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European Union: Stop calling games "free to play" which are not!

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  • CrazKanukCrazKanuk Member EpicPosts: 6,130
    Originally posted by Cellarkid88
    Originally posted by CrazKanuk
    Originally posted by Cellarkid88
    Originally posted by cowhead
    Originally posted by Cellarkid88

     

    The EU wants to protect me against cashgrab-apps by making their declaration with the product more distinct and people complain about that?

     

    You guys are the reason my generation wants to die young, seriously.

     

     

     

     

    You already have that protection. It's called You. You choose what to play. You choose what to spend money on. You take responsibility for your choices. You are the first, last and only protection you need. If you cannot/will not protect yourself from something as unimportant as video games; heaven help you. You're not long for this world.

     

    I partly agree and disagree. It seems to be a misconception that this is about adults only - for example a 21 year-old man having a job and income that only he is responsible for. In this case I wholeheartly agree with you.

     

    I encourage the EU to do this nonetheless because: look on the streets. I see children in kindergarten who already have the newest iPhone or at least a Smartphone of any kind. Those children are still learning what money is and what it means (this doesn't magically come overnight or is due to bad parenting - it takes time). They can be easily tricked by these F2P-advertisements.

     

    Parents are liable for their children. Therefore if you are a family-mother or -father this will affect you. Having the EU setting a distinct and more transparent declaration for F2P is to protect all of them - which is undoubtly in need.

    I couldn't disagree with this more. Do you even realize what you're saying? You're saying that, basically, because parents don't know how to be parents, the govenment, or some third party agency, should step in and take care of their kids. Do you know how ridiculous this sounds? 

     

    Here's the problem with this all. We do this ALL THE TIME! Unfortunately this doesn't prepare anyone for real life. Anything that's "Free" always comes with a catch. I entered a draw for a "Free" car around the holidays (because I'm an idiot) and I won a free dinner!!! Oh, and there's a short presentation from this meat company. Oh, and just by going I get like a $600 Home Depot gift card! Guess what, I didn't go. Why? Because I know that "Free" dinner is going to end up costing me more than $600. In fact, I'll probably end up walking out of there with a stretched ass and $2000 less in my bank account because if I don't buy something they're not letting me walk out. Same thing goes for these "Free Weekend Getaway" deals or "Free Vacation" deals. Sure, there is the odd person that gets caught up in it but, for the most part, people should know what they're getting into. Oh, or just get rid of all of these "Free" things also. Oh, and what about gmail? Technically it's free, but Google has record of every single thing you've ever talked about in every conversation that you've ever had with someone over email. Oh, and don't think that information is kept locked away somewhere. It's used regularly. Just watch the Google Ads that pop up for you. 

     

    It's like the whole peanut butter debate. I'm really sorry, but if your child has an allergy to peanut butter what do you think is the best solution for them? Banning peanut butter from schools altogether or making them understand that they can't eat anything that anyone else gives them because if it has something in it that they're allergic to, they might DIE!? What do you think is the better life lesson? Instead, we ban peanut butter from schools, essentially creating a society of less informed grown-ups. Grown-ups who assume that everyone has taken precautions to protect them. 

     

    Same goes for this. I think that you'd be extremely hard-pressed to find a game which is free to play which actually requires you to pay something to progress. Primarily these games offer paid conveniences. Thing is, the majority of F2P MMORPGs don't squeeze their players for cash. Look at any mobile game with these timed "Energy" gates. Damn! I mean Candy Crush Saga makes about a million dollars a DAY! That is literally more than some countries' GDP. So I get that this is a problem, but I don't think that it's a problem with how we name things. If you called it Free to Download is it any different? No, it's how you get squeezed for money that's different. I think that they should leave it alone. Honestly, if people don't have the self-control to not sink hundreds or thousands of dollars into a game, they need more help than renaming what an industry calls it.

     

    Ok so I hint at "children need time to learn what money means and this is not due to bad parenting but a learning process" => you come up with "that is bad parenting and children should know instantly about money because of blackmagic".

     

    I say "this is not limited to adults" => you counter with an example featuring an adult with experience in these money-matters.

     

    We have stated already that this is not limited to MMOs or games but apps in general => you fixate your argument to games.

     

    I leave this here as it is.

     

     

    PS.: this is not about peanut butter.

