The Office of Fair Trading in London has announced that they are investigating free-to-play games to make sure that they are following all corners of the law. More specifically, the London-based regulators are investigating whether or not these types of games are unfairly pressuring gamers into making in-app purchases.
Many game developers and publishers are turning towards the freemium model with their apps and games, allowing users to download the initial app or game for free, but charge them if they want to unlock further features. The latest app/game using this model is EA’s Real Racing 3, which has stirred up a lot of controversy over its new free-to-play model.
The Office of Fair Trading says they have reached out to publishers of various free games that offer in-app purchases to make sure that the publishers’ in-game marketing schemes toward younger gamers are fair and legal. The OFT also says they have asked parents about any “potentially misleading or commercially aggressive practices they are aware of.”
However, The OFT is seeking to ban these types of games. They’re merely wanting them to follow regulations and guidelines so that children, and even older gamers, aren’t mislead into buying in-app purchases that they ultimately didn’t want to participate in. The OFT plans to take their next actions in October of this year.