Tobold's Blog
Thursday, January 30, 2014
What is fair Free2Play?

For anybody worried about unfair practices in Free2Play games, this report from the UK Office of Fair Trading is a must-read. It lists very clearly the principles of what is fair in Free2Play games (especially with regards to them being played by children), and what are deceptive practices. It even has long lists of hypothetical examples!

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Thanks for the link, Tobold. I've bookmarked it for future reference. Could come in handy when talking to Customer Service.
Mostly seems fair but the bit about the green hat and not telling the player they could be unpopular if they don't buy a green hat really makes me face-palm.

Kids in the UK these days really are pathetic.

I love my little nephew (8 years old) but he and his mates really are the wimpiest and over sheltered/protected kids I have ever known.

They wouldn't have lasted 5 minutes in my class 30 years ago.
I am hugely impressed that a government agency somewhere has taken the trouble to look into this.

Sadly I can't think of a single free to play game that passes the very first test: "Information about the costs associated with a game should be provided clearly, accurately and prominently up-front, before
the consumer begins to play, download or sign up to it or agrees to make a purchase." It seems to be standard practise that you cannot even browse the item shop until you have already started to play the game.
It seems to be standard practise that you cannot even browse the item shop until you have already started to play the game.

As far as I can see the rule doesn't require every single item from the item shop to be visible before you download the game. They are just asking for what is a standard feature in the app store: Saying that the game does have in-game purchases, and listing the top 10 of them.
Planetside 2's Depot has some items shown via the website without registration, but it's nowhere near comprehensive.

I am a bit confused about the "Material Changes" part. Posting patch notes is all well and good, but the only means of rejecting an update is usually stopping to play the game.

Also I'm pretty sure that iTunes/App Store violates principle 8. While I may like single-click purchases with cached credentials myself, I don't see any option to require authentication for every purchase. They do offer an option to set up a monthly grant, though.

This is exactly why Apple are having to pay out record damages right now.

I expect the process Apple uses is going to change soon.
Cached credentials, in app purchases, and children are not good combinations.
The use of material changes is something that fundamentally changes the type of game and impacts on previously purchased items. Patches make changes but very rarely do they impact on game materiality.

Single click purchases in stores do not violate principle 8 because this document applies to online and app based games, not shops or service providers.
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