     

    Oh, sorry, I thought you were saying it was a good thing. I agree, it's definitely not a good thing. Unfortunately we've gotten really good at protecting people these days, to the point where Darwinism doesn't even play in anymore, minus the people who actually go out of their way to be dumb. 

     

    If you're an adult and you don't see the two or three gates telling you to pay, that's your problem. If parents don't explain to their kids that they are not allowed to make in-app purchases, then they're extremely disconnected and will be quickly re-connected if they leave their app account wide open and their kids abuse it. Apple already refunds these anyway. 

     

    I've got 4 kids and have never had an issue with an in-app purchase in over 3 years! In fact, I get bugged by them on a fairly regular basis to make in-app purchases from these apps. Oh, and they also have their own money in the account, but they still ask if they can buy it. As long as we don't shelter kids from reality I don't think this is an issue. In fact, it's probably a valuable learning experience that "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

    Crazkanuk

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  • BacchiraBacchira Member Posts: 50
    EU should ban all F2P games!
  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Member Posts: 1,832
    Originally posted by FinalFikus


    truth in advertising is a good thing.

     

     

     

    This.  No one is saying they can't use this payment model. They are saying they can't use deceptive terms to describe it, especialy if they are marketing to underage kids.

    I'm not in favor of Government intervention but companies do need to avoid borderline fraud in thier marketing campaigns.

     

     

  • GeezerGamerGeezerGamer Member EpicPosts: 8,848

    Who plays these games without knowing what they are about? How many people really believe, when they play a "F2P" game that there aren't paywalls or some kind of funneling? I get that the publishers have gone a little overboard on the "free" part of the label, but it is true that you can play the games without paying. Can you play well? I suppose that all depends. but in anyevent, unless this is some massive fraud or scam (it's not) I would not want the government to get it's hands into the pot.

    What's worse than people who misrepresent themselves to make money?  People who misrepresent themselves because they know better than you what's good for you.

  • Mr.KujoMr.Kujo Member Posts: 383
    Originally posted by Elikal

    Which I fully support! I am glad to see how the EU often sides with the customers. *waves EU flag* :)

     

    If you support it, explain me this. I played SWTOR for a month until I played enough for my satisfaction and moved on to another game. I haven't paid one dime for that experience. Explain to me how am I wrong saying it was free to play for me? Maybe I sold my soul to satan or something, and just don't realize it yet, enlighten me.

     

    Well, it is EU after all. Every mobile company straight out lies about their services in commercials, putting asterisks in every possible place, but this is fine. Saying game is free when it is free appears to be wrong. And carrot is a fruit, welcome to EU.

  • thinktank001thinktank001 Member UncommonPosts: 2,144
      Developers have had this coming a long time.  In fact, the EU commission has been working on this for 3 years to come up with guidelines to protect consumers.  April will bring transparency to the microtransaction model for all developers.  
  • CazNeergCazNeerg Member Posts: 2,198

     

    Originally posted by Zadawn

    Stepping into that new zone is part of playing and i can't do that unless i pay. Riding the sparkly pony is part of playing, unless i pay i will not have access to it. So on and so forth.

    They aren't marketed as "Free to Play Everything," only as "Free to Play."  If a restaurant had marketing that said "Free to Eat" that would simply mean that if you showed up wanting free food, they would have to give you something.  It doesn't mean they have to give you anything on the menu, because as long as they give you something that is technically food they have fulfilled the letter of their promise.

    Originally posted by FinalFikus

    So then you agree that play should be defined?

    I would argue that play is already defined.  It means you are able to engage in activities in a game.  If there are activities that can be experienced without paying anything, then the game is Free to Play.

    Originally posted by tyfon

    This is just a way for the customer to have all information regarding the purchase ahead of time.

    Just like a bank is required to inform about effective rate including all fees and not just the regular interest rate for loans. 

    If the companies business plans can see the light of day then this is no problem for them. If it can't.. well that is what this proposed law is all about :)

    You can't make proper decisions without all the information. 

    Customers do have access to the relevant information.  Anybody who has two brain cells to rub together already understands that Free to Play doesn't mean that everything about the product is completely free, there is no need for any labeling changes.

    Originally posted by John_Grimm

    I read all the comments and have to totally agree with the EU Commission investigating the predatory practices of some F2P gaming establishments.

    And for people saying you have to be a retard to not get that F2P means that you have to pay at some point for “content/items/bling”. Don’t you drooling idiots get it that a lot of parents/grandparents are NOT IT savvy, I have relatives who have issues logging into a computer!

