EU Commission and Member States take action to make online games safe for consumers
July 23, 2014Unlike gambling for money and sports betting, free to play games have not been subject to any specific regulation by EU Member States so far, but the joint action now taken by the European Commission and Member States shows that game developers and publishers must still comply with national unfair competition laws and the minimum standards for transparency in free to play games agreed by national authorities in the consumer protection cooperation (“CPC”) network. Member States and the EU Commission are now enforcing these standards agreed upon in December 2013.
Google already agreed to take action and other industry players will follow suit to ensure that
- Games advertised as "free" are not misleading consumers about the true costs involved;
- Games do not contain direct exhortation to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them;
- Consumers are adequately informed about the payment arrangements for purchases and are not be debited through default settings without consumers’ explicit consent;
- Consumers are provided with an email address so that they can contact the distributor of a game in case of queries or complaints.