EU Investiagtes Free-to-Play Game Concerns

Major technology companies to meet European Commission on free-to-play marketing.

The European Union's executive branch, the European Commission, is meeting with technology companies to discuss the marketing and impact of free-to-play games.

The Commission is concerned with the way that free-to-play games are communicated, particularly with children. According to a press release from the EU, the talks will focus on: 

  • 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.

The talks are intended to "reach a common understanding with industry," and Europe will follow up the concerns raised with "any necessary action."

This meeting follows a mandate issued last month by the UK's Office of Fair Trading, which has given game developers until April 1st to comply with its guidelines for free-to-play games including being upfront about their pricing and in-game purchases.