    This is the majority of people, not the minority, people who vote, that is why this is being looked into, because it is predatory and f****** dishonest!

    I don’t have problem with F2P as is, but I can tell when a game is a cash grabbing bog and make some distinction between it and a good F2P game, most people cannot do this as they do not know better.

    So, do a lot of your relatives who have trouble logging into computers play F2P games and "accidentally" spend money in them?  They accidentally enter their credit card information?  They accidentally click "buy" or "purchase" buttons?  

    The only people who can't figure out that F2P doesn't mean the same thing as Free are people who are too stupid to protect, no matter how much you try they will find a way to waste their money, so all attempting to protect them from the consequences of their mental deficiency accomplishes is a lot of wasted time, effort, and resources.

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  • iridescenceiridescence Member UncommonPosts: 1,552
    Originally posted by GeezerGamer

    Who plays these games without knowing what they are about? How many people really believe, when they play a "F2P" game that there aren't paywalls or some kind of funneling? I get that the publishers have gone a little overboard on the "free" part of the label, but it is true that you can play the games without paying. Can you play well? I suppose that all depends. but in anyevent, unless this is some massive fraud or scam (it's not) I would not want the government to get it's hands into the pot.

    Just because you and I know that if you really want to enjoy  most "free to play" games you're going to have to pay a significant amount of money doesn't make deceptive marketing OK. Companies are using the word "free" deliberately knowing that it will attract a lot of people who will then get invested in the game and be willing to pay.They're basically lying to people to get them to try their product in some of these cases.

     

    Would it be so bad for them to call these games "microtransaction funded" or something similar and more accurate rather than "free to play"? I'm glad this whole shady business is getting government scrutiny. I hope authorities over here follow suit.

     

     

  • GeezerGamerGeezerGamer Member EpicPosts: 8,848
    Originally posted by iridescence
    Originally posted by GeezerGamer

    Who plays these games without knowing what they are about? How many people really believe, when they play a "F2P" game that there aren't paywalls or some kind of funneling? I get that the publishers have gone a little overboard on the "free" part of the label, but it is true that you can play the games without paying. Can you play well? I suppose that all depends. but in anyevent, unless this is some massive fraud or scam (it's not) I would not want the government to get it's hands into the pot.

    Just because you and I know that if you really want to enjoy  most "free to play" games you're going to have to pay a significant amount of money doesn't make deceptive marketing OK. Companies are using the word "free" deliberately knowing that it will attract a lot of people who will then get invested in the game and be willing to pay.They're basically lying to people to get them to try their product in some of these cases.

     

    Would it be so bad for them to call these games "microtransaction funded" or something similar and more accurate rather than "free to play"? I'm glad this whole shady business is getting government scrutiny. I hope authorities over here follow suit.

     

     

    What I am saying is that Govt. involvement will break more than it fixes.

  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Member Posts: 1,832

    @Cazneerg,

    Alot of this is actualy targeted at the mobile/tablet market and games that are heavly targeted toward children. The thing is alot of these Apps get away with bypassing the standard parental controls for paid applications because they label themselves as free and they find ways to allow kids to incurr charges without requiring password approval for those charges. So the parent ends up owing money even though the parent implimented the standard parental controls that should prevent the child from downloading any App that has a fee or doing anything in an App that should require a fee.

    The parent expects the kid can't download any App that can incurr a fee because doing so requires the parents password....but the App bypasses that...... The parent expects that the App can't allow a purchase without inputting the parents password....the App bypasses that because instead of direct cash it charges "Smiley Face Points" which then get converted to cash later.

    The 8 year old playing the game see's "Free" and thinks it actualy is Free...this gets confirmed when he's allowed to download the App without Dad's password. He then see's 4 "Smiley Face Points" for that snazy new sword...he doesn't realize that actualy means cash....and that gets confirmed when he doesn't get prompted for Dad's password when he makes the purchase, like he would with any other purchase that would be cash.

     

     

     

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441

    To me it sounds reasonable. The industry needs to replace the term "free" because too many con companies have made crap like "Smurf village"that parents think is free until they get the bills.

    And there are some MMOs that seems to be free in the beginning but it more or less unplayable after a while if you don't buy plenty of stuff.

