EU Seeks to Prevent Manipulation of Kids, Will Ban Games With Misleading ‘Free-to-Play’ Label

The European Commission has stated that they intend to ban all games sold in the region that are ‘free-to-play.’ In their eyes, the only valid use of the term ‘free games’ will be games that are completely free, including those that use in-game advertising.

You can read the Commission’s statement below:

The use of the word ‘free’ (or similar unequivocal terms) as such, and without any appropriate qualifications, should only be allowed for games which are indeed free in their entirety, or in other words which contain no possibility of making in-app purchases, not even on an optional basis’

This follows a study from the UK Office of Fair Trading regarding the issue, with many consumers complaining of children being coerced and manipulated into making these transactions. With the prices these companies set, charges can run up to substantial amounts.

You can rest assured the rest of the world, including the US, will pay close attention to how this plays out. If the EU can enforce these rules, other countries can do the same, placing strict, I would argue, necessary, controls on the mobile gaming industry as a whole.

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