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Gaming Thread, European Commission looking into "Free-to-Play" games, suspects false advertising in Fun Stuff; It's about time something was done! Sources : Android Police / GameIndustry.biz Google (and Apple) representatives are having a sit-down ...
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    European Commission looking into "Free-to-Play" games, suspects false advertising

    It's about time something was done!

    Sources: Android Police / GameIndustry.biz

    Google (and Apple) representatives are having a sit-down with members of European Commission member states and the Consumer Protection Cooperation today to talk about apps. Specifically, the commission is asking some hard questions about in-app purchases following complaints from consumer protection groups in Denmark, Britain, and several other EU nations.

    The issue revolves around the use of the term 'free' in the descriptions of games that push in-app purchases. The commission fears these listings could be misleading, especially to children. The commission has already issued a list of positions on the issue, which Google and Apple are being asked to respond to. Nothing is binding yet, but the position taken by the European Commission includes the requirement that apps only use the word free if they contain no IAPs, not even completely optional ones.

    Clarifying the usage of the word 'free' is not a crazy idea, but some of the other items on the list may be indicative of a misunderstanding of how apps work. For example, the commission recommends contact info for the developer be available in the listing so consumers can contact them to ask about how IAPs are used in the app. Of course, app listings already have that. They also want to make sure IAPs require explicit user consent, which again, is already how things work.

    Many of the complaints that spurred the investigation came as a result of kids racking up huge IAP bills in games. So the EU is also looking into restrictions on how IAPs can be presented in games designed to appeal to children perhaps they'd be tucked away in a menu instead of pushed in popups constantly. This actually sounds like a fine idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    It's about time something was done!
    It's cool... but ultimately means nothing.

    Free to play games ARE free to play.

    You don't have to pay anything.

    It's [censored] tedious and annoying if you don't, but you're not forced to. [There's a load of psychology behind it that makes you WANT to pay... but that's another thing.]

    Personally, I'd rather they made it so companies couldn't strip out content and lock it behind a pay wall.

    It's gone from things like costumes being unlockable in game, if you put in the time and effort [like all the costumes in MGS], to making them paid content.

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    CAM
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    Free to Play started as a fairly good idea that originated from Asia, but on reaching the west it turned into nothing short of a mass scamware racket. Now free to play is a turn-off for me when it comes to settling on a game and I can think of some games that I wanted to play but just couldn't because of an obnoxious business model. STO is one example being the unofficial successor to City of Heroes but I can't play it long due to a mix of bad dev choices and utterly reprehensible business practices.

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    0.15 percent of mobile gamers account for 50 percent of all in-game revenue VentureBeat

    The group of gamers responsible for half of all in-game revenue in mobile titles is frightening because it is so narrow, according to a survey by Swrve, an established analytics and app marketing firm. About 0.15 percent of mobile gamers contribute 50 percent of all of the in-app purchases generated in free-to-play games.

    This means it may even more important than game companies realized in the past to find and retain the users that fall into the category of big spenders, or “whales.” The vast majority of users never spend any money, despite the clever tactics that game publishers have developed to incentivize people to spend money in their favorite games.
    ^ A small minority of gamers have basically ruined mobile gaming for the majority of us.

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    CAM
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    In other words, the F2P gaming industry has reached the point where they only have to cater for 0.15% of the market, leaving the other 99.85% in the cold without fear of losing them because they aren't profitable. Those are terrifying figures because if almost 100% of the gaming market see the stuff on offer as valueless, are those buying in heavily and forming that tiny percentage of "whales" being exploited due to impulsiveness or addiction?

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    The question from me is whether or not F2P are as profitable as traditional subscription model games?

    Personally, I always end up disappointed with F2P games (well, except for Age of Empires Online which is pretty darn good).

    I much prefer paying for a good game to being prompted to buy something to cut 2 years off the process for moving to the next level in a 'free' game.

    However, that said, I don't mind the hybrid model that EVE Online uses - they have a way of paying real money for in-game money, which can be used to pay your subscription fees.

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