    Sure, games that actually have a fair model gets to suffer as well but I don't think a renaming will hurt them.

    And no this is not like getting a free car but have pay for the gas, in many cases it is more like "wheels not included and only our expensive fits".

  • AeonbladesAeonblades Member Posts: 2,083
    Originally posted by Elikal

    In a staggering move, the European Commission currently debates to disallow companies calling games "free" which apparently are not, since they have paywall of certain kind, and only games are allowed to call themselves "free to play" which are free in it's entirety.

    Source: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-02-27-free-to-play-misleading-advertising-in-europe

    Quote:

    "The Consumer Protection Cooperation and EC member states have released a list of common positions on the subject, with misleading advertising at the top.

    "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," the group said."

     

    Which I fully support! I am glad to see how the EU often sides with the customers. *waves EU flag* :)

    God I hope they do this in the US too. No more F2P games that are really Cash 2 Actually Play the Game.

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  • AkulasAkulas Member RarePosts: 2,705
    Free to grind and get a 1 in 1000 chance of a drop to upgrade your stuff that $8 in the cash shop can get you.

    This isn't a signature, you just think it is.

  • asmkm22asmkm22 Member Posts: 1,788
    Originally posted by CazNeerg

    It's amazingly sad that the grasp of the English language in the EU is that poor.  I can't think of one F2P game that can't be played for free.

    EDIT: If they can't see that "to play" is an appropriate qualification, they are the ones lacking in appropriate qualifications.

    I don't think this is about semantics.  It's more about misleading marketing practices.  There are a number of "F2P" games (especially in the mobile industry) that offer such a poor experience when playing for free, that it's misleading to suggest they are such.  The recent Dungeon Keeper game is a good example, where you have to buy gems for a remotely playable experience.

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  • AmanaAmana Moderator UncommonPosts: 3,912
    Guys, keep this to gaming and not politics/ethical issues or a 'who's better' contest. It's getting away from the topic at hand.

    To give feedback on moderation, contact [email protected]

  • ReklawReklaw Member UncommonPosts: 6,495
    Originally posted by RealmLordsKen

    This will be interesting to watch.  Good post, thanks.

     

    May I ask what's good about the OP's post?

    It seems to be posted in a MMO dedicated section. Yet the article was about App(s)

    Or did I misread the article?

  • StizzledStizzled Member RarePosts: 2,014
    Originally posted by iridescence

    Would it be so bad for them to call these games "microtransaction funded" or something similar and more accurate rather than "free to play"? I'm glad this whole shady business is getting government scrutiny. I hope authorities over here follow suit.

     

     

    Of course it wouldn't be bad, though it doesn't quite roll off the tongue like F2P does. But, just to be fair, other games should have to do the same thing.

     

    Buy to Play doesn't really tell the whole truth, almost every B2P game has microtransactions, I guess we can start calling those "box fee with optional microtransaction funded".

     

    Again, same thing for Pay to Play, it doesn't really tell you what it's charging for, pay could simply mean the initial box fee. We'll start calling P2P games "box fee plus required monthly subscription along with optional microstransactions funded".

     

    Or, and I know this is crazy, we could just continue to call them exactly what they are, F2P, B2P and P2P.

  • MurlockDanceMurlockDance Member Posts: 1,223
    Originally posted by CazNeerg
    They aren't marketed as "Free to Play Everything," only as "Free to Play."  If a restaurant had marketing that said "Free to Eat" that would simply mean that if you showed up wanting free food, they would have to give you something.  It doesn't mean they have to give you anything on the menu, because as long as they give you something that is technically food they have fulfilled the letter of their promise.

    I would argue that play is already defined.  It means you are able to engage in activities in a game.  If there are activities that can be experienced without paying anything, then the game is Free to Play.

    This is great if you are an adult who has world experience, knows the value of money, the sorts of wording in advertizements used and what they are really saying, etc. However, this discussion is actually not about adults as much as it is about kids. Yes, parents should discuss this with their kids if they reach a certain maturity level, but still money is not usually really fully understood until the kid hits teenage years. The problem is that phone and tablet apps that are the main target of this discussion are marketed for young children who do not have all of these self-defense mechanisms.

