The UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has launched some new proposed principles that will apply to online and app-based games.
The OFT is concerned that some games include potentially unfair and commercial practices which breach consumer law, in particular, where children are encouraged or incited to make a purchase.
The eight principles have been developed following an earlier OFT investigation into pressure applied to children to purchase additional content in online of app-based games.
Some of the eight principles apply to games aimed at children and other principles apply to consumers in general, for example, requirements that consumers are told up-front about in-games costs and whether their personal data will be shared with third parties. There is also a provision that payments made in a game is not authorised unless positive informed consent is given by the account holder.
More information about the OFT principles can be found here.
The OFT is inviting comments on the principles by 21st November. For details on how to respond and the earlier OFT report click here.
Recently, the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) obtained a default judgement against Gameforge for directly advertising to children various paid-for weaponry and accessories for the Runes of Magic game. The Runes of Magic game is free to download but players can then purchase items and upgrades. The German Federal Supreme Court held that advertising paid-in game items to children for the "Runes of Magic" game was prohibited, as the advertising was a direct exhortation to purchase and, as such, was an unfair commercial practice under German law.