For all Britain’s complaining about European bureaucracy, Brussels are taking steps to redefine the free-to-play genre, meaning that the term ‘free’ may be unavailable to developers who intend to entice in-app purchases.
In an article over at CVG, EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding said “misleading consumers is clearly the wrong business model and also goes against the spirit of EU rules on consumer protection.”
She moved on to say that “The European Commission will expect very concrete answers from the app industry to the concerns raised by citizens and national consumer organisations.”
The issue is apparently about trust, with Brussels stating that “For the app economy to develop its full potential and continue innovating, consumers need to trust the products. At present over 50 per cent of the EU online games’ market consists of games advertised as ‘free’, although they often entail, sometimes costly, in-app purchases.”
Clearly, the EU is not against free-to-play, so much as that the idea of ‘free’ being in the title of such products is inherently misleading, since marketing the in-app purchases of F2P games is becoming more and more aggressive.