing inherently wrong with F2P or in-app purchases, but greed or poorly implemented IAP are detrimental to growth and enjoyment of games, regardless of how profitable it might be in the short term. As such, we’ll be keeping an eye on what the Commission determines.