    Customers do have access to the relevant information.  Anybody who has two brain cells to rub together already understands that Free to Play doesn't mean that everything about the product is completely free, there is no need for any labeling changes.
    I am sure that a lot of time-starved parents don't really have the time to look up every single new phone app game that comes out to make sure they are free, especially if both parents work and there are so many games on offer now. I do not think that requiring game companies to be upfront about costs is a bad thing. It will help parents police what their kids are doing more easily. The game companies should have auto-regulated, but they didn't and because of quite a few nasty cases, and a class-action lawsuit brought against Apple and Google, the EU is deciding to step in to make sure that things are properly advertized. This is not a bad thing! It would be great, I am sure, for us to live in a world where parents have unlimited time to check everything out and make sure that their kids can't use their credit cards, but we don't live in such a world unfortunately.

    So, do a lot of your relatives who have trouble logging into computers play F2P games and "accidentally" spend money in them?  They accidentally enter their credit card information?  They accidentally click "buy" or "purchase" buttons?  

    The only people who can't figure out that F2P doesn't mean the same thing as Free are people who are too stupid to protect, no matter how much you try they will find a way to waste their money, so all attempting to protect them from the consequences of their mental deficiency accomplishes is a lot of wasted time, effort, and resources.

    I guess children are too stupid to protect...

    Some of it is indeed lack of common sense. I do not think parents should go out and get smartphones or tablets for their kids under a certain age, period. A normal mobile phone is plenty enough for a wee one until they hit an age where they understand about budgeting money and not throwing lots of it on stupid games.

    However I can also see that smartphones are pretty new and are in full evolution especially with the game apps that are available, so I think it is easy for parents to get caught off-guard, especially if they are not fully tech-savvy or do not keep up with all of the novelties in the appstores. One of the common complaints that I have read and heard is that parents had no idea that there were hidden costs or that their kids could bypass the normal safety measures to keep them from being able to make purchases on their parents' credit cards.

    I do not think that MMORPGs are really that interesting to the EU Commission in this light because the mainstay of this genre is fully old enough to understand the meaning of F2A/B2P/P2P. It might still get rounded up in the safety net being thrown out though because it is still a genre that has microtransactions in it, but itis definitely not the main focus.

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  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Member CommonPosts: 10,910
    Originally posted by Stizzled
    Originally posted by iridescence

    Would it be so bad for them to call these games "microtransaction funded" or something similar and more accurate rather than "free to play"? I'm glad this whole shady business is getting government scrutiny. I hope authorities over here follow suit.

     

     

    Of course it wouldn't be bad, though it doesn't quite roll off the tongue like F2P does. But, just to be fair, other games should have to do the same thing.

     

    Buy to Play doesn't really tell the whole truth, almost every B2P game has microtransactions, I guess we can start calling those "box fee with optional microtransaction funded".

     

    Again, same thing for Pay to Play, it doesn't really tell you what it's charging for, pay could simply mean the initial box fee. We'll start calling P2P games "box fee plus required monthly subscription along with optional microstransactions funded".

     

    Or, and I know this is crazy, we could just continue to call them exactly what they are, F2P, B2P and P2P.

     

    With some checks in place for the specific areas that need addressing.  For instance, mobile games bypassing password requirements for purchases.  Games marketed to children may need even more stringent checks in place to prevent running bills up.

     

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  • MurlockDanceMurlockDance Member Posts: 1,223
    Originally posted by Elikal

    In a staggering move, the European Commission currently debates to disallow companies calling games "free" which apparently are not, since they have paywall of certain kind, and only games are allowed to call themselves "free to play" which are free in it's entirety.

    Source: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-02-27-free-to-play-misleading-advertising-in-europe

    Quote:

    "The Consumer Protection Cooperation and EC member states have released a list of common positions on the subject, with misleading advertising at the top.

    "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," the group said."

     

    Which I fully support! I am glad to see how the EU often sides with the customers. *waves EU flag* :)

    I think the most important part of that article is actually this: '"Consumers and in particular children need better protection against unexpected costs from in-app purchases," consumer policy commissioner Neven Mimica said in a statement. "National enforcement authorities and the European Commission are discussing with industry how to address this issue which not only causes financial harm to consumers but can also put at stake the credibility of this very promising market. Coming up with concrete solutions as soon as possible will be a win-win for all."' (my underlines).

    First, it is in discussion... it is not a bit of legislation or anything of the sort. It is more like they are trying to draw up a list of best practices. Who knows how legally binding it is?

    Second, it is about phone/tablet apps and is really geared for children (and therefore parents who are the actual consumers since it is their money that is getting spent).

