The EU Wants To Bring The Hammer Down On Free-To-Play Games

If there’s a fad right now that most gamers loathe, it’s the ‘free-to-play’ one. Free-to-play games can be fun, provided they’re properly balanced, but more often than not they’re little more than constant attempts to get you to buy “in-game currency” or worse, games that make you pay to win. And the European Union has apparently had enough of them.

The EU is not just nuking them all outright, according to Ars Technica. But they are trying to deal with annoying free-to-play games:

“Consumers and in particular children need better protection against unexpected costs from in-app purchases,” said Commissioner Neven Mimica, responsible for consumer policy, in a statement.

The main concerns being tackled during the meeting are:

  • That games should not mislead consumers as to their true cost
  • That games should not contain direct exhortations to children to make purchases or get adults to do so for them
  • That purchases should not be debited through default settings without explicit consent from the consumer
  • That traders need to be contactable by email in order to resolve queries and complaints

Granted, every time a politician says they’re doing something involving video games “for the children”, gamers should roll their eyes even harder, but it’s not hard to find evidence of unethical free-to-play games and sloppy consumer protection. Apple recently had to fork over $32 million in a class-action lawsuit over this exact problem, and reports of kids racking up enormous bills are fairly common.

Of course, this could be solved by, oh, not giving children iPads and iPhones, but until Apple starts carding, we’ll have to settle for closer scrutiny from the EU. Hey, if nothing else, it might finally mean Tapped Out will stop trying to get me to give money to Gil Gunderson for “premium bundles.”

Via Ars Technica