    Playing MUDs and MMOs since 1994.

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  • StizzledStizzled Member RarePosts: 2,014
    Originally posted by MurlockDance

    Some of it is indeed lack of common sense. I do not think parents should go out and get smartphones or tablets for their kids under a certain age, period. A normal mobile phone is plenty enough for a wee one until they hit an age where they understand about budgeting money and not throwing lots of it on stupid games.

    However I can also see that smartphones are pretty new and are in full evolution especially with the game apps that are available, so I think it is easy for parents to get caught off-guard, especially if they are not fully tech-savvy or do not keep up with all of the novelties in the appstores. One of the common complaints that I have read and heard is that parents had no idea that there were hidden costs or that their kids could bypass the normal safety measures to keep them from being able to make purchases on their parents' credit cards.

    I do not think that MMORPGs are really that interesting to the EU Commission in this light because the mainstay of this genre is fully old enough to understand the meaning of F2A/B2P/P2P. It might still get rounded up in the safety net being thrown out though because it is still a genre that has microtransactions in it, but itis definitely not the main focus.

    My problem with all of this is why do these children have access to the credit card, or account with the credit card info stored, in the first place? I mean, who's really at fault, the company that tries to make purchases as easy as possible, or the parent that gave the child with no concept of money access to their credit card? It's a band-aid on a problem that game companies have no control over, only the parents of the child do.

     

    I'm all for changes to the in-app purchases, requiring passwords, retinal scans, fingerprint scans or whatever else is fine by me. But, changing the marketing terms isn't going to have the desired effect. If a child doesn't understand that "Free" doesn't mean completely free then they aren't going to understand "Free*" or "Microstransactions", and they aren't going to understand any pop ups telling them about microtransactions, it's most likely a wasted effort.

     

    Requiring extra verification when making purchases will most likely help, though it isn't going to solve the problem. But, restricting basically free games with optional purchases from using the word "Free" isn't going to help one bit.

  • MurlockDanceMurlockDance Member Posts: 1,223
    Originally posted by Stizzled

    My problem with all of this is why do these children have access to the credit card, or account with the credit card info stored, in the first place? I mean, who's really at fault, the company that tries to make purchases as easy as possible, or the parent that gave the child with no concept of money access to their credit card? It's a band-aid on a problem that game companies have no control over, only the parents of the child do.

     

    I'm all for changes to the in-app purchases, requiring passwords, retinal scans, fingerprint scans or whatever else is fine by me. But, changing the marketing terms isn't going to have the desired effect. If a child doesn't understand that "Free" doesn't mean completely free then they aren't going to understand "Free*" or "Microstransactions", and they aren't going to understand any pop ups telling them about microtransactions, it's most likely a wasted effort.

     

    Requiring extra verification when making purchases will most likely help, though it isn't going to solve the problem. But, restricting basically free games with optional purchases from using the word "Free" isn't going to help one bit.

    I agree with you overall about using the word "Free" in the case of a game that has optional costs à la Path of Exile. Perhaps it is just to facilitate things for parents determining what their kids get to play. They might think that a game with "free" in the title means just that and did not catch on to its difference with "free-to-play" meaning there will be costs somewhere. This is more important for the bazillions of phone-app games than for the MMORPG scene. I think that a list of 'do's' and 'don'ts' can only help.

    A child can get access to his parents' credit cards a variety of ways I am sure, but it seems to me from reading about these child-oriented apps that they bypass controls that the parents put on the child's tablet/smartphone. That is indeed a big problem because regardless of who did it, it seems to be trying to trick someone, somewhere, into accidently paying for something they did not expect to.

    I think that children would understand that something costs money and is therefore not free unless we are talking about really little kids who don't even know what money is. And yes, I think an additional pop up at the moment of purchase might help make a kid realize he is about to spend real money.

    My main issue though is not the list that the EU or anyone else might draw up but rather the fact that little kids are getting ahold of tablets and smartphones whether their own or their parents. That to me just can't be good and that is nothing that the EU or any government can really do anything about.

    Playing MUDs and MMOs since 1994.

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  • BurntvetBurntvet Member RarePosts: 3,465

    Nice.

    The proponents of this crooked marketing approach (and that is what it is) can go suck it.

  • MalevilMalevil Member Posts: 468
    This is potentional regulation is not targeted at MMOs, but for mobile games and in my opinion, as parent of 2 kids, it's badly needed. As an adult I'm aware and (mostly :) ) I'm reistant to various forms of aparent social engineering whose only aim is to get money from me, but it's much much harder, if not impossible, for kids . Arguments about free market are imo bulshit, if we would let corporations do what they want without any regulations, we would still have slavery .
  • JacxolopeJacxolope Member UncommonPosts: 1,140
    Originally posted by Stizzled
    Originally posted by MurlockDance

    Some of it is indeed lack of common sense. I do not think parents should go out and get smartphones or tablets for their kids under a certain age, period. A normal mobile phone is plenty enough for a wee one until they hit an age where they understand about budgeting money and not throwing lots of it on stupid games.

    However I can also see that smartphones are pretty new and are in full evolution especially with the game apps that are available, so I think it is easy for parents to get caught off-guard, especially if they are not fully tech-savvy or do not keep up with all of the novelties in the appstores. One of the common complaints that I have read and heard is that parents had no idea that there were hidden costs or that their kids could bypass the normal safety measures to keep them from being able to make purchases on their parents' credit cards.

    I do not think that MMORPGs are really that interesting to the EU Commission in this light because the mainstay of this genre is fully old enough to understand the meaning of F2A/B2P/P2P. It might still get rounded up in the safety net being thrown out though because it is still a genre that has microtransactions in it, but itis definitely not the main focus.

    My problem with all of this is why do these children have access to the credit card, or account with the credit card info stored, in the first place? I mean, who's really at fault, the company that tries to make purchases as easy as possible, or the parent that gave the child with no concept of money access to their credit card? It's a band-aid on a problem that game companies have no control over, only the parents of the child do.

     

    I'm all for changes to the in-app purchases, requiring passwords, retinal scans, fingerprint scans or whatever else is fine by me. But, changing the marketing terms isn't going to have the desired effect. If a child doesn't understand that "Free" doesn't mean completely free then they aren't going to understand "Free*" or "Microstransactions", and they aren't going to understand any pop ups telling them about microtransactions, it's most likely a wasted effort.

     

    Requiring extra verification when making purchases will most likely help, though it isn't going to solve the problem. But, restricting basically free games with optional purchases from using the word "Free" isn't going to help one bit.

    -One issue I have is when your Credit/Debit card is memorized and purchases are made at the touch of a button.

    I am playing Hearthstone atm (its going to be an Iphone game as well) and was appalled to see it saves my credit card number and has several 'buttons' to make auto purchases including "enter the arena for $1.99"- The place where you purchase things with 'gold' (in game currency) is directly next the place where things are purchased for cash... This is designed for impulse spending and very likely targeting the youth.

    On the flip side- When I played GW's (and had an account for my kids as well) it also kept my credit card information but allowed me to set a limit. This was a very, very good system imho-  My kids had the ability to make purchases but were limited by the amount of money they would make via allowance (monthly) and if they wanted to use the cash shop they had limits I could set- I would never let my kids play HS due to the impulse of having "enter the arena at $1.99" screaming out to them- EARN PRIZES, win BIG!!!!! Only $1.99. BUY NOW- 

    Since Open Beta there have been several posts on the Official forum stating something to the effect of "I used my moms credit card one night to enter the arena and after 6 hours and tons of arena trips I realized I spent over $50.00- When will the bill come?"- These posts are quietly brushed under the rug and disappear.

    This is gambling- Whats worse- This is gambling with no chance to win anything of value- This is gambling for virtual goods you Do Not Own!!!! For $1.99 a pull on the slot machine.

    I am all for Gambling (and I AM a gambler- Both offline and on) but not for using real cash for items which hold no value and can be changed and taken from you at will- Not when the "odds" of winning are not even listed- For example they "say" there is a 1/20 chance to win a legendary for each pack you buy- BUT the eula states everything is subject to change without notice (i.e. here is no oversight, the odds can be changed and you have NO RIGHT to know....)

    -Again, we need to establish laws regarding virtual ownership.

    I understand that overregulation can kill an industry- But no regulation (what we have now) is making the gaming industry the most predatory thing I have ever seen, coupled with huge money in marketing aimed at kids.

    -I also know (and agree) that renaming F2P is merely semantics and does nothing in the short term- I am looking at this 'long term' and its a start. Time to regulate an industry that refuses to regulate